Nancy Guy

Integrative Studies

  Phone: 858/534-8875
Off: CPMC 242

Nancy Guy is an ethnomusicologist specializing in the musics of Taiwan and China. Her first book, Peking Opera and Politics in Taiwan (University of Illinois Press, 2005) tells the story of a performance tradition caught in a sea of ideological ebbs and flows. Guy demonstrates the importance of the political environment for an art form's development, ranging from determining small musical details (such as how a melody can or cannot be sung) to whether or not a tradition ultimately thrives or withers away. Peking Opera and Politics in Taiwan won the ASCAP Béla Bartók Award for Excellence in Ethnomusicology; it was also named an "Outstanding Academic Title for 2006" by Choice, the review magazine of the Association for College and Research Libraries.

Recently, Guy has turned her scholarly interest to Western opera. Specifically, she is writing a book on the artistry and appeal of American soprano and cultural icon Beverly Sills (1929-2007). With this ethnographically-based work she explores the issues of presence, flow (as theorized by Csikszentmihalyi and Turner), and dynamism in the moment of performance; the phenomenon of fandom; and class tension surrounding opera's place in the American cultural hierarchy. Guy has presented aspects of her Sills work at the annual meetings of the Society for Ethnomusicology (Mexico City, 2009), the Society for American Music (Cincinnati, 2010), and the American Musicological Society (San Francisco, 2011). Her Sills research has been the subject of her recent invited research talks at UCLA (2010), University of Maryland, College Park (2010), National Taiwan University (2011), and the University of Southern California (2012). In 2011, Guy delivered the Keynote Speech at the annual meeting of the Taiwan Musicology Forum in Hsinchu, Taiwan, with a talk titled "Magic in Performance: Beverly Sills as a Case Study."

Guy has an ongoing interest in the ecocritical study of music. With the support of a Fulbright Scholar Grant, she spent the 2002-03 academic year conducting research in Taiwan, where she developed a project focusing on music, place, and the physical environment. She published some of the results of this research in an article titled "Flowing down Taiwan's Tamsui River: Towards an Ecomusicology of the Environmental Imagination" in the spring/summer 2009 issue of Ethnomusicology, the flagship journal of the Society for Ethnomusicology. The Association for Chinese Music Research awarded this article the 2010 Rulan Chao Pian Publication Prize for the best English-language article on Chinese music published in the previous year.

Guy's other scholarly work appears in TDR: The Drama Review (2008), Ethnomusicology (1999 and 2002), Perfect Beat (2001), Asian Theatre Journal (1990 and 1995), ACMR Reports (1998 and 2000), Comparative Drama (2001/2002), and Zhongguo Yishu Yanjiuyuan Yanjiushengbu (Graduate School Academic Journal of the Academy of Arts of China, Beijing, 1993). Her essay "Trafficking in Taiwan Aboriginal Voices" appears in Handle with Care: Ownership and Control of Ethnographic Materials (edited by Sjoerd R. Jaarsma, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002), with an updated and revised version, "Trafficking in Taiwan Aboriginal Voices Revisited," published in Reading Chinese Music and Beyond (edited by Joys H. Y. Cheung and King Chung Wong, Chinese Civilisation Centre, City University of Hong Kong, 2010). Guy has also contributed articles to key reference volumes including the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (revised edition), the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (East Asia volume), and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance. In addition to two Fulbright grants (1991-92, 2002-03), her field research in Taiwan has been supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the Republic of China Ministry of Education, and the UC San Diego Academic Senate, Committee on Research. Other awards include fellowships from the American Musicological Society (AMS 50 Dissertation Fellowship), Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Taiwan-based Koo's Foundation, and the Hsio-De Foundation.

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