“Too Many Words—Not Enough Music”
Ethnomusicologist Charlotte Heth presents a lecture celebrating music that promotes excellence, variety, artistry, and enrichment. In her talk Professor Heth recognizes cultural values, tolerance, and courage in what some have called our “post-fact” society, drawing on examples from musics of the world with an emphasis on American Indian music.
As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, I began my primary research in Oklahoma Cherokee music and music of surrounding tribal groups, particularly those tribes who originated in the Southeastern area of the U.S. I have continued researching, doing applied work in, and publishing on American Indian music, ethnomusicology, dance, education, musical instruments, and other American Indian topics.
In my early years of teaching, I was a secondary school teacher in rural Oklahoma and rural New Mexico. I joined the Peace Corps in 1962 and was sent to Ethiopia in the first group where I taught English and organized a music club. After returning to the U.S. I moved to California and taught in Los Angeles County public schools of 6 years. After completing my Ph.D. in ethnomusicology, I taught at UCLA for 20 years, at Cornell University for 2+ years.
I joined the National Museum of the American Indian in 1994 as Assistant Director for Public Programs. I oversaw exhibits, publications, education, community outreach, the artists in residence program, and the Heye Center in New York City. Eventually, I could get good managers for all the programs, and retired at the end of 1999.
My most demanding job was consulting on the building of the NMAI. I worked with the architects, designers, and community consultants for my entire 5 years at the museum. I got to make major decisions concerning all the public spaces and the theater. It was both daunting and rewarding.
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