Performer, composer and Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of California at Los Angeles
A.J. Racy, is a performer, composer, and Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Born in Lebanon, he comes from a well-known family of artists, scholars and academicians. Racy is internationally recognized for his extraordinary musicianship and his numerous publications, including his award-winning book, Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab. He is a master of many traditional instruments, particularly the nay, a reed-flute, and the buzuq, a long-necked fretted lute.
Racy has performed extensively in Lebanon and has appeared in major U.S. theaters, such as Carnegie Hall in New York, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and the Hollywood Bowl, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and at international venues, including the Beiteddine Festival in Lebanon and the Commonwealth Institute in London, the National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico, the School of Music of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the Villa-Lobos Institute in Brazil, and the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing.
He has lectured widely in North America, as well as in Finland, Greece, Mauritius, Reunion, England, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, China, Canada, and throughout the Arab world.
Racy has composed for and performed with the Kronos Quartet and the Sacramento Symphony Orchestra, as well as for feature and documentary films. He has performed with many renowned artists including Kenny Burrell, Shujaat Khan, Tsun Yuen Lui, Sting, Tito Puente, Djivan Gasparyan, Wadi al-Safi, Cheb Khaled, and Shaykh Hamza Shakour. His music has been released on a number of CDs, including four Lyrichord albums – Ancient Egypt, Taqasim, Mystical Legacies, and When the Rivers Met – and on a Kronos Quartet released titled Caravan. Racy is the recipient of numerous honors and tributes from a variety of cultural institutions, including the Stevenson Award for composer-scholar Ethnomusicologists and a prestigious award in 2012 from the Chinese Taichi Traditional Music Foundation for outstanding traditional musicians and music scholars worldwide.