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Music scholar Bruno Nettl wins inaugural award from China conservatory

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Bruno Nettl, a professor emeritus of music and anthropology at the University of Illinois, is one of four international musicians who recently was awarded the inaugural Taichi Traditional Music Award, given by the China Conservatory and the Taichi Traditional Music Foundation.

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11/9/2012 | Dusty Rhodes, Arts and Humanities Editor | 217-333-0568; rhodes8@illinois.edu

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Bruno Nettl, a professor emeritus of music and anthropology at the University of Illinois, is one of four international musicians who recently was awarded the inaugural Taichi Traditional Music Award, given by the China Conservatory and the Taichi Traditional Music Foundation.

Other recipients were Ravi Shankar, the Indian sitar master and composer; Hsien-yung Pai, an internationally known author who helped revitalize Kunqu Opera for modern audiences; and Lin Zhongshu, a farmer who works to preserve his village’s centuries-old tradition of producing concerts.

The prize, which will be awarded biannually, recognizes individuals or social groups who have made “outstanding and original contribution toward the performance, inheritance, theoretical studies or dissemination of traditional music,” according to China Daily, a newspaper.

Anthony Seeger, a distinguished professor emeritus of ethnomusicology at UCLA and a member of the jury that selected prize recipients, told China Daily that this new award is the only international prize he knows of for traditional music. “There are regional awards for traditional music in the United States and Europe, but I don’t know any other international award for traditional music like the Taichi Award,” he said. “By setting up this award, China is contributing to the promotion and preservation of traditional music worldwide.”

This year, out of 23 nominees, the jury selected 12 finalists, who each received $10,000, and four winners, who each receive $50,000. Nettl was chosen for his achievements in the field that he helped establish – ethnomusicology, which is the study of social and cultural aspects of music in local and global contexts. He is the author, co-author or editor of 26 books, including “Nettl’s Elephant,” a collection of essays on the evolution and current state of ethnomusicology, and “The Study of Ethnomusicology: Thirty-one Issues and Concepts” – the updated and expanded edition of his 1983 book “Twenty-nine Issues and Concepts,” which is considered a classic in the field.

The awards were presented Oct. 25 in a ceremony broadcast on China National Television.

Editor’s note: For more information, email Jeffrey Magee: jmag@illinois.edu.

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