Published: October 6, 2014

The Taichi Traditional Music Award was given to Distinguished Professor Emeritus Anthony Seeger on September 25, 2014 at an awards ceremony at the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing.  This award, which includes a stipend of US$100,000, is granted every two years to an individual or group from anywhere in the world that has made “outstanding and original contributions towards the performance, transmission, theoretical study, and dissemination of traditional music."  It gives special attention to nominees who have made “creative contributions towards rescuing, protecting, re-discovering, or re-constructing traditional music on the verge of extinction.”

This year there was one awardee and two finalists. The finalists were Dr. Dietrich Schüller and the Vienna Phonogrammarchiv (the oldest audio archive in the world), and The Propaganda Team of Blind People from Zuoquan County, Shanxi, People’s Republic of China. This group was founded in 1938 to spread anti-Japanese propaganda in rural regions and today is a social organization that that includes cultural activities and music, education and mutual aid among the blind. It has provided residences for the blind performers who have carried on performing their traditional stories and songs.

Dr. Seeger was given the award for his extensive research and publications on the music of Brazilian Indians, his directorship of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings at the Smithsonian Institution (1988-2000), his preservation of musical recordings as director of three audiovisual archives, and his work with the UNESCO-affiliated International Council for Traditional music.

The 2012 awardees were Ravi Shankar for performance; a small-village farmer, Lin Zhongshu, for his transmission of a local musical tradition; a modern adaptation of the old opera, Peony Pavilion, for young audiences created by Chinese scholar Kenneth Hsien-yung Pai; and the ethnomusicologist Bruno Nettl.







Anthony Seeger is Distinguished Professor of Ethnomusicology, Emeritus, at UCLA and Director Emeritus, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Smithsonian Institution. He resides in Annapolis, Maryland, USA.

Anthony Seeger