Ethnomusicologist receives prestigious Koizumi Fumio Prize

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Frederick C Lau, (808) 956-2177
Director, Center for Chinese Studies
Posted: May 6, 2010

Barbara B. Smith
Barbara B. Smith
Barbara B. Smith, UH Mānoa ethnomusicologist and professor emerita, has been named one of two recipients of the prestigious 21st annual Koizumi Fumio Prize for 2009. The annual prize was established by the estate of the late Japanese ethnomusicologist Koizumi Fumio to honor outstanding colleagues in the field throughout the world. The prize will be presented during a ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, on May 27, 2010.
Smith is honored “in recognition of her long-term contributions through research and education to the knowledge and understanding of the musics and the peoples of Asia and the Pacific in both academic and lay communities.” One of the American pioneers in the field, Smith founded the ethnomusicology program at UH Mānoa in 1960. She established the practice of drawing upon local community expertise. Two of her earliest community colleagues were Kay Mikami for Japanese koto and Ka‘upena Wong for Hawaiian mele kahiko (ancient music and dance). The ethnomusicology program has grown in both regular faculty and lecturers in Asian Pacific performance traditions from the community. The program currently offers MA and PhD degrees in the field.
In 1972, Smith developed and edited a signal education resource for world music—an entire issue of the Journal of the Music Educators National Conference which reached K-12 educators and classroom teachers nationwide. The resource was later re-issued as a book.   Beginning in the 1960's, she undertook one of the first systematic field research and music collection efforts among various cultures in Micronesia. Her current project is repatriating sound recordings collected a half century ago to cultural institutions in Micronesia for local use.
Through her many accomplishments, Smith has brought local and international recognition to UH Mānoa and its ethnomusicology program. Community recognition includes the 1969 Governor’s Award for Preservation of Hawaiian Language and Culture, a 1983 recognition by the City and County of Honolulu as a “pioneer,” the 2007 Honpa Hongwanji Living Treasures Award and the 2008 Governor’s Award for Distinguished Achievement in Culture, Arts and Humanities. In 1986, the Society for Ethnomusicology honored Smith as its Charles Seeger Lecturer and in 2001, Smith’s international colleagues produced a Festschrift published by the University of Sydney (Australia) to celebrate her many contributions.
The second recipient for the 2009 Prize is professor Joseph Jordania of the University of Melbourne (Australia) and the Tbilisi State Conservatory (Republic of Georgia).