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Skidmore College
Music Department

2016 Tsou Scholar Ellie M. Hisama, Columbia University
Thursday, October 13, 7 p.m.
Helen Filene Ladd Hall, Zankel Music Center

Lecture: "Passages: Modernism and Tradition in Transnational American Musics."

This lecture explores the work of Bay Area musicians Jon Jang, Francis Wong, and Ratha Jim (RJ) Sin in the context of passages—of geography, time, and the body. Cofounders of Asian Improv Records, the influential independent Asian American recording label, Jang and Wong have in their decades-long collaboration as composers, improvisers, and instrumentalists proffered numerous works giving brilliant sonic testimony to polycultural Afro-Asian America. Rapper, poet, and singer RJ Sin compellingly expresses through music and word a distinctly Cambodian-American worldview that also illuminates the struggles and hopes of many in US working-class immigrant communities. Building upon the writings of Deborah Wong, Jonathan H. X. Lee, and Cathy Schlund-Vials, Hisama considers works from 1985 to 2015 that bridge the modern and traditional while they powerfully invoke, represent, and recall those who have travelled, traversed, and passed.

About the Speaker

Ellie Hisama is a professor of music at Columbia University. Her professional interests include 20th- and 21st-century music, American music, popular music, gender and feminist studies, critical studies of music, race and ethnicity, and the social and political roles of music. Hisama is the author of Gendering Musical Modernism: The Music of Ruth Crawford, Marion Bauer, and Miriam Gideon and co-editor of Ruth Crawford Seeger's Worlds: Innovation and Tradition in Twentieth-Century American Music. She has received major fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation/Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute for the Humanities and is a member of the governing board of Columbia University’s Society of Fellows, founding editor of the Journal of the Society for American Music, and editor-in-chief of Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture.
Professor Hisama earned her PhD in music theory at the City University of New York, studying with Carl Schachter and Joseph Straus. She is a past director of the H. Wiley Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music at Brooklyn College. Hisama has also taught at Harvard University, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Connecticut College, Ohio State University, and the University of Virginia.