Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. is the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Music and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. A widely published writer, he is the author of Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop (University of California Press, 2003). It was named outstanding book of the year by the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. He has recently released The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History and the Challenge of Bebop (2013). His next two books, a survey titled Twist and Shout: African American Music in Time, Place and Contexts, (a historical survey from slavery to the present) and Who Hears Here? Drastic Interpretations on Black Music, History and Society, a mid-career collection of essays are both forthcoming from the University of California Press. He was recipient of the Lowens Award from the Society for American Music for best article on an American music topic in 2001.
Ramsey received his doctorate in musicology from the University of Michigan and taught at Tufts University before joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 1998. He was a Thurgood Marshall Dissertation Fellow at Dartmouth College, a DuBois Institute Fellow at Harvard University, and has held visiting professorships at Princeton University and Harvard University.
He is a pianist, composer and arranger for his Philadelphia-based band, Dr. Guy’s MusiQology. In 2007 the group released a CD titled Y the Q? and in 2012 he released The Colored Waiting Room, a recording of original music blending jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel, neo-soul, and classical.
Among his recent work is “Someone Is Listening,” a commission (written with Barack Obama’s inaugural poet, Dr. Elizabeth Alexander) commemorating the 100th anniversary of the NAACP. He co-curated the 2010 exhibition Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institute. Ramsey was also creative consultant and librettist for Ramsey Lewis’ A Proclamation of Hope: A Symphonic Poem, which premiered in 2009. His three-movement suite for voice and jazz ensemble, Art Songs in the Kingdom of Culture, premiered in February 2012 was written in tribute to W.E.B. Du Bois. Other work includes, essays in the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial Catalogue, the New Grove Dictionary of American Music, EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art, CNN.com, and several short films related to the Colored Waiting Room project. Ramsey is the founder and editor of the popular blog, Musiqology.com, which takes on musical issues of the day and was read globally by 85,000 people last year.