Musicologist William Cheng to Present Two Lectures at UNC Asheville, April 24 and 25, on the Crossroads of Sound, Politics and Power

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William Cheng

The interface of music, education and ethics will be the topic when William Cheng presents two free public lectures, both beginning at 7 p.m. on April 24 and 25 in UNC Asheville’s Karpen Hall, Laurel Forum. Cheng says his research and writing “explores how people's spoken and unspoken judgments of others' artistic, musical, and rhetorical abilities give rise to just versus unjust social relations.”

Cheng, an assistant professor of music at Dartmouth College, is the author of Just Vibrations: The Purpose of Sounding Good, recipient of the 2016 Phillip Brett Award from the American Musicological Society, and named a 2016 Book of the Year by Times Higher Education. His 2014 monograph, Sound Play: Video Games and the Musical Imagination, delves into the aesthetic, ethical, and sociopolitical stakes of modern engagements with video games and their resonant worlds.

The two lectures will be:

April 24 – Music and the Measure of Life: In the duple meter of our forward-marching lives, how might we take extra beats here and there to animate care and compassion toward those of us – all of us – subsisting on borrowed time? This talk is part of UNC Asheville’s Humanities Lecture Series.

April 25 – I Spy: Voice, Violence, and Queer Ethics in Online Game Fieldwork. This talk is the spring semester’s final event in the Department of Music Faculty Lecture series and is sponsored by Friends of Music and the Dan Lucas Memorial Fund.

Cheng is at work on three new writing projects: a monograph, All the Beautiful Musicians; an edited collection of essays, Queering the Field: Sounding Out Ethnomusicology; and a book, Touching Pitch: Dirt, Debt, Color.

For more information about these lectures, contact UNC Asheville Assistant Professor of Music William Bares, at or 828.250.2312.