Musical Update, Including Awards

Carol A. Hess headshot, UC Davis faculty, and "Aaron Copland in Latin America" book cover

From the publisher: Between 1941 and 1963, Aaron Copland made four government-sponsored tours of Latin America that drew extensive attention at home and abroad. Interviews with eyewitnesses, previously untapped Latin American press accounts, and Copland’s diaries inform Carol A. Hess’ in-depth examination of the composer’s approach to cultural diplomacy. As Hess shows, Copland’s tours facilitated an exchange of music and ideas with Latin American composers while capturing the tenor of United States diplomatic efforts at various points in history.

From the Department of Music: Funding from the Fellowships Open Book Program of the National Endowment for the Humanities will make this book freely available online.

With Copland’s internationalist spirit at center stage, his commitments to world peace are explored, as are his gifts as an open-minded cultural ambassador. Hess offers a richly contextualized and eminently readable book. — Carol J. Oja, author of “Bernstein Meets Broadway: Collaborative Art in a Time of War”

Henry Spiller headshot, UC Davis faculty, and "Archaic Instruments" book cover
  • Archaic Instruments in Modern West Java: Bamboo Murmurs
  • By Henry Spiller, professor, Department of Music
  • Routledge (Nov. 30, 2022)

From the publisher: The book explores how current residents of Bandung, Indonesia, have (re)adopted bamboo musical instruments to forge meaningful bridges between their past and present — between traditional and modern values. Although it focuses specifically on Bandung, the cosmopolitan capital city of West Java, the book grapples with ongoing issues of global significance, including musical environmentalism, heavy metal music, the effects of first-world hegemonies on developing countries, and cultural “authenticity.” Bamboo music’s association with the Sundanese landscape, old agricultural ceremonies and participatory music making, as well as its adaptability to modern society, make it a fertile site for an ecomusicological study.


Jessica Bissett Perea headshot, UC Davis faculty, and "Sound Relations" book cover

Jessica Bissett Perea, associate professor, Department of Native American Studies, received the 2023 Irving Lowens Book Award for Sound Relations: Native Ways of Doing Music History in Alaska. (2021). Given by the by the Society for American Music, the award recognizes the book judged as the best in the field of American music. The selection committee praised the book for how it “deftly challenges Eurocentric and settler-colonial musicologies by the demonstrating the myriad ways Inuit musicians in Alaska use music and sounds to express the complexity of their lived experiences.”

Juan Diego Díaz headshot, UC Davis faculty, and "Africanness in Action" book cover

The Society of Ethnomusicology recently recognized Juan Diego Diaz, associate professor of music, for his book Africanness in Action: Essentialism and Musical Imaginations of Africa in Brazil (2021), conferring honorary mentions in three prize categories:

  • Alan Merriam Prize — For the most distinguished English-language monograph in the field of ethnomusicology
  • Portia Maultsby Prize — For the most distinguished English-language monograph in the field of ethnomusicology, with a focus on African American music and/or music of the Black diaspora
  • Kwabena Nketia Prize (in the African and African Diasporic Music Section) — For the most distinguished book or monograph published over the previous three years on music of the African and African diaspora

The UC Davis Books Blog, a project of News and Media Relations, announces newly published books by faculty and staff authors, and awards and events related to books by faculty and staff authors. Contact the books blog by email.

Media Resources

Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556,; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932,

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