Colloquium: Guthrie Ramsey

WhenOctober 20, 2017 3:30 PM - 6:00 PM
WhereFulton Hall
Contact InformationMusic Department
DescriptionHide/Melt/Ghost: Writing the Early History of African American Music

This paper discusses some of the challenges of writing about antebellum African American music culture. Cultural memory, artistic invention, conjuring traditions, attitudes about “racial integrity” and New World expressions of Christianity combined to create a distinctive music, improvised, in part, to soundtrack spectacular, paranormal events. What happens when the science of musicology meets ghosts?

Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. is a pianist, composer and the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s the author of Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop and The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History and the Challenge of Bebop, African American Music (Grove Kindle Editions) and Samuel A. Floyd, Jr., with Melanie Zeck and Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr., The Transformation of Black Music: The Rhythms, the Songs and the Ships of the African Diaspora. He currently completing two new books, a collection of mid-career essays titled Who Hears Here? and Soundproof: Black Music, Magic and Racial Intimacies, a history of African American music from the slave-era to the present.

As the leader of the band Dr. Guy’s MusiQology, he has released three recordings and has performed internationally at legendary venues such as The Blue Note in New York. Among his other musical works is “Someone Is Listening,” a commission written with poet Elizabeth Alexander and commemorating the 100th anniversary of the NAACP. His documentary film Amazing: The Tests and Triumph of Bud Powell was a selection of the BlackStar Film Festival in 2015. He co-curated the 2010 exhibition Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainmentfor the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institute and was a contributing scholar to the Museum of Modern Art’s recent exhibition One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Works. Ramsey is the founder and editor of the popular blog,, which takes on musical issues of the day. He received a doctorate in musicology from the University of Michigan and taught at Tufts University before joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 1998. He was a Thurgood Marshall Dissertation Fellow at Dartmouth College, a DuBois Institute Fellow at Harvard University, and has held visiting professorships at Princeton University and Harvard University.
CategoriesConferences/Lectures, Workshops, Staff, Graduate Students
Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact the event sponsor for assistance.