Ralph P. Locke (A.M. 1974, Ph.D. 1980) is Professor of Musicology at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music.
His book Musical Exoticism: Images and Reflections—which contains discussion of a wide range of works, from Handel and Rameau to Reich and Tan Dun, plus Josephine Baker’s recording of “Petite Tonkinoise” and the film score for the Lord of the Rings trilogy—continues to gather positive reviews. The journal Early Music calls it “a masterful study . . . [which] promises to be the benchmark work in this area for some time, and one to which all scholars should refer. . . . Likely to become a cornerstone for music students.” Times Literary Supplement states: “Musical Exoticism is not just a fine instance of contemporary musicology but also a timely intervention in debates about the ethical and didactic role of the arts in society.”
Some reviews have come out in online venues:
He is now working on a “prequel,” treating the years 1500-1800. Though there is some chronological overlap between the two books, the new one will discuss the eighteenth century in much more detail than did Musical Exoticism, and will focus on different works. A first chunk of the new book—on exoticism in Handel’s operas—has appeared in the new multi-volume Händel-Handbuch (in a translation by Arnold Jacobshagen) and, somewhat fuller, in the Winter 2009 issue of Musical Times.
Locke continues to edit the University of Rochester Press’s series Eastman Studies in Music. Recent titles have included two books rich with primary-source material: Peter Dickinson’s Samuel Barber Remembered: A Centenary Tribute (including interviews with Menotti, Virgil Thomson, Leontyne Price, and H. Wiley Hitchcock) and György Kurtág: Three Interviews & Ligeti Homages by Bálint András Varga. An Eastman Studies book from 2008, The Rosary Cantoral: Ritual and Social Design in a Chantbook from Early Renaissance Toledo, by Lorenzo Candelaria, was awarded the Robert Stevenson Prize at last year’s AMS meeting.