Graduate Students

David Aarons UWDavid Aarons
David Aarons is an Ethnomusicology MA student at the University of Washington’s School of Music. He hails from the island of Jamaica where he grew up playing the steelpan. He received a Master of Music degree in steel pan performance from Northern Illinois University in 2012, where he studied with professors Liam Teague and Cliff Alexis. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago in 2008. His research interests include music in the Caribbean and issues surrounding enculturation, identity and community.  He enjoys performing with, and arranging for various steelbands in his spare time.

Julia Day UWJulia Day
Julia Day is a doctoral student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. Her current research interests address the fluidity of popular music for creating transnational networks between populations in West Africa, Europe, and North America. She became interested in African popular music while living and working in Mali as a Peace Corps health educator. Julia has also studied the relationship between popular music and sociopolitical crisis in Côte d’Ivoire as well as West African immigrant communities in France and Canada. She is honored to have received four FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) fellowships from the UW Canada Center and the Graduate School International Boeing Fellowship to support her research. In the past, Julia has presented on the Gambian kora player Jali Nyama Suso, Malian ngoni virtuoso Bassekou Kouyaté, semiotics and the South African World Cup Anthems, popular music and crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, the Bollywood film music and dance scene in Portland, OR, and taiko in the Seattle Japanese American community.

Andre Elias UWAndre Elias
Andre Elias (guitar/voice) is an avid composer and performer of a variety of guitar styles (flamenco, classical, metal), of Indian Classical music (tabla, sitar, sarod, nagara), and of percussion from West-Africa, Cuba, and the Middle East. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington and concurrently completing an MA in the Jackson School of International Studies’ South Asia program. His research interests range from popular to classical music in India, Spain and the Americas. The areas of his academic focus include theoretical issues such as diasporic displacement, identity, metaphysics, spirituality, violence, nationalism, and cross-cultural pedagogical issues in music. In the last few years, he has spent a considerable amount of time traveling to South Asia and learning Indic languages for his dissertation research on traditions of Indian slide-guitar. With familial roots in California and Chile, Andre considers the west coast his home. He can be reached at Some recordings of his music are available at his Myspace page.

Hilary Johnson UWHilary Johnson 
Hilary Johnson, a graduate student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington’s School of Music, developed an early love for sounds. Born and raised in the Seattle area, her self-education in early MGM musicals and Ella Fitzgerald was supplemented by participation in the Seattle Girls’ Choir, and school jazz bands as a baritone saxophone player and vocalist.  At the University of Southern California, where she majored in Jazz Studies, she continued to perform and compose in the jazz idiom while exploring others as well—Brazilian samba, música popular brasileira, music in Québec, American roots music, and contemporary songwriting/production that fuses many genres. Her areas of interest include American roots music, contemporary styles that engage with those traditions, issues of ethnic/racial representation, and cultural nostalgia. She’s also particularly curious about subcultures of the “millennial generation” and postmodern identity formation. In 2013, Hilary presented her paper, “‘An Enchanting Place Apart’: Imagining Appalachia in Indie Folk,” at the SEM Northwest Chapter meeting and was awarded the Thelma Adamson Prize for best student presentation.

Joe Kinzer UWJoe Kinzer
Joe Kinzer is an Ethnomusicology PhD student in the School of Music at the University of Washington. In 2012 he received his M.M. degree from Northern Illinois University with a concentration in Ethnomusicology and Southeast Asian Studies. For his dissertation he plans to explore the performance of tradition and heritage in contemporary Malaysian institutional settings, such as arts conservatories and ministries of culture. He has conducted previous research in Malaysia for his master’s thesis titled, “Making the Other Relevant: Performing Identity through Expected Sounds in Metropolitan Malaysia.” His most valued experience in academia thus far has been the opportunity to create and pilot his own “world music” section of the Introduction to Music course at NIU under his advisor Dr. Jui-Ching Wang. Joe also holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Religious Studies, plays guitar in his free time, and is learning the oud with an interest toward its uses in muzik Melayu (Malay musics).

Bonnie McConnell UWBonnie McConnell
Bonnie McConnell is a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. Her dissertation focuses on music and health in The Gambia, bringing together perspectives from medical ethnomusicology, global health and development, and performance theory. She has received awards from the Fulbright-Hays Program (2012-2013), the University of Washington Chester Fritz Endowment (2010), and the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Program for her research in Africa. In addition to her background in music education and ethnomusicology, her research is informed by four years working as a health educator in Tanzania and The Gambia. Bonnie completed the University of Washington’s Graduate Certificate in Public Health in 2011 with a focus on HIV/AIDS communication in Senegal. She has taught courses on popular music at the University of Washington and worked for two years in the Ethnomusicology Archive. Bonnie has performance experience in the areas of Senegambian Mandinka music, the Dagarti gyil xylophone from Ghana, Wagogo music from Tanzania, and Venda music from South Africa. She has also performed as keyboardist with a Gambian dance band dedicated to health education through performance. She has conducted research on music in The Gambia, Senegal, Tanzania, Senegal, Ghana, Canada and the United States.

James B Morford UWJames B. Morford
James B. Morford is a Ph.D. student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington’s School of Music. His research interests include music in West Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States. He earned a B.S. in Physics from the University of Maryland, as well as a B.M. and M.M. in Music Education from West Virginia University. While at the University of Washington, he has participated in a variety of academic and performance-based courses, and has published work on community music and intertribal Native American music . He is an active participant in West African drum and dance classes in Seattle.

Peter Joon Park UWPeter Joon Park
Peter Joon Park is a Ph.D. Candidate currently completing his dissertation about Korean p’ungmul gut (percussion music rituals) and the integration of traditions with modern identities. A second-generation Korean Canadian, he has performed and recorded Korean traditional music in Canada, USA, and South Korea since 1995. He teaches Korean percussion to music educators as part of the Smithsonian Folkways Certification Course in World Music Pedagogy, and to middle and high school students in the Edmonds School District’s Summer Music School.

He has taught Korean gayagŭm (12-string zither) and janggu (hourglass drum) at UW and was a Teaching Assistant for Music Cultures of Asia. As part of a paid internship at Northwest Folklife, he produced a CD called Han Madang: Musical Traditions of Korea, which features recordings from the UW Ethnomusicology Archives. In his master’s thesis (for MA in Ethnomusicology from UW), he examined the connections between Korean shaman ritual music and court music.

He also taught Indonesian gamelan music at Seattle Pacific University and Pacific Lutheran University, and performed with Gamelan Pacifica and Gamelan Northwest for several years. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with a concentration in Computer Science from UW.

Leah Pogwizd UWLeah Pogwizd
Leah Pogwizd is a Ph.D. candidate in Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington’s School of Music. Her dissertation research focuses on relationships between gender, race, and notions of musical authenticity among instrumentalists in the U.S. Her other research interests include sample-based popular music, belly dance in U.S. popular culture, and musical technology. She received a B.M. in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas and an M.A. in Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. From 2007-2009, she studied Morin Khuur (Mongolian Horse-Head Fiddle) with UW visiting artist Li Bo. She has taught a variety of music courses at the UW, including American Popular Song, American Folk Music, and Jazz History. In 2010, she was awarded the Huckabay Teaching Fellowship which allowed her to design and develop a course that she eventually taught in Fall Quarter, 2011 as MUSIC 270: World Popular Music. She continues to perform as a bassist in the Seattle, WA area.