Ingrid Monson

Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music, supported by the Time Warner Endowment
Ethnomusicology, Department Chair 2019-2022
Graduate Advisor in Ethnomusicology 
imonson@fas.harvard.edu

Chair’s Office: Music Building 104 S 617-495-9854
Professorial Office: Music Building 202 S 617-384-7740

Ingrid Monson is Quincy Jones Professor of African American music, supported by the Time Warner Endowment. She is a noted jazz scholar and ethnomusicologist with a lifelong interest in the relationships among music, race, aesthetics and politics. Her book Freedom Sounds: Civil Rights Calls Out to Jazz and Africa addresses these issues in the jazz world of the 1950s and 1960s. She is also author of Saying Something, which concerns the interactive and communal dimensions of jazz improvisation as a musical process.

Her articles have appeared in Critical InquiryEthnomusicologyJournal of the American Musicological Society, and many other venues. Monson has been awarded many honors including book awards from the Society for American Music and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, and a Stanford Humanities Center fellowship. She is director of the Jazz Initiative at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, which has overseen the acquisition of the archives of pianist Randy Weston in 2016, and the production of Timeless Dreams and Portraits: A Festival/Symposium in honor of Geri Allen in 2018.

Monson is a former chair of the Department of Music and served as an Interim Dean of Arts and Humanities.  Monson also served as an expert witness for the Marvin Gaye family in the high profile Blurred Lines copyright infringement case in 2015. Monson’s secondary interest is in the music of Mali, which has led to her forthcoming third book The Voice of Kendougou, about virtuosic Malian balafonist Neba Solo. Her next project addresses the history of copyright and economic inequality in African American music. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Musicology from New York University, her B.M. from New England Conservatory of Music, and her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Economics.