'Music, Memory and Identity' Series: 'Research as Composition' by Prof. Steven Feld

Professor Steven Feld is one of the most celebrated scholars in the field of Anthropology of Music but he is also one of the most successful Hofstra Alumni (class 1971). In this lecture, Feld not only discusses his ethnographic research among musicians in various regions of the world (from West Africa to Papua New Guinea), but for the first time, he shares his reminiscences about his days at Hofstra studying with great musicians and anthropologists who deeply inspired his long career. Among the teachers who have most influenced Feld is Prof. Emeritus Herb Deutsch, to whom this lecture is dedicated.

From 1967-1971 Feld studied Anthropology and Music at Hofstra and has particularly strong memories of the courses he took, and the music he played or composed, related to Herb Deutsch's courses on Blues and Jazz, Improvisation, and Musique Concrète and Electronic Music. In this lecture/performance, Prof. Feld will discuss how Herb Deutsch's teaching, musical philosophy, and personal example as a musician and composer opened him to ways he could go on to undertake anthropological research not only on compositional concepts in different musical traditions but more broadly utilize compositional practice as a technique of research and mode of analysis and synthesis. Feld will illustrate this idea with examples from his 45 years of field research, recording, and documentary sound art composition projects exploring sonic ecology in the Papua New Guinea rainforest, the world of animal, church and carnival bells in Southern Europe, and interactions connecting toads, car horns, and avant-garde jazz in West Africa.

Thursday, February 27, 2020



Fortunoff Theater
Monroe Lecture Center
Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549


Francesca Cassio

Phone: 5164635533
Website: Click to Visit

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