Richard K. Wolf, assistant professor of music at Harvard University, has devoted his career to the interdisciplinary study of south Asian musical traditions. His work has analyzed notions of “style” in south Indian classical music, explored affect and meaning in ritual, and addressed problems in rhythm. “The Black Cow’s Footprint: Time, Place, and Music in a South Indian Tribe,” Wolf’s recently completed book manuscript, explores human orientation in time and space, using as points of departure musical style, changing calendrical systems, and ritually articulated orientations toward the past.
At Radcliffe, Wolf will prepare a book manuscript about ritual drumming traditions and the meanings they create, support, and challenge. Based on research in India and Pakistan, the book will probe the emotional, political, and religious ambiguities of ritual drumming in three settings: Muharram, Sufi worship, and funerals. It will also explore commonalities in local musical conceptions of drum patterns that inform broader understandings of south Asia as a musical region.
Wolf received his PhD in music from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. His grants include an international and area studies fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies/Social Science Research Council/National Endowment for the Humanities (which he will hold as a Radcliffe fellow), an NEH summer stipend, and an American Institute of Pakistan Studies postdoctoral grant. A Fulbright scholar and an American Institute of Indian Studies grantee, Wolf was also awarded a Jon Higgins Memorial Scholarship by Raga Mala Performing Arts of Canada for his expertise in performing the south Indian vina.