Helen Rees

Professor and Director of World Musical Instruments


Music of China; ritual music; biography; ecomusicology; intangible cultural heritage policy and practice in East Asia; transmission and performance of Asian musics overseas

Ph.D. Music, University of Pittsburgh; B.A. Chinese, Oxford University, England; diplomas in flute teaching (Royal College of Music, London), baroque flute performance (Trinity College, London), and recorder teaching and performance (Trinity College, London)  

Helen Rees has conducted extensive fieldwork on ritual music, music and tourism, and musicians' lives in southwest China and Shanghai. Her work on Chinese music has resulted in the book Echoes of History: Naxi Music in Modern China (Oxford University Press, 2000), the edited essay volume Lives in Chinese Music (University of Illinois Press, 2009), numerous articles in English- and Chinese-language journals, and several collaborative AV projects; she was also co-editor of Understanding Charles Seeger, Pioneer in American Musicology (University of Illinois Press, 1999). In addition, she is active as an interpreter, translator and presenter for Chinese musicians touring overseas, most recently for the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.