Associate Professor of Music

Sonja DowningSonja Lynn Downing received her Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  She holds her Master of Music degree in Flute Performance from UCSB, and a B.A. in Music from Swarthmore College.  Her research interests include Balinese gamelan music, traditional music pedagogy, and the intersection of gender and performance.  Her dissertation explores socio-musical and pedagogical changes due to the recent emergence of all-girls and mixed gender children’s traditional gamelan music ensembles in Bali, Indonesia.  This research was supported by a Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award and a grant from the Pacific Rim Research Program.

Dr. Downing has received two awards from sections of the Society for Ethnomusicology for her presentation “Embodied Learning of Music and Gender in Balinese Children’s Gamelans,” which she gave at the 2006 annual conference of the Society for Ethnomusicology.  These are the Marcia Herndon Award from the Gender and Sexualities Taskforce, and the Wong-Tolbert student paper prize from the Section on the Status of Women. Dr. Downing’s forthcoming book, Gamelan Girls: Gender, Children, and Politics in Balinese Music Ensembles, is scheduled to be published by the University of Illinois Press in 2019.

Dr. Downing has performed in the U.S. and in Bali with the American-based Gamelan Sekar Jaya, and has been a guest musician with one of the premier performing ensembles of Bali, Gamelan Çudamani.  Her husband I Dewa Ketut Alit Adnyana is a founding and touring member of Çudamani, and teaches in its several educational programs for children.

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