Thomas George Caracas Garcia - Ethnomusicology
Office: 239 CPA
Thomas George Caracas Garcia, ethnomusicologist/musicologist, guitarist and lutenist, is an associate professor of ethnomusicology and Latin American Studies at Miami University (Ohio). He previously served on the faculties of the University of West Georgia and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He received his Ph.D. in Performance Practice from Duke University, where he studied with John Druesedow and Peter Williams. He has also received a Master's degree in musicology from UMASS, where he studied with the violinist Charles Treger, and has performance degrees from the Juilliard School as well. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including a Duke Endowment Fellowship and several Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships (for research in Portuguese), as well as grants from the Tinker and Mellon Foundations, and, most recently, Faculty Research Grants from Miami University, the Miami University Dolibois European Campus, the University of Massachusetts and the University of West Georgia. He is the recipient of two Excellence in Teaching awards from UMASS, as well as Certificate of Appreciation for Artistic Contributions to the Education of West Point Cadets Enrolled in Spanish and Portuguese. Dr. Garcia has presented research in national and international conferences of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Popular Culture Association, the Brazilian Studies Association, the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, and the 1st International Villa-Lobos Conference, among many others. His publications include articles on guitar history and Brazilian music in Luso-Brazilian Review, The Journal of Popular Culture and Stagebill Magazine, among others, as well as book chapters and numerous encyclopedia articles. Additionally, he is a former editor of the Lute Society Quarterly, and is the North American contributor to Roda de Choro magazine. Dr. Garcia’s recent book entitled Choro: A Social History of a Brazilian Popular Music (with Tamara Livingston-Isenhour, Indiana University Press), which explores the history and performance practice of this Brazilian urban popular genre, was published in July of 2005 (see reviews below).
Dr. Garcia is an active solo and chamber music performer, specializing in Brazilian music. He has performed throughout the United States and Brazil, and has appeared in recital in Alice Tully Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York. He has been heard in recital on WKCR-FM and WBAI-FM New York and in chamber music at CAMI Hall and Carnegie Hall, and made his New York debut in 1987 with flutist Amy Porter (Porter/Garcia Duo) at Carnegie Recital Hall as winners of the Artists International Competition Chamber Music Prize (1986). He has performed with the Atlanta Chamber Players and Continuum (a modern music orchestra) among numerous other chamber ensembles. He was also the opening act for Bob Dylan during his 1988 national tour. He spends several months each year in Brazil, performing both in concert settings and in traditional popular music settings and continuing his research on Brazilian music, including solo recitals at the Villa-Lobos Museum and the Museum of the Republic in Rio de Janeiro, at the Federal University and Rádio Universitário of Goiania, in Brasília at the Casa Thomas Jefferson as well live on Brasília Cultural Radio, and nationally on TV Senado, Brazil. He has been in residence several times at the Villa-Lobos Museum. He recently lectured and gave recitals of Brazilian music for the new Portuguese Language School at Middlebury College in Vermont, was artist in residence at Mississippi State University’s Brazilian Music Festival, and has lectured on Brazilian popular music and culture and performed at universities throughout the United States and Brazil, most recently at Northwestern University and the University of New Hampshire. In addition to performing on guitar, Dr. Garcia performs regularly on lute and Latin American folk guitars. Also an accomplished tubist, he served as principal tuba in the National Orchestra of New York and has performed with the Canadian Brass Quintet in Carnegie Hall.
During the 2008-2009 academic year, Dr. Garcia has an appointment as Professor of Fine Arts at the Miami University Dolibois European Campus in Differdange, Luxembourg, where he will teach courses on the ethnomusicology of European music and African-American music in Europe.
Reviews of Choro: A Social History of a Brazilian Popular Music by Tamara Elena Livingston-Isenhour and Thomas George Caracas Garcia (Bloomington: Indian University Press, 2005).
“This great book about the distinctive Brazilian instrumental music known as choro is exceptional for various reasons. Written accessibly for a broad public, it’s the first
book I have ever come across written by two scholars, who … decided when it came to publishing to combine their knowledge and wisdom rather than write two competing books. They do so with great fluency, working together to create one coherent voice rather than writing separate chapters. And perhaps unintentionally in this way they underscore the core values of the choro music they write about, which is all about creating beauty by working fluently together. The author’s resulting social history of choro makes for a delightfully satisfying read… it will prove extraordinarily useful to anyone teaching courses on popular or classical musics, never mind world or South American musics. And of course it will appeal to anyone interested in Brazilian music who will surely find it both engaging and fascinating… With pertinent musical analysis and archival research, the authors show from the start how, as players of choro, they understand the music from the inside out.” Jan Fairley, Popular Music 27/1 (2008)
“The fact that two authors joined forces to write this book based on independent but complementary material collected in their doctoral dissertations is worthy of praise… I believe that [this book] will be useful to ethnomusicologists interested in Brazilian music and Latin America more generally… for the presentation of a musical practice much loved by professional musicians in Brazil.” Martha Ulhôa, Ethnomusicology 52/1 (Winter 2008).
“At last, a book-length study in English of this important precursor to other, more well-known genres of Brazilian popular music … The strength of the book incontrovertibly lies in its comprehensive and sensitive dissection of the constructive elements of the choro genre… The authors provide details of both performance and reception in these interactive spaces, drawn both from the past and the present, which are eloquent and revealing in their detail… The book brings important information to light… This book has many strengths, not least making accessible to a broad readership a wide-ranging analysis of an understudies genre. Its author’s passion for the music is evident in the fascinating minutiae provided of the musical structures and performing styles, which are masterfully deconstructed and explored.” Lorraine Leu, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 84 (2007)
“This is for the most part a highly accessible study that will engage the lay reader, but as the authors state in the introduction, it is also intended for use by teachers of world music and by music researchers working in ethnomusicology and historical musicology… this is a thoroughly researched, cogently argued and important piece of scholarship.” Lisa Shaw, Journal of Latin American Studies 39/2 (May 2007).
“The book represents an invaluable contribution to the current literature on Latin American music… overall this is an excellent and highly informative study of a heretofore neglected musical style.” Andrew M. Connell, The Americas 63/4 (April 2007).
“A book on the Brazilian choro has been long overdue, and, for this reason alone, this publication is most welcome… Rather than publish two books on the same topic simultaneously, [the authors] decided to join forces and produce a single volume together. The outcome is a competent account of the emergence and development of choro from its 19th-century roots to the present, looking at how both wider social circumstances and notable individuals collectively forged the genre… The book begins with a very useful analysis of choro as a musical genre… The book is very useful and carefully researched.“ Suzel Reily, Ethnomusicology Forum 16/1 (2007).
“Livingston-Isenhour and Garcia’s book is a milestone in choro and Brazilian music studies. This comprehensive study examines choro’s musical, cultural, and social realities in and innovative and lucid way… this publication will be on of the main sources for scholars of choro and early Brazilian music.” Daniel S. Sotelino, The World of Music 48 (3), 2006
“Livingston-Isenhour and Garcia do an excellent job of describing choro in simple, transparent language… a valuable resource for those interested in Brazilian music and culture. This book earns a place in the literature… Highly recommended.” Kazadi wa Mukuna, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries 43/8, (April 2006).
Related website (Carnaval experience): web.mac.com/reginasimas