Dartmouth Professor Reflects on Three Decades of Music Research


Listen to the podcast with Ted Levin


Professor Ted Levin recorded Uyghur musicians for the final volume of the “Music of Central Asia” series. (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)

Ethnomusicologist Ted Levin, the Arthur R. Virgin Professor of Music in Dartmouth’s Department of Music, recently returned from Beijing where he recorded the tenth volume of “Music of Central Asia” in December. This is the final installment in the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings series, and it will feature a collaboration between the American-based pipa virtuoso Wu Man and Uyghur musicians from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in western China. This series is a co-production of the Aga Khan Music Initiative in Central Asia and the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and represents the fruits of more than three decades of research that has taken Levin to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to document and preserve Central Asia’s rich musical heritage. In this podcast with Dartmouth Now, he talks about the Music of Central Asia project, how his students benefit from his fieldwork, and organizing Billy Joel’s 1987 concert in the Soviet Union during the period of “glasnost.”

Note: The song played in this podcast is “Getme, Getme” from the “Music of Central Asia, Volume 8: Rainbow featuring the Kronos Quartet with Alim and Fargana Qasimov and Homayun Sakhi.”

Bonnie Barber