UH Board of Regents approve the naming of ethnomusicology wing of music complex at UH Manoa in honor of Barbara Smith

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Jim Manke, (808) 956-6099
Chancellor's Office
Mia Noguchi, (808) 956-9095
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Dec 16, 2005

HONOLULU, Hawaiʻi — At a special meeting held yesterday at the University of Hawaiʻi‘s Mānoa campus, the UH Board of Regents (BOR) approved the naming of the ethnomusicology wing of the music complex at Mānoa in honor of Barbara Smith. Professor Smith is a retired faculty member of the Music Department who began her career, specializing in ethnomusicology, at UH in 1949 and retired in 1982. From the beginning of her career, she was enthusiastically open to Hawaiʻi‘s multicultural environment and immersed herself in the musical traditions of Hawaiʻi‘s people.

She took up the Japanese koto in 1955, made research trips around the Pacific, published widely on Pacific subjects and became a world leader in her then emerging field. In retirement, she has continued to lecture, take part in conferences, serve on thesis committees, attend concerts, and work with students.Smith has explored the curriculum of a conservatory in Inner Mongolia and continues to be an active scholar showered with honors. In 2000, the Eastman School of Music awarded her the George Eastman medal. She has also completed and published Dorothy Kahanani Gillett‘s magnum opus, The Queen's Songbook. This beautiful collection of Queen Liliʻuokalani‘s songs has been performed both within and outside of the State to rave reviews. In the same year, she also received an award from the Commission on Culture and the Arts of the City and County of Honolulu. She was also the only non-dancer to receive an award from the Hawaiʻi State Dance Council.In 2001, the University of Sydney published a festschrift in her honor as she retired after 18 years, as Chair of the Study Group on Music of Oceania, part of the International Council for Traditional Music. She was also awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Pomona College. In 2002, the East Asia volume she helped edit of the monumental Garland Encyclopedia of World Music was published. Smith‘s significance in the field of ethnomusicology comes not only from her impressive research but also from her widespread influence as an inspiring and devoted educator. Many of her students are now important researchers and teachers in their own right. With Dorothy Gillett, she introduced to the UH Music Department curriculum performance classes in Hawaiian chant and hula. She spearheaded the establishment of the master‘s program in ethnomusicology in 1962 (one of the earliest in the nation). The international prominence of ethnomusicology at the University of Hawaiʻi stems in large part from Smith‘s vision, foresight and her unstinting generosity in the sharing of her vast knowledge."Dr. Smith‘s seminal contributions to the field of ethnomusicology are world renowned, and her contribution to the revitalization of ethnic and indigenous cultures through recognition of their unique forms of music is an inspiration to us all. This recognition is most appropriate." said UH Interim President David McClainNaming of the ethnomusicology wing of the music building on the Mānoa campus was approved in accordance with the revised BOR policy that allows buildings to be named for living individuals in exceptional circumstances. About the University of Hawaiʻi
Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the University of Hawaiʻi is the state‘s sole public system of higher education. The UH System provides an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and community programs on 10 campuses and through educational, training, and research centers across the state. UH enrolls more than 50,000 students from Hawaiʻi, the U.S. mainland, and around the world. For more information, visit www.hawaii.edu.