Louis Armstrong Visiting Professorship
The Louis Armstrong Professorship is the highest honor the Center for Jazz Studies can offer to a scholar of exceptional innovation and erudition.
Recent Louis Armstrong Visiting Professors
UK-born Gwen Ansell will be the Louis Armstrong Professor for Fall 2008. Professor Ansell settled in South Africa in 1991, after working as an educator, writer and media consultant in Britain, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. For the past quarter-century, she has also been promoting and writing about jazz, particularly South African jazz. A former editor of various African regional development magazines and former Director of Johannesburg’s Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, Ansell is currently a freelance media trainer and jazz correspondent for South African newspapers Business Day and The Weekender. She is the author of several media education textbooks and of Soweto Blues: Jazz, popular music and politics in South Africa (Continuum 2004), and has established South Africa’s first jazz journalism training courses.
Dr. Wolfram Knauer was the Louis Armstrong Visiting Professor at Columbia University for Spring 2008, and the first scholar from outside the United States to hold this position. Dr. Knauer is the director of the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt (www.jazzinstitut.de ), Europe’s largest public jazz archive. Dr. Knauer holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Kiel University, where he also studied English and American literature, art history, and sociology. Dr. Knauer regularly organizes the Darmstadt Jazzforum, an international conference on jazz. His scholarly credits include several books on jazz (among them the scholarly Darmstädter Beiträge zur Jazzforschung, the tenth volume of which, The World Meets Jazz, will be published in 2008) as well as numerous essays in German, American and international books and scholarly journals. He serves on numerous international advisory boards, including the Center for Black Music Research and the Goethe-Institut. For his achievements in establishing the Jazzinstitut Darmstadt as an internationally acclaimed information and documentation center on jazz Knauer was awarded the prestigious Hesse Jazz Award 2002.
William Lowe, Fall 2007’s Louis Armstrong Professor, is the co-leader of the Bill Lowe/Philippe Crettien Quintet. Professor Lowe is a performer, composer and educator whose recordings include work with Muhal Richard Abrams, Henry Threadgill, Frank Foster, and James Jabbo Ware and the Me, We and Them Orchestra. Lowe has toured and performed with a veritable Who’s Who in Jazz, including Cecil Taylor, Makanda Ken McIntire, Sam Rivers, Dizzy Gillespie, Eartha Kitt, Clark Terry, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Slide Hampton, Bill Barron, George Russell, Bill Dixon, Jaki Byard, Archie Shepp, and Mercer Ellington. Prof. Lowe’s present research activity in American Studies includes work with contemporary science fiction writing, African American intellectual history, New World aesthetics, and popular culture theory, as well as the Bill Barron Biography Project. Lowe’s “Paying Dues Towards An African American Aesthetic: An Autobiographical Essay” was published in “The Triumph Of The Soul: Cultural and Psychological Aspects of African American Music” (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2000).
Laura Johnson, the Louis Armstrong Professor for Fall 2006 and Summer 2007, is a jazz and music education administrator based in New York City. Professor Johnson currently serves as Executive Producer for Jazz at Lincoln Center, overseeing its Frederick P. Rose Hall programming, special initiatives, media projects, and collaborations with other arts organizations, in conjunction with artistic director Wynton Marsalis since March 2007. Until 2005 she served as Vice President of Education for Jazz at Lincoln Center, where she founded its education department in 1995 and created such programs as the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival; Jazz for Young People curriculum and concerts; classes and workshops for people of all ages; and publication of print music and educational materials.
From 2005 to 2007, she served as a consultant for clients including the Wallace Foundation Arts Learning Initiative at the Center for Arts Education-NYC, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, Wharton Center at Michigan State University, Jazz Museum of Harlem, and All Souls at Sundown jazz and poetry series. Previously the founding Director of Education for the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and Director of Touring and Education for The Minnesota Opera, Johnson has also taught and performed vocal music and musical theater. She holds a bachelors degree in music education, and is a native of Iowa.
The Louis Armstrong Visiting Professorship brings the most dynamic and innovative scholars working in jazz studies today to the Columbia classroom, and the courses taught by these professors fully reflect that dynamism:
Topics in Jazz Studies: South African Jazz
Spring 2008: Wolfram Knauer
Jazz in Europe - European Jazz
Fall 2007: William Lowe
Seminar in Jazz Studies: I’ll Jazz You on the Radio
Summer 2007: Laura Johnson
Jazz as a Model of Teaching and Organization
Spring 2007: Brent Hayes Edwards
Jazz and the Literary Imagination
Fall 2006: Laura Johnson
Jazz in the K-12 Curriculum
2005-2006: John Szwed
Jazz and Film
Gender, Race and Jazz
Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies
2003-2004: John Szwed
“The New Thing”: Jazz 1955-1980 and Beyond
Historiography of Early Jazz
Jazz, Improvisation, and American Culture
The World of Duke Ellington
2001-2002: Robin D.G. Kelley
Jazz and the Political Imagination