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Professor Philip Ewell - Class of 1960 Music Lecture

Thu, February 29th, 2024
4:15 pm

Professor Philip Ewell of Hunter College of the City University of New York offers a Class of 1960 Lecture titled Racialized Musical (Hi)stories.

“History” usually implies an accurate account of past events while a “story” is less accurate, embellished by a “storyteller.” With remarkable consistency in the U.S., our “histories” have been written by white persons, usually men, with little divergence from the narratives of “great works” of a “western canon.” This talk expands on music’s (hi)stories and explains why the common American music curriculum is still segregated along racial lines. The talk suggests that we need to desegregate curricula so that all racial musics, and musical races, have a seat at the table and a voice in the conversation.

Philip Ewell is a professor of music theory at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he served as Director of Graduate Studies from 2016 to 2022. His research specialties include race studies in music theory, Russian music theory, Russian opera, modal theory and history, twentieth-century music theory, and hiphop and popular music. As a public music theorist his scholarship has been featured in Adam Neely’s YouTube channel, the BBC, Die ZeitThe New York TimesThe New Yorker, and WQXR’s  Aria Code, among other outlets. He is noted for his race scholarship in “Music Theory and the White Racial Frame,” and his six-part blog, “Confronting Racism and Sexism in American Music Theory.”

His monograph, On Music Theory, and Making Music More Welcoming for Everyone, is currently available from the University of Michigan Press. In it he takes an explicitly antiracist and antisexist stance toward music theory and academic music while offering thoughts for the future. He is also under contract at W. W. Norton to coauthor a new music theory textbook, The Engaged Musician: Theory and Analysis for the Twenty-First Century, which will be a modernized and inclusive textbook based on recent developments in music theory pedagogy, with a projected publication date in 2024. He is the series editor for the Oxford University Press book series, Theorizing African American Music, which launched in Fall 2022.

Photo: Pascal Perich



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