Academics & Faculty



Anthony Seeger has been appointed a professor in UCLA's Department of Ethnomusicology, part of the university's School of the Arts and Architecture. Seeger comes to UCLA from the Smithsonian Institution, where he was curator of the Folkways Collection and director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

"We are very excited to have Anthony Seeger join our faculty," said Timothy Rice, department chair. "His expertise in the music of Native South America combined with his experience in the music industry in the United States give him a unique perspective on the field that will stimulate students and faculty alike. As one of the few specialists on Native South American music and an internationally respected music producer and archivist, he will expand the breadth of the department's course offerings considerably."

An anthropologist, Seeger this year will teach undergraduate and graduate courses, including the anthropology of music, music of South America, South American Indian music and the U.S. music industry.

"I came to UCLA because it has one of the largest and strongest ethnomusicology programs in the world, located in an institution with wonderful programs in many related fields," Seeger said. "After years at the Smithsonian with no teaching opportunities, I look forward to working with my colleagues and students from the department and all around the institution on all kinds of collaborative projects."

Seeger's grandfather, the composer and musicologist Charles Seeger, preceded him at UCLA, where he was a research musicologist in the Department of Ethnomusicology from 1958–1966 and a Regents' Professor in 1961–62. His uncles, Pete Seeger and Mike Seeger, have been visiting lecturers at UCLA.

Anthony Seeger served as executive producer and editor of all recordings issued on the Smithsonian Folkways label between 1989 and July 2000 — nearly 220 titles — a time span that saw the company's gross income multiply 18-fold. He worked to improve the preservation of the Folkways Collection, and acquired the master tapes and papers of five other record companies to add to the Smithsonian's recorded collections. Prior to joining the Smithsonian,

he was for six years a professor of anthropology and director of the Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University, Bloomington.

From 1975 to 1982, he was a researcher and professor in the department of anthropology at the Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He became department chair in 1981 and vice coordinator of the graduate program in social anthropology. During this time he also collaborated to establish the first M.A. program in ethnomusicology in Brazil at the Brazilian Conservatory of Music in Rio de Janeiro.

His fieldwork has focused on the Suya Indians of Brazil, the subject of three of his books. "Why Suya Sing: A Musical Anthropology of an Amazonian People" was published by Cambridge University Press in 1987. He has written numerous articles on the Suya in both English and Portuguese, dealing with such issues as cosmology, social organization, land rights, identity and the environment.

The topics of Seeger's other publications stem from his experience in the music industry and as an archivist. In 1987 he co-edited a catalogue of the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music with Louise Spear, now the archivist of UCLA's Ethnomusicology Archive. He has also written about and served on panels discussing music, the law and intellectual property, and acts as an advisor to audiovisual archives in India and the Sudan.

He was book review editor of the "Yearbook for Traditional Music" from 1986–92, and is currently on the editorial board of the University of Chicago Press Ethnomusicology Series. He contributed numerous chapters to "The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Volume 2: South America, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean" and other encyclopedias. He was president of the Society for Ethnomusicology (1991–93) and president of the International Council for Traditional Music (1997–99).

Seeger has been the recipient of numerous grants, fellowships and honors from such organizations as the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cornell University, the Rex Foundation, the National Association of Independent Record Distributors, the American Musicological Society, the L.J. and M.J. Skaggs Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Smithsonian Institution.

He earned his Ph.D. (1974) and M.A. (1970) from the University of Chicago in anthropology and in social sciences, respectively. He received his B.A. from Harvard University in social relations.

Department of Ethnomusicology Overview

The UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology explores traditional music from all the continents of the world as well as the music of America's many ethnic groups and contemporary forms of American popular and "world beat" music, including jazz.

Ethnomusicologists focus on music as a cultural, social and political expression, while systematic musicologists examine scientifically and philosophically the fundamental nature of music, from acoustics to aesthetics. In addition to distinguished professors who write and lecture about music, the department hosts some of the finest national and international performers of traditional music and jazz, who provide students with an unparalleled opportunity for hands-on musical experience. The department has close links with the many ethnic and area studies centers on campus, as well as with the departments of anthropology and world arts and cultures.

The Department of Ethnomusicology offers B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, and has granted more masters and doctoral degrees in ethnomusicology than any other program of its kind in the world. While many of its graduates have gone on to establish similar academic programs throughout the world, UCLA has the first and only ethnomusicology department.



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