Paul Humphreys has composed a variety of works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, and voice, as well as for instruments of Japan, China, Indonesia, and Native North America. Research in ethnomusicology, performance in world music, and study of traditional oral narratives are decisive influences on the voice that emerges from his work. His approach often consists of "composing his way back" after a period of intensive involvement with a particular music culture. Before joining the music faculty at Loyola Marymount University in 1997, he taught at California State University, Northridge, California Institute for the Arts, and UCLA. In 1990 and 1991, he was invited to teach summer courses at the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo, Japan.
Humphreys has conducted field work in Ghana, Japan, and the Southwest Pueblo region of the United States. His publications have appeared in Perspectives of New Music, Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, and Proceedings of the International Musicological Society. He has also presented several papers that advocate the integrating of world music within the music theory curriculum. His degrees include the Ph.D. (1988) and M.A. (1985) from UCLA and B.M. (1976) from the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati. Teachers in composition include Scott Huston, Paul Cooper, Elsworth Milburn, Roy Travis, and Elaine Barkin. Lou Harrison is a long-time mentor and friend.
Among his works for European instruments, Three Musings of Kyekye for Piano Solo (2000) derives from studies in traditional Ghanaian xylophone, Toccata Walatowa (1992) draws upon fieldwork in the Southwest Indian Pueblos, and Cabeza de Vaca--A Ghost Play in the Style of Noh (1987) fashions a chamber opera from musical idioms of Native North America and performance conventions of the Japanese Noh theatre. Among his works for non-western instruments, Gending Agbekor (with I Dewa Berata, 2001) adapts a Ghanaian dance-drum genre to a setting for Balinese Gamelan Angklung, Konju no Ky˚ (1994) combines European with Japanese court music idioms and instruments, and Moonlight Quiet Highway (1982) calls for solo Chinese long-zither qin. Additional works include A Legend of Lao Tse, for mezzo soprano and piano (1998/2001), Faces of Navajo Changing Woman, for string quintet (1986/1996), Sonatina for solo piano (1984/1997), and Four Cahuilla Birdsongs for guitar duo (1980/86). Humphreys has been active--as a pianist, violinist, percussionist, qin player, and gamelan director--in bringing many of these works to performance.
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YR1H11 Ghanaian Proverbs...