Director of Undergraduate Studies; Director, Near East Ensemble
A. J. Racy is a performer, composer and professor of ethnomusicology at the University of California at Los Angeles. Born in Lebanon, he comes from a well-known family of artists, scholars, and academicians. Racy is internationally recognized for his extraordinary musicianship and his numerous publications, including his award-winning book, Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab (Cambridge University Press, 2003). He is a master of many traditional instruments, particularly the nay, a reed-flute, and the buzuq, a long-necked fretted lute.
Racy has performed extensively in Lebanon and has appeared in major U.S. theaters such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Hollywood Bowl and at international venues, including the Beiteddine Festival in Lebanon, and the Commonwealth Institute in London. He has composed and performed for the Kronos Quartet and the Sacramento Symphony Orchestra, as well as for feature and documentary films. His music has been released on a number of CDs including three Lyrichord albums, Ancient Egypt, Taqasim, and Mystical Legacies, and on a Kronos Quartet release titled Caravan. Dr. Racy is the recipient of numerous honors and tributes from a variety of cultural institutions for his outstanding artistry and his continuous work toward greater intercultural understanding and cooperation.
Music of the Middle East; mode; improvisation; ethnomusicological theory; organology; trance-ecstasy; laments; Orientalism
Ph.D. Musicology (specialization in Ethnomusicology), University of Illinois; M.M. University of Illinois