Helen Rees Bio
Professor, Ethnomusicology, and Director of the World Musical Instrument Collection
Music of China; music and politics in East Asia; ritual music in Yunnan Province, China.
Ph.D. Music, University of Pittsburgh; M.A., Oxford University, England; 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 and tourist music of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in the southwest region of China, focusing on the Naxi ethnic minority and the Han ethnic majority. Her work on Chinese music has resulted in the book Echoes of History: Naxi Music in Modern China (Oxford University Press, 2000), and in the edited essay volume Lives in Chinese Music (University of Illinois Press, 2009); she was also co-editor of Understanding Charles Seeger, Pioneer in American Musicology (University of Illinois Press, 1999). In addition to research, publication, and performance with several Chinese music ensembles, Rees is also very active as an interpreter, translator, and presenter for Chinese scholars and musicians visiting the West, most recently for the Amsterdam China Festival (2005) and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival (2007). In spring 2008, she was a visiting professor at the Music College of the Yunnan Art Institute in Kunming, China, teaching classes on world music and musical ethnography.