Ph.D., University of Michigan
Phone: (951) 827-3606
Office: INTN 2008
René T.A. Lysloff is an Associate Professor of Music (Ethnomusicology) and came to UCR in the fall of 1996 after teaching two years at the University of Pittsburgh. Before that, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Grinnell College (1992-93) and also taught at Oberlin College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Lysloff received a Bachelor of Music (Theory/History, with a minor in German Literature) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1977. He went on to study ethnomusicology (under Ricardo Trimillos) at the University of Hawaii funded by East-West Center (Open Grants and the Institute of Culture) and received an M.A in Ethnomusicology in 1982. Lysloff continued his graduate studies at the University of Michigan (under Judith Becker) and received his Ph.D. in 1990. His dissertation explores local expressions of cultural universals in rural Javanese shadow-puppet theater performance (in the region of Banyumas, western Central Java).In his work on Javanese music, Lysloff has published articles inEthnomusicology (Journal of the Society for Ethnomusicology), Asian Theatre, and other journals and collections (including theGarland Encyclopedia of Music). Presently, he is finishing a book on shadow theater and music in rural Central Java based on past fieldwork in Java (1979-80, 1986-87, and 1994), to be published through KITLV (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies). When he returned to Java in 1998, specifically the region of Banyumas (western Central Java), he pursued his research on rural performing arts and Indonesian modernization. His most recently completed project is translating a contemporary Indonesian novel (in three volumes) by Ahmad Tohari entitled Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk [A Dancer of Paruk Village]. The novel explores the lives of a rural dancing girl and her childhood sweetheart as they experience the tumultuous changes in Indonesia from 1946 to 1971. The English translation, titled The Dancer, is published as a single volume through the Lontar Foundation ( Jakarta) and distributed worldwide.Most of Lysloff’s research and field study has been supported by grants and scholarships, including several major research awards and fellowships: University of California (1998), Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship (1994), Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship (1993-94), Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (1987), Fulbright-Hays (1985-86), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (1982).Lysloff has studied and performed music of the Javanese gamelan (gong-chime ensemble) for approximately twenty years. He has taught gamelan for almost fifteen years at many different colleges and universities throughout the U.S., including the University of California-Riverside, University of Pittsburgh, Grinnell College, Oberlin College, University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan, University of Chicago (workshops), and Mills College (workshops). He has performed with several major ensembles in Java, including the national radio broadcast studio (RRI) gamelan ensemble of Yogyakarta, the radio broadcast studio gamelan of Purwokerto, and renowned musical troupes accompanying Javanese shadow theater in the Banyumas region. At UCR, Lysloff teaches both gamelan and a Javanese rural musical tradition known as calung, an ensemble made up primarily of bamboo xylophones. His ensemble at UCR is one of only two active calung groups in the entire U.S.Since 1995, Lysloff has also been exploring issues related to changing technologies and their impact on cultural practices and epistemologies involving music. For the 1995 Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology in Los Angeles, he organized a Pre-Conference Symposium on music and technoculture with panelists that included scholars, performers, studio engineers, and political activists. His recent article in Ethnomusicology (the Journal of the Society for Ethnomusicology), entitled "Mozart in Mirroshades: Ethnomusicology, Technology, and the Politics of Representation," attempts to develop a theoretical discourse for understanding how the new media and communications technologies permeate musical experience, knowledge, and practice. Over the past five years, he has presented papers and organized conference panels on music and technology (for annual meetings of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music and the Society for Ethnomusicology). More recently, Lysloff has co-edited (with Leslie Gay) a collection of articles titled Music and Technoculture (2003, Wesleyan University Press). He wrote an article on the ethnographic study of music communities on the Internet, titled “Music Life in Softcity: An Internet Ethnography.” published in the journal, Cultural Anthropology (2003).
Lysloff is an active member of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) and, along with Deborah Wong, has served as editor of the SEM Newsletter (1994-1999). He has also served on the SEM Council (1994-96, 2003-04) and was Vice President and President of the Southern California Chapter of SEM (SEMSCC). Lysloff was also Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music-U.S.A. Chapter.