Music of the Middle East: A.J. Racy in Concert

A concert of Arabic music by A. J. Racy will be taking place on March 18 at 4:30, in the Studio Theater of the Krannert Center. Bruno Nettl, Professor Emeritus of Music and Anthropology, had the following to share about this concert and related events. "I'm writing to call your attention to this event, but also to tell you a bit more about Dr. Racy. He is probably the most distinguished performer of Arabic traditional classical music living in the United States, and he will play this music on the buzuq (a kind of lute) and the nei (a flute), and he'll be accompanied by percussionist Omar al Musfi. Some of the music will be quite traditional, and some -- Racy's own compositions -- will show the confluence of tradition and modernity. BUT -- I want also to tell you a bit more about A. J. Racy. Born in Lebanon, a member of a distinguished family of scholars and artists, he came to the United States in 1968 to study ethnomusicology, and ended up here at the University of Illinois, and I was (am still) very pleased indeed to have been his advisor in his master's thesis about funeral songs of the Druze people of Lebanon, and more important, of his dissertation, a pioneering study, "Musical Change and Commercial Recording in Egypt, 1904-1932." Completing his graduate study here in 1977, Dr. Racy taught briefly at the University of Washington before moving to the Department of Ethnomusicology at UCLA, where he has been a professor for over thirty years. In addition to being a great performer, Dr. Racy is one of the most prominent scholars in the field of Middle Eastern music, his most important publication being "Making Music in the Arab World" (Cambridge U. Press, 2003). Dr. Racy's visit here, from March 15 to March 18, which will also include visits to come classes in the School of Music, is taking place under the auspices of the Center for Advanced Study. I wish, finally, to call to your attention a related event. On Tuesday, March 17, Dr. Racy will participate in a brief informal panel discussion, related to his dissertation work, and titled "Early Commercial Recordings in Ethnomusicological Research." It's a subject of considerable currency in today's ethnomusicology. He will be joined by scholars with parallel interests, Dr. Philip Yampolsky and Professor Harry Liebersohn, with Dr. Lillie Gordon as chair. This panel will take place from 12:30 to 1:45 (March 17), in Room 1140, Music Building (bring a brownbag). But if you possibly can, come to the concert on March 18. It will be a treat." Bruno Nettl Professor Emeritus of Music and Anthropology This free event, open to the public, is being held in the Studio Theatre, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana.