Philip Bohlman, Ludwig Rosenberger Distinguished Service Professor in Jewish History, Music and the Humanities in the College, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the National University of Music Bucharest
October 8th, 2019 – Bucharest, Romania
Philip Bohlman, the Ludwig Rosenberger Distinguished Service Professor in Jewish History, Music and the Humanities in the College, has been bestowed the distinction of Doctor Honoris Causa at the National University of Music Bucharest in recognition of his contributions to the study of European, Indian, Jewish, and American musics, societies, and religions.
In its presentation of the honor, the Senate of the UNMB recognized Professor Bohlman’s “interest in the people who make and listen to” the music he studies as much as his interest in the music itself. It pointed to Bohlman as a model for its students, highlighting the volumes bearing his name in the University’s library and bringing attention to a line from one of his many articles: “In my writing, I have obsessively tried to provide something for as many readerships as I am capable… of reaching.”
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Bohlman has served on the faculty of the Department of Music at the University of Chicago since 1987. His teaching and research draw upon diverse methods and perspectives in music scholarship to forge an ethnomusicology built upon foundations in ethnography, history, and performance. He is particularly interested in exploring the interstices between music and religion, music, race, and colonial encounter, and music and nationalism. The study of Jewish music in modernity has provided a primary focus for his research for four decades, and since 1998 has provided the context for his activities as a performer, both as the Artistic Director of the New Budapest Orpheum Society (a Jewish cabaret and ensemble-in-residence in the Humanities Division), and in stage performances with Christine Wilkie Bohlman (Humanities Collegiate Division) of works for piano and dramatic speaker created during the Holocaust.
Bohlman appears as author or editor on thirty-three books in both English and German and on countless scholarly articles. He has also recorded four CDs with the New Budapest Orpheum Society, including the GRAMMY-nominated As Dreams Fall Apart (2014). He is the 45th person to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the National University of Music Bucharest since its founding in 1864, and he is one of eight musicologists and the first ethnomusicologist to be given the honor.
Bohlman continues to serve as editor or co-editor of two series he established at the University of Chicago Press, “Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology” and “Big Issues in Music.” His most recent book, Wie sängen wir Seinen Gesang auf dem Boden der Fremde, was published in December 2019.