A Trio of Music Scholarship

A Trio of Music Scholarship

Three new books by faculty from the Musicology & Ethnomusicology Division at the University of Maryland School of Music (SOM) take readers across musical landscapes and into the cultural traditions of Bolivia, New York City and France.

SOM Director Gregory Miller is thrilled that the faculty’s scholarship will be shared with the public. “I am very proud of the fact that our esteemed faculty continue to inspire and lead with scholarly research that sparks new curiosity and discussion in the pursuit of understanding and uplifting our diverse cultures through music.”

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Fernando Rios, associate professor of ethnomusicology, published his book, “Panpipes & Ponchos: Musical Folklorization and the Rise of the Andean Conjunto Tradition in La Paz, Bolivia,” with Oxford University Press on September 22, 2020. The book illuminates how the Andean conjunto ensemble tradition (a highly stylized, urban folkloric rendering of rural indigenous musical expressions) initially obtained the status of Bolivia’s paramount ensemble form of “national music,” arguing that it represented the culmination of over four decades of criollo-mestizo musical activities that framed Andean indigenous music as the roots of Bolivian national culture. More broadly, “Panpipes & Ponchos” offers the first book-length study of the Bolivian folkloric movement that chronicles how it developed in close dialogue with Bolivian government projects and transnational artistic trends for the critical period spanning the 1920s to 1960s.

"Rios is the preeminent historian of what the world knows today as 'Andean music,'” said Dr. Jonathan Ritter, associate professor of ethnomusicology at the University of California Riverside. Ritter praised Rios’ book as “meticulously researched and theoretically profound,” while Dr. Henry Stobart, reader in music at Royal Holloway University of London, characterized “Panpipes & Ponchos” as “an indispensable resource for understanding how Andean music came to take the world by storm.” 

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William Robin, assistant professor of musicology, published “Industry: Bang on a Can and New Music in the Marketplace” with Oxford University Press on February 22, 2021. “Industry” explores how the experimental new music group Bang on a Can came head-to-head with the New York City music establishment in the 1980s and 1990s by presenting unique performances of what the author characterizes as “eclectic, irreverent marathons of experimental music in crumbling venues.” Offering something new and a bit gritty, these festivals were wildly successful. They also created new organizational models at a time when government arts funding was on the chopping block.

In tandem with the popularized success of avant garde composers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass, Robin points to the ways in which Bang on a Can gathered new audiences, garnered a major record deal and forever changed new music’s future.

“‘Industry’ examines what the world of new music looked like in the late 20th century, and how composers and performers worked to reach a mainstream audience in that moment,” said Robin, who was recently published in The New York Times. “I hope it offers helpful lessons for musicians today, amidst a turbulent time for the arts."


 Headshot of Siv Lie.

Siv B. Lie, assistant professor of ethnomusicology, anticipates the release of her book, “Django Generations: Hearing Ethnorace, Citizenship, and Jazz Manouche in France,” with University of Chicago Press this fall. The book explores how ideologies of ethnoracial and national belonging are generated through musical performance and discourse. Jazz manouche is a genre named for the Manouche people (French Romanies, otherwise known as “Gypsies”) and based on the work of famed Manouche guitarist Django Reinhardt (1910-1953). While Manouches face frequent ethnoracial discrimination in France, they are lauded as bearers of a jazz manouche tradition that is also considered part of French national heritage. This book examines how music is used to construct divergent ethnoracial and national identities in a context where discussions of race are otherwise censured.

“As the first full-length ethnographic study of French jazz to be published in English, this book enriches anthropological, ethnomusicological and historical scholarship on global jazz, race and ethnicity, and citizenship” said Lie.

Through an Arts and Humanities Special Purpose Innovation Grant, Lie will develop a companion multimedia website and create a paperback edition of the book.

Learn more about the scholarship and research areas of musicology and ethnomusicology faculty and graduate students on the School of Music website.

Original news story written by School of Music Staff

March 12, 2021

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