Performer, composer and award-winning author A.J. Racy, distinguished professor of ethnomusicology, will be honored by the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music for his four decades of teaching during a two-day conference and evening concert April 12-13 in the Schoenberg Music Building.
“Professor Racy epitomizes the tripartite scholarship of ethnomusicology,” said Judith Smith, dean of the Herb Alpert School of Music. “He is a talented musician, innovative composer and distinguished scholar. The school of music looks forward to celebrating his 40 splendid years at UCLA.”
Internationally recognized for his “masterful evocations of music from the Arab world,” Racy has composed and performed for collaborators as diverse as the Kronos Quartet and the Sacramento Symphony Orchestra. He has written film scores and made recordings of Middle Eastern music, often playing the nay, a reed flute popular in Arab music.
Racy is the author of numerous publications, including the award-winning book “Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab,” and he currently serves as the director of undergraduate studies for the school of music.
“Professor Racy’s scholarship has opened new doors of inquiry in the history and present practice of Middle Eastern music,” said Mark Kligman, chair of the department of ethnomusicology. “He has made a major impact in the launching of the careers of scholars for over two generations.”
Racy will be honored by international scholars, alumni, students and faculty who will explore the topic of music and ecstasy during the conference. Speakers include more than a dozen of Racy’s former students.
The free concert will feature original compositions by Racy, performed by the UCLA Near East Ensemble, which he directs, as well as UCLA faculty, including professor Chi Li, a highly accomplished ehru performing artist, and a student string quartet from the department of music. Racy will perform with alumni and students as part of a Middle Eastern takht ensemble, which includes the nay, violin and other traditional Arab instruments. Special guest artists and faculty members Parisa — a leading female vocalist from Iran, Pejman Hadadi and Amir Pourjavady will perform a set of Persian music.
For more information on the event, “Music & Ecstasy: A.J. Racy’s 40 Years at UCLA,” and to RSVP, see the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music calendar.