Five College Consortium

Five College Ethnomusicology Program

Upcoming Events

Spring 2016 Asian Music Performances at the UMass Fine Arts Center: 

TAO: Seventeen Samurai

Wednesday, February 3, UMass Fine Arts Center, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: Five College Students $10-$15; Reserved General Public $20-$40Call: 413-545-2511 or online at:

Director and founder Ikuo Fujitaka has created a world-class Taiko ensemble that incorporates both the complexity and diversity of the traditional Taiko drum. In order to achieve his goals, Mr. Fujitaka implemented a regimented and meticulous approach to the show calling for only the most disciplined and talented artists. Because of this, TAO requires not only physical strength and ability from its performers but also an innate sense of rhythm and expressiveness. It is that innate sense that enables the audience to view a mind-boggling spectacle of dance and music, while at the same time obtaining respect for the traditional instrument in its purest sense. Since the inception of Mr. Fujitaka's vision, TAO has been seen in 17 countries and 400 cities with 500 performances each year. To date, TAO has been seen by over 5 million spectators worldwide.  Adored in Japan and across the world, they present an unprecedented and timeless Taiko performance, bringing a brand new genre to the stage. TAO set up a living and training base at a 120,000 square foot site, surrounded by nature in a national park at Kyushu's Kuju Plateau which is considered one of Japan's most picturesque areas. At the site, they receive inspiration from the rich natural environment that surrounds them, grapple with the meaning of real music, undertake the strenuous training of athletes and continue to produce unique pieces of music that have continually overturned the Japanese image of traditional Taiko. TAO receives enormous support in Japan, and has become renowned as "a Japanese Taiko Group with a difference". 


From Vietnam to America: A Musical Odyssey by Vanessa Vân-Ánh Võ

Friday, March 4, UMass Bowker Auditorium, 8:00 p.m.
Tickets: Five College Students $10; Reserved General Public $15-$20
Call: 413-545-2511 or online at:

Marking the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, Vanessa Vo explores the personal and spiritual journeys of the Boat People's escape from war as they abandoned their lives in the search for freedom with an alien and unknowable future. Utilizing new music for Vietnamese instruments - zither, dulcimer, monochord and others along with ambient sound, spoken word, and historical objects, this new musical work is intended to convey stories of human transformations that resonate for all, not just Vietnamese refugees.  A pre concert talk on Vietnamese instruments starts at 6:30 p.m. in Bowker Auditorium.

  A Night in Ancient and New China

Tuesday, March 29, UMass Fine Arts Center, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: Five College Students $10; Reserved General Public $20-$40
Call: 413-545-2511 or online at: 

Wu Man and the Shanghai Quartet explore the great music of China in a program that features a new multimedia work by the eminent Chinese composer, Zhao Jiping, in collaboration with his son, Zhao Lin, performing some of some of his most famous scores of Chinese cinema - Raise the Red Lantern, To Live and Farewell My Concubine, among others.  The program also includes a suite of traditional Chinese folk songs arranged by 2nd violinist Yi-Wen Jiang, as well as solo pipa works by Wu Man.  Looking back to their roots, but with a contemporary vision, these artists meld sounds of China with western string quartet and pipa in an unforgettable evening.  "A Night in Ancient & New China" exemplifies the artists' perspective through its exploration of Chinese music, both ancient and contemporary, juxtaposed with a major masterwork for a string quartet Mozart's K. 499. The concert opens with solo pipa and also features a traditional Chinese folk song arranged for pipa and string quartet by SQ violinist Yi-Wen Jiang. There will be a post performance Q & A with the musicians.


Past Events

5th annual Ethnomusicology Certificate Celebration 

Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 3 p.m. in Arms Music Center, Room 7 at Amherst College.

Six students will offer presentations on their research beginning at 3 p.m., and will be
followed by Martin Daughtry, an Associate Professor of Music at New York University, who will give the keynote address, speaking on "Violent Sound, Deadly Silence: Discerning the Rhythmic Periodicities of War."

The students presenting their work are the following:

Frances Caperchi, Hampshire College
Abigail Hobart, Hampshire College
Jacob Hochberger, Hampshire College
Traci Laichter, Hampshire College
Emily Moran, Hampshire College
Kathleen Toomey, Mount Holyoke College

[Ethno Certificate Celebration Poster]

"Interacting Bodies, Spaces and Voices: BaAka Music and Dance and the Central African Rainforest."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015, 7:30 pm
Music Recital Hall

Music and Dance Building
Hampshire College

Please join us at a lecture by Dr. Michelle Kisliuk, Associate Professor of Music at the University of Virginia. Dr. Kisliuk has been researching the music, dance, daily life and cultural politics of forest people (BaAka) in the Central African Republic for nearly 30 years. She will speak on "Interacting Bodies, Spaces and Voices: BaAka Music and Dance and the Central African Rainforest."

[Michelle Kisliuk Poster]

"Sensual Orientations -- the senses in research and creativity"

Thursday, February 6, 2014, 7:00 p.m. in the Music Building Recital Hall, Hampshire College

Please join us for a lecture by the renowned scholar, Tomie Hahn, Associate Professor of Performance Ethnology at Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute on "Sensual Orientations -- the senses in research and creativity."

Tomie Hahn is a performer and ethnolomusicologist whose activities span a wide range of topics including: Japanese traditional performing arts, Monster Truck rallies, issues of identity and creative expression of multiracial individuals. In this talk, Professor Hahn considers the sense of orientation, through disorientation.  She asks: What can new sensory experiences teach us about culture, embodiment, and presence? How can we incorporate such encounters into our research on culture and the body? She will incorporate a mini-workshop as a way to make meaningful the embodied experience of (dis)orientation.

"The Rhythmic Imagination in African Music"

October 29, 2013, 7 p.m. in Gamble Auditorium, Mount Holyoke College

Please join us for a lecture by the renowned scholar Kofi Agawu, Professor of Music at Princeton University on "The Rhythmic Imagination in African Music."  This lecture is the first in the 2013-14 public lecture series sponsored by the Five College Ethnomusicology Program.

[Agawu Lecture poster]


Five College Ethnomusicology Certificate Celebration

 Sunday, April 14, 2 p.m., Amherst College Alumni House

From East Los Angeles musical histories to the pedagogy of India’s classical music, the projects of this year’s Five College ethnomusicology certificates engage with a diverse array of musical subjects across disciplines and the globe. The six graduating students will be honored in a celebration at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, at the Amherst College Alumni House on Churchill Street in downtown Amherst.

 Students will offer presentations on their research beginning at 2 p.m., and will be
followed by Kiri Miller, an Associate Professor of Music at Brown University.  Miller, whose work focuses on popular music, interactive digital media, virtual performance, and amateur musicianship, will give a talk titled “Listening Like a Dancer,” which focuses on Dance Central, a digital game series that teaches players full-body choreography routines set to popular club music, providing real-time feedback driven by a motion-sensing camera device. “Drawing on analysis of online discourse and interviews with players and game designers,” said Miller, “I address Dance Central as a staging ground for emergent forms of multisensory interactivity, virtual performance, and participatory culture.”

 This year’s Five College Ethnomusicology Certificate recipients are:

Sasha Hsuczyk, Hampshire

Phoebe Smolin, Hampshire

Anna Maria Amoroso, Mount Holyoke 

Rebekah Danielson, Mount Holyoke

Katie Hoyer, Smith

Sara Loh, Smith


Thursday, February 7th, 2013

"Vital Transformations: Fusion's Young Discontents"

4pm, Room 3, Arms Music Center, Amherst College

Professor Kevin Fellezs of Columbia University will speak on the forgotten early years of fusion before the release of Miles Davis's Bitches Brew. Though fusion is now seen as one of the more commercially driven of jazz’s substyles, most of the early fusion groups remained unknown and largely unheard outside of private jam sessions and infrequent live performances. Commercial success was hardly a phrase one would use to describe early fusion bands from the mid-1960s until 1970 with the release of Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew. The talk will be focused on the early formative years of fusion, outlining the rationales and aesthetics of young "fusioneers," who were criticized by jazz writers and fans for merging jazz with rock and funk. Yet this is a concern only if one is insisting on aligning fusion with jazz. Thinking of fusion as a "new idiom," as Herbie Hancock insisted, may lead to a more productive way to think about the music these young musicians began creating at a time when jazz observers often felt besieged by, rather than aligned with, the broader popular music world.

Author of Birds of Fire: Jazz, Rock, Funk and the Creation of Fusion (Duke University Press, 2011), a study of fusion (jazz-rock-funk) music of the 1970s, Kevin Fellezs joined the Faculty of Columbia University as Assistant Professor of Music and African American Studies in 2012, in a joint appointment with the Institute for Research
in African American Studies at Columbia. He was previously on the faculty of the University of California at Merced. He holds the PhD in History of Consciousness (American Studies) from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has published articles in Jazz Perspectives, Journal of Popular Music Studies, and the Institute
for Studies in American Music Newsletter. He has also published essays in a number of edited anthologies including Alien Encounters: Asian Americans and Popular Culture (Duke University), One World Periphery Reads the Other: Knowing the “Oriental” in the Americas and the Iberian Peninsula (Cambridge Scholars), and Heavy Metal: Controversies and Countercultures (Equinox).

Free and open to the public.

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

UNESCO and Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage: Can we 'safeguard' music? If we can, should we?

Main Lecture Hall, Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH), Hampshire College

A lecture presented by Anthony Seeger.

View the event poster here.

Contact Junko Oba at for more information.