Published: March 8, 2023 By

World music ensemblesFor three decades and counting, CU Boulder world music ensembles highlight the various musical traditions from cultures around the world, showcasing the College of Music’s global music community.

“These ensembles broaden the scope of learning for our students, offering a hands-on, participatory way of learning about the music of other cultures—for both music majors and other majors from around campus,” shares Jay Keister, associate professor of ethnomusicology and co-director of our Japanese Traditional Music Ensemble. 

Specifically, our world music ensembles explore artistic identity, intercultural collaboration, global pedagogy and multidisciplinary approaches to music-making at the College of Music. Keister notes that the program was developed in the early 1990s by Professor of Ethnomusicology Brenda Romero, who is now retired.

“One of the first ensembles created was the Balinese Gamelan Ensemble, soon followed by Latin American Ensemble, African Ensemble and Japanese Ensemble—all of which continue to be offered today,” adds Keister. 

Not only do the world music ensembles foster diversity at the College of Music through their content, but almost all of the ensembles are taught by faculty of the cultures they represent: The African Ensemble is taught by Maputo Mensah of Ghana; the Gamelan Ensemble is taught by I Made Lasmawan of Indonesia; and the Japanese Ensemble is taught by Mami Itasaka of Japan.

Check out upcoming world music events, including:

  • CU Boulder Latin American Ensemble
    Saturday, April 8, 2 p.m., Grusin Music Hall
  • CU Boulder West African Highlife Ensemble
    Saturday, April 8, 7:30 p.m., Grusin Music Hall