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MALS Faculty Spotlight: Jonathan Kramer

sun shines near belltower

What is your academic and/or professional background?

Jonathan Kramer.

I am a former cellist with San Francisco Opera and Ballet, and North Carolina Symphony; MALS, Duke University (1989), PHD, Union Institute (1994).

I am the co-author of innovative undergraduate World Music textbook, What in the World is Music? with Alison E. Arnold.

I began the study of music at age 5. I pursued study of World Music at Wesleyan University while studying cello performance at Yale with Aldo Parisot.

I have taught Music and the Sacred, Music in Suriname and The Creative Process.

I obtained my master’s degree from the Duke University MALS program. When I was first asked to teach a MALS seminar (Music and the Sacred) some 25 years ago, I felt that given my background in liberal studies, I would fit right in. “The Creative Process” began as an undergraduate course designed for incoming freshmen to introduce them to the arts programs on campus. The course was audited one semester by a MALS student who thought the concept would be perfect for MALS students. This fall will be the third (or fourth?) time I have taught it and it is always an adventure!

Music is inherently an interdisciplinary discipline, bridging history, psychology, anthropology, aesthetics, perception, religious studies, sociology, geography, acoustics, cultural and performance studies, etc. All knowledge is interrelated.

In my study of world music and during my performing career, I have spent time in nearly fifty countries and become proficient on instruments from India, Uganda and the Republic of Korea. 

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