Lecture: Robert O. Beahrs (University of Pittsburgh)


February 20, 2015 - 4:00pm

Postdoctoral Fellow Robert O. Beahrs will present a paper titled “Ideologies of Nomadism in Post-Soviet Tuva’s Traditional Music Scenes.” This paper, which flows from ten years of dissertation research, explores a theory of musical sensibility for understanding traditional music in Tuva, a republic in Russia’s south-central Siberian region. Beahrs shows how Tuvan xöömeizhi (master throat-singers) express a revitalized nomadic sensibility through their xöömei (throat-singing) practices, which has come to operate both as an ideology and a disposition for Tuvan traditional music in the post-Soviet era. Drawing on a selective use of history, cultural memory, and natural environments, post-Soviet xöömeizhi construct a nomadic sensibility that is embodied in music and sound-making activities, foregrounded in intercultural exchanges, and circulated globally as a social disposition. 

Robert O. Beahrs is a sound artist, vocalist, and ethnomusicologist (PhD 2014, UC Berkeley) currently working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Music at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Beahrs’ research focuses on post-Soviet revitalization of traditional music and expressive sound-making practices in Turkic Siberia and Mongolia. His fieldwork in the Tuva Republic (Russia), Mongolia, Europe, and the United States has been supported by a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, an American Councils Title VIII Research Fellowship, an IIE Graduate Fellowship for International Research, and a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Robbie actively sings, composes music, performs live sound art for theater/dance, and gives workshops in Tuvan throat-singing and extended vocal techniques.

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