Sonja Lynn Downing (she/her/hers)

Blonde woman in 40s with gold earrings and a teal cowl neck top
Campus Address
Mursell House
Room 11
Conservatory of Music
Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology

I am an ethnomusicologist and a member of the Musicology Department. I am currently co-directing the Global Studies program, and an interim co-coordinator of academic advising. My research interests include Balinese gamelan music and dance, traditional music pedagogy, the intersection of gender and performance, and ecomusicology. My book Gamelan Girls: Gender, Childhood, and Politics in Balinese Music Ensembles 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, a grant from the Pacific Rim Research Program, and an internal travel grant from Lawrence. Its publication was supported by a grant from the Bruno Nettl Endowment for Ethnomusicology, and it was awarded an honorable mention for the Marcia Herndon Book Prize from the Gender and Sexualities Taskforce of the Society for Ethnomusicology.

I am grateful to have 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 I gave at the 2006 annual conference of the Society for Ethnomusicology. These are the Marcia Herndon Paper Award from the Gender and Sexualities Taskforce, and the Wong-Tolbert student paper prize from the Section on the Status of Women.

I love to play Balinese gamelan music, and have performed in the U.S. and in Bali with the American-based Gamelan Sekar Jaya, and have been a guest musician with one of the premier performing ensembles of Bali, Gamelan Çudamani. My husband I Dewa Ketut Alit Adnyana is a founding and touring member of Çudamani, teaching in its several educational programs for children. He now directs the student gamelan ensemble at Lawrence, and the gamelan groups of the Lawrence Community Music School.

Some of my courses include: Introduction to Musicologies I and II, The Performing Arts of Bali, Music and Globalization, Music and the Environment, Music of India, and Music of the Middle East. I have also taught introductory courses in the Global Studies and the Ethnic Studies programs.

Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara
M.M. in Flute Performance at the University of California, Santa Barbara
B.A. in music, with environmental studies minor, at Swarthmore College
Years at Lawrence