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Prof. Gavin Steingo – Class of 1960 Lecture

Mon, April 8th, 2019
4:15 pm
- 5:30 pm

Gavin Steingo, Assistant Professor of Music at Princeton University, gives a Class of 1960 Lecture for the Williams College Department of Music.

Professor Steingo seeks to understand globally circulating musical practices from the perspective of the geopolitical South. This research includes examinations of music and value, infrastructures and audio technologies, sound and race, and the politics of world music circulation. Gavin has recently pursued these topics in a monograph, Kwaito’s Promise: Music and the Aesthetics of Freedom in South Africa (University of Chicago Press, 2016, winner of the Alan P. Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology), and through conversations with scholars across a broad spectrum of disciplines: a special issue of the journal boundary 2 co-edited with Jairo Moreno on the topic “Econophonia: Music, Value, and Forms of Life”; a co-edited book series (also with Jairo Moreno) exploring intersections of music and sound for Oxford University Press; and a volume (co-edited with Jim Sykes) on decolonizing sound studies forthcoming from Duke University Press.

Gavin grew up in South Africa and began his music career performing with the Johannesburg Youth Jazz Orchestra and as a guitarist in a fairly popular rock band with frequent radio and television appearances. Today, performance forms an important part of his research process. He regularly records in a variety of styles and genres, most recently, for example, on an album by the Venda singer Jininka Nkanyane. The album was nominated in two categories at the South African Traditional Music Awards (2016).

Gavin has taught in the music departments at Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh as well as in the Department of Anthropology at Wits University, South Africa. He has received grants and fellowships from a range of agencies and institutions, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Musicological Society, the Heyman Center for the Humanities, the National Gugak Center (Seoul/South Korea), Akademie Schloss Solitude (Stuttgart/Germany), Merck Pharmaceuticals, and, most recently, the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition to his academic work, he consults with popular media outlets such as Afropop Worldwide and with performance venues such as the Apollo Theater and Carnegie Hall.

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