Ethnomusicology, the study of music as culture, aims at understanding how music from around the world works, why it exists, what it means, and how it reflects, references, and inflects our human condition. [What is Ethnomusicology?] Ethnomusicologists come from, draw upon, and contribute to a variety of disciplines: music, cultural anthropology, folklore, performance studies, dance, cultural studies, gender studies, ethnic studies, area studies, and other fields in the humanities and social sciences.
Ethnomusicology was introduced to the university in 1966 by Mieczyslaw Kolinski, one of the founders and a former President of the Society for Ethnomusicology, who taught here until his retirement 1976. The program was further developed by Tim Rice (from 1974 to 1987) and James Kippen (from 1990 to 2019). There are currently three full-time ethnomusicologists on faculty: Jeff Packman (2007-), Joshua Pilzer (2009-), and Farzaneh Hemmasi (2013-). Additional support comes from scholars and musicians whose courses and performance ensembles further enrich our curriculum. Our program’s history is chronicled in James Kippen’s 2022 account of ethnomusicology in the Faculty of Music in the journal MUSICultures.
Toronto itself is a vast, vibrant and varied metropolis. As ethnomusicologists, we draw on and contribute to the cultural life of this alpha world city. Moreover, we are situated in the interdisciplinary hub of North America’s largest public university. Nationally, the University of Toronto is ranked the top school in Canada, and globally it is very high in the international rankings according to several indexes, especially in the Arts & Humanities. (See U of T News for all the latest updates from across the university.)
In addition to ethnomusicologists, our Faculty of Music includes renowned musicologists, music theorists, composers, music educators and performers, an opera school, a jazz program, and programs in music technology and music & health. The U of T library system is ranked third in North America (source: ARL), and our music library holds Canada’s national music collection.