Gregory Melchor-Barz, Interim Dean of The Ingram Commons
“The key goal in Vanderbilt's first-year Commons experience is empowerment. We create opportunities for students to empower themselves to become proactive members of the university community, people capable of acts of discovery, people who learn from and teach each other, and people who will graduate from Vanderbilt to become leaders in their local, national, and global communities.” - Gregory Melchor-Barz
Gregory Melchor-Barz, an expert on medical ethnomusicology (the study of music and global health) is interim dean of The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons and professor of ethnomusicology in Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music where he chairs the Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology.
Melchor-Barz attended Brown University and the University of Chicago where he focused his studies on music, religion, and politics primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. His dissertation is a study of the cultural remnants of German colonization in contemporary East Africa.
Following stints at the Ohio State University, the University of Dar es Salaam, and the University of Alberta, he came to Vanderbilt in 1998 as a faculty member at Blair. Active in the Vanderbilt community, Melchor-Barz has chaired the University Press Board, served on the Chancellor’s Strategy and Planning Committee for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community, functioned as Vice Chair of the Faculty Senate, in addition to holding the title of Alexander Heard Distinguished Service Professor.
Actively engaged in ethnographic field research in the Middle East (Israel) and Central Africa (Rwanda and Burundi), Melchor-Barz currently serves as President of the Society for Ethnomusicology, guiding the largest international society for the study of global music traditions.
Melchor-Barz’s areas of academic expertise include the expressive culture of global religions, music as a medical intervention in the fight against HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, and the study of gender and sexuality in contemporary African performance genres. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles, book chapters and other publications, and is the author or co-editor of nine books including Singing for Life: Music and HIV/AIDS in Uganda and Music in East Africa: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. He was recently nominated for a GRAMMY Award as producer for an album on the Smithsonian Folkways label.