Directory Page Title

Anne Rasmussen

Professor (Ethnomusicology)

Office: Ewell 265
Phone: (757) 221-1097
Email: [[akrasm]]
Website: {{}}

Education and Curriculum Vitae
  • B.A., Northwestern University
  • M.A., University of Denver
  • Ph.D. in Music, University of California-Los Angeles
  • Anne also studied for two years at the Sorbonne in Paris and received her formative musical training at the New England Conservatory.
  • Curriculum Vitae
Time at William and Mary

Anne K. Rasmussen joined the faculty of the College of William and Mary in 1993. She is professor of music and ethnomusicology and in 2014 was named the William M. and Annie B. Bickers Professor of Middle Eastern Studies. She was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honors society in 2014 and is the recipient of a Plumeri award for faculty excellence. She has repeatedly been elected to the board of the Society for Ethnomusicology and currently serves as its president (2016-2017).


Since 1994 Rasmussen has directed the William and Mary Middle Eastern Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, a forum for the study and performance of music and with musicians from the Middle East and Arab world.  Over the years, the ensemble has hosted more than sixty guest artists, has recorded two compact disc recordings, and has made international concert tours in Morocco and Oman.

Rasmussen also serves on the faculty of Asian and Middle East Studies at William and Mary and has been chair of the Middle East Studies Faculty and co- director the Asian Studies Initiative.  She also chaired the Department of Music from 2011-2014. In Spring 2007 Rasmussen was professor for the William and Mary in Washington Program.

Rasmussen’s broad research interests include music of the Arab world, the Middle East and the Islamicate world, music and multiculturalism in the United States, music patronage and politics, issues of orientalism, nationalism, and gender in music, and fieldwork, music performance, and the ethnographic method. She teaches a family of courses in ethnomusicology and music research at William and Mary and has mentored a number of William and Mary student toward graduate study in ethnomusicology and careers in music and academia.

Rasmussen’s book Women, the Recited Qur’an, and Islamic Music in Indonesia, (University of California Press 2010) is recipient of the Alan Merriam Prize Honorable Mention for 2011. Another volume co-edited with David Harnish titled Divine Inspirations: Music and Islam in Indonesia, was published by Oxford University Press in 2011.  She
is co-editor with Kip Lornell of The Music of Multicultural America: Performance, Community, and Identity in the USA. Originally published by Schirmer in 1997, the second revised
edition with four new chapters and a new introduction was published in 2016 by the University Press of Mississippi. She has published articles in Ethnomusicology, Asian Music, American Music, the Garland Encyclopedias, the Yearbook for Traditional Music, and in a number of edited volumes.  She is winner of the Jaap Kunst Prize for the best article in the field of Ethnomusicology in 2001.

During her most recent sabbatical leave (2010-2011) Rasmussen pursued new work in the Persian Gulf Nation of Oman supported by a fellowship from the Omani Government and the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center. Most recently she served as guest editor for a special issue of the journal The World of Music: New Series titled “Music in Oman: Politics, Identity, Time and Space in the Sultanate.”

                                                            photo      book 2 


Photo: The ensemble of musicians and dancers: Bahjat Salalah (Salalah Happiness) performs mizmar (a genre of music and dance) at the Salalah Tourism Festival, July, 2011. (Photo by Anne K. Rasmussen)

See her blog on Oman here:

During the 2016-2017 year Anne Rasmussen is on sabbatical leave.  She will pursue new research in Indonesia in Spring semester 2017 supported by A Fulbright US Scholar Fellowship.

Rasmussen offers such courses as:

  • 241 Worlds of Music (xlist Anthropology)
  • 372 Music Cultures of the Middle East (xlist Anthropology; Literary and Cultural Studies)
  • 367 Mediterranean Musical Mosaic (xlist Anthropology; Literary and Cultural Studies)

  • 345 Seminar in Music Research: Orientalism, Exoticism, and
  • 345 Seminar in Music Research: Music and Nationalism

  • 150W Freshman Seminar: World Music and World Religion (xlist with Anthropology)
  • 150 Freshman Seminar: American Soundscapes -- Music and Multiculturalism

  • E 18 Middle Eastern Music Ensemble
  • AMES 250: Critical Issues in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
The William and Mary Middle Eastern Ensemble

Founded in 1994, the W&M MEME, has become an important part of the department, the program in Asian and Middle East Studies and the campus community.  The ensemble hosts numerous guest artists from various Middle Eastern musical and cultural traditions and performs in contexts that range from elementary schools, to academic conferences and arts festivals, to formal concerts.  Instrumentation in the ensemble includes ‘Ud (Middle Eastern Lute), Violin, Viola, and Bass, Qanun (zither), Darabukkah, Riqq, and Daff (percussion instruments), Nay (reed flute), sometimes accordion and saxophone, and singing in the major languages of the Middle East region: Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, Hebrew, and Ladino.  The ensemble has released two CD recordings.  You may learn more about them by visiting our website.

Visit the Ensemble website.

W&M Students and the Field of Ethnomusicology

Many students who are introduced to the field of ethnomusicology through Rasmussen's courses, academic conferences, and invited guests to the college, and the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble have pursed advanced degrees in ethnomusicology graduate programs at various institutions including Indiana University (4 students), Brown University, The University of Texas at Austin, New York University, and the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Limerick, Ireland, and Wesleyan University. Rasmussen is the first person from an undergraduate liberal arts institution to be elected president of the Society for Ethnomusicology and is a strong advocate and exemplar for undergraduate ethnomusicology among her professional cohort. 

William and Mary in Washington

In spring semester 2007, Rasmussen served as the professor for the William and Mary in Washington program. The theme for the semester was “Washington and the Arts” and 14 student-interns, along with professor Rasmussen explored issues of arts patronage, policy, programming, production, education, artists, audiences, contexts, histories, communities, and individuals through visiting some of Washington’s important institutions of arts and culture and exposure to leading figures in the Washington arts world. The participating W&M students pursued internships at National Gallery of Art, Red Dirt Sculpture Studios, the Hirshhorn Sculpture Museum, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings Co., National Portrait Gallery, National Public Radio: All Things Considered News Program, Slate Magazine, Center for American Progress, National Geographic Traveler Magazine, Washington Choral Arts Society, Worldwatch Institute, Smithsonian Museum of American History, and the Wooly Mammoth Theater.