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Jon McCollum, Ph.D. (Kenzen 研禅)

Associate Professor of Music | Associate Chair, Department of Music | Director, Ethnomusicology Minor

Ethnomusicology, Historical Musicology, Japanese Music, Armenian Music | Instruments: trombone, shakuhachi, koto, and shamisen

  • Shihan 師範, Master’s Level License in Shakuhachi, 2015
  • PhD, Ethnomusicology, 4.0/4.0, University of Maryland, College Park, 2004
  • MA, Ethnomusicology, 4.0/4.0, Tufts University, 2000
  • BA with Honors (magna cum laude), 3.89/4.0, Performance and Music History, Florida State University, 1997
Shakuhachi Certification

Dr. McCollum holds a Shihan 師範 (Master’s) license in shakuhachi performance and teaching. Dr. McCollum is a recipient of shakuhachi transmission through the lineages of both Katsuya Yokoyama and Yoshinobu Taniguchi through his primary teacher, Dai Shihan (Grand Master), Michael Chikuzen Gould. McCollum was awarded the accredited master name (natori) “Kenzen (研禅).” The character for “ken” 研 comes from the Japanese kanji “togu,” meaning to polish, sharpen, or study. This kanji, with “zen” (禅), means to continue to sharpen one’s knowledge of Japanese shakuhachi and aesthetics in relation to Zen Buddhism.

Dr. McCollum performs primarily on a very rare, early 20th century Notomi Judo (3 hanko signature) jiari 1.8 ishakuhasun (a standard shakuhachi) and an excellent jinashi Yamaguchi Shugetsu 2.8 nishakuhasun (chokan).


Dr. McCollum is an ongoing Senior Research Fellow with the Armenian Library and Museum of America, located in Watertown, MA, and has been a consultant for the Smithsonian Institution and Folkways Alive! at the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta. McCollum has conducted fieldwork and historical research in North America, Armenia, Japan, and China. His dissertation focused on the music and ritual of the Armenian Apostolic Church. He is the co-author (with Andy Nercessian) of the book Armenian Music: A Comprehensive Bibliography and Discography (2004), is a contributor to Defining Music: An Ethnomusicological and Philosophical Approach (2005),and has published numerous other articles and reviews in peer-reviewed journals and encyclopedias, including most recently, three entries in the Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music, four entries in the Sage Encyclopedia of World Music, and over over thirty entries in the prestigious New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (Oxford University Press). His most recent book, Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology (with David G. Hebert) was published in 2014. Forthcoming, McCollum is authoring the chapter, “Performance, Process and Technique in the Dokyoku Style of Japanese Shakuhachi” which will be published in the book, Translation, Education, and Innovation in Japanese and Korean Societies (New York: Springer, 2016).  McCollum is an active orchestral and jazz trombonist as well as a professional euphoniumist. As a world music musician, he performs on the Japanese koto, shamisen, and shakuhachi.

Dr. McCollum regularly presents at conferences on historical ethnomusicological methodology, Armenian and Japanese music. He is a member of the American Musicological Society (AMS), the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) and the Armenian Studies Association.

Translation, Education, and Innovation in Japanese and Korean Societies 

MUS 100 Introduction to Music
MUS 104 Introduction to World Music and Ethnomusicology
MUS 203 History of Music: Antiquity to Baroque
MUS 204 History of Music: Classical to Romantic
MUS 259/459 Applied Music: Low Brass
MUS 285 Early Music Consort
MUS 294 Instrumental Methods in Music Education
MUS 312 Music in the Romantic Period
MUS 314 Music of Asia
MUS 327 Music, Ritual, and Early Christianity
MUS 328 The Symphony in Context: History and Development
MUS 406: Theory and Method in Ethnomusicology
MUS 487 Woodwind and Brass Chamber Music
GRW 101 Intersections of Literature, Music, Science, and Art
GRW 101 Global Sounds: Music and Identity
Chief Musical Instruments

trombone, euphonium, shakuhachi, koto, shamisen, early music instruments (woodwinds and sackbut)