Ingrid Monson is the Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music at Harvard University, where she has served as interim dean of arts and humanities and chair of the Department of Music. Monson, who began her career as a trumpet player, specializes in jazz, African American music, and music of the African diaspora and has recently been studying contemporary Senufo balafon.
Monson’s current project is “Kenedougou Visions,” a book about Neba Solo, a balafonist and composer from Mali. The book employs biographical, historical, musical, and social lenses to illuminate the artist’s social positioning.
Monson is the author of Freedom Sounds: Civil Rights Call Out to Jazz and Africa (Oxford University Press, 2007), winner of the Woody Guthrie Award of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, and Saying Something: Jazz Improvisation and Interaction (University of Chicago Press, 1996), winner of the Irving Lowens Book Award of the Society for American Music, and the editor of The African Diaspora: A Musical Perspective (Garland, 2000). She has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Marta Sutton Weeks Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, and a Walter Channing Cabot Fellow. Monson’s articles have appeared in the Black Music Research Journal, Critical Inquiry, Ethnomusicology, the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, and several edited volumes. Monson earned her PhD and MA in musicology from New York University.