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Philip Bohlman is Mary Werkman Distinguished Service Professor of Music and the Humanities in the College. His teaching and research combines ethnographic and historical approaches to understand how music shapes human identity: cultural and national, political and aesthetic, ethnic and racial, sacred and secular, gender and sexuality. Jewish music has been central to his scholarship, particularly the presence of music in the shaping of European Jewish communities and Israel. Religious interests extend from his concern for Jewish music to studies of sacred music in North America and Islam in Europe, and to forms of sacred music-making, such as pilgrimage and prayer. His ethnomusicological fieldwork ranges from the Eurovision Song Contest to the study of Jewish communities in India, and he is currently translating and preparing an edition of Johann Gottfried Herder’s writings on music and nationalism. An accomplished pianist, Bohlman is also the Artistic Director of the University of Chicago ensemble-in-residence, the “New Budapest Orpheum Society,” a seven-member cabaret that has released three CDs of Jewish popular and political music, including the double-CD Dancing on the Edge of the Volcano (2002) and Jewish Music in Exile (2009). Among his most recent publications are The Folk Songs of AshkenazWorld Music: A Very Short IntroductionThe Music of European Nationalism, Jüdische Volksmusik – Eine mitteleuropäische Geistesgeschichte, and Jewish Music and Modernity. Currently, the ensemble is preparing new concerts and a CD of music from Jewish film traditions in Germany and Poland during the 1920s and 1930s. Philip Bohlman is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy and Honorarprofessor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover, Germany, home to the Europäisches Zentrum für jüdische Musik.


Past Courses

MUSI 23410. Music of the Middle East. Autumn 2009.

MUSI 23911/33911. Jewish Music. Autumn 2010, Spring 2013.

MUSI 31500. Music and Race. Winter 2002

MUSI 31500. Ethnomusicology: The Middle East and South Asia. Spring 2002.

MUSI 33004. Proseminar: Ethnomusicology. Winter 2013, Winter 2014.

MUSI 33800. Ethnographic Methods. Winter 2013.

MUSI 44611: Music/Race/Empire. Winter 2011.

SOSC 24800. Vienna in Western Civilization – III. Autumn 2012.