Tong Soon Lee
1804 North Decatur Road, #238
Atlanta, GA 30322
Tong Soon joined Emory in the autumn of 2001. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh (PhD 1998; MA 1995) and University of Durham, UK (MBA, 2002; BA Hons., 1993). He holds an Advanced Certificate in Asian Studies (Pittsburgh, 1998) and also the licentiate diplomas in piano performance from the Royal Schools of Music (LRSM, 1993) and Trinity College of Music, London (LTCL, 1990). Prior to joining Emory, Tong Soon was a Lecturer in Music at the University of Durham (1998-2001).
A member of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), Tong Soon has served on the SEM Council (2000-2003), as editor of the SEM Newsletter (2000-2006), as Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for the SEM 50th National Conference (2005), and on the Board of Directors (2007-2009). He sits on the Ethnomusicology Advisory Committee of the College Music Society (since 2008) and is President of the Society for Asian Music (2007-2010).
Tong Soon has served as an external examiner for the Australian National University, University of Western Australia, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 2006, he was appointed to the Music Advisory Committee of the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators in the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. He served as the keynote speaker at the 2009 Finger Lakes Project (Infusing Sustainability into the Curriculum) at Ithaca College, and was appointed Visiting Visionary Fellow at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney in Summer 2010.
Tong Soon's research focuses on Southeast and East Asian music, with particular interests in Singapore and the musical practices of diasporic Asian communities. He conducted field research on Chinese street opera in Singapore for his doctoral studies with the support of the International Dissertation Field Research Fellowship (1997), under the supervision of Bell Yung and René T.A. Lysloff. A research award from the British Academy (2000) enabled further study in this area and his book, Chinese Street Opera in Singapore, is published by the University of Illinois Press (2009).
Tong Soon has also worked with the Islamic community in Singapore to examine the religious significance of the Islamic call to prayer. The research led to the publication of "Technology and the Production of Islamic Space: The Islamic Call to Prayer in Singapore" in Ethnomusicology (1999) (reprinted in Ethnomusicology: A Contemporary Reader, Routledge, 2006; with a revised and expanded version published in Music and Technoculture, Wesleyan University Press, 2003).
In autumn 2006, Tong Soon was awarded a research grant from the Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange for his book project on Chinese music and migration in the UK since the 18th century. The first publication of this research, "Grace Liu and Cantonese Opera in England: Becoming Chinese Overseas," is in Lives in Chinese Music, edited by Helen Rees (University of Illinois Press, 2009).
Tong Soon is also conducting research on Peranakan musical cultures in Singapore, exploring the multiple identities of the Peranakan community within Singapore’s multicultural policies, through their musical theatre (wayang peranakan), narrative singing (dondang sayang), dance, popular music, and other forms of expressive cultures. He is currently working with renowned Singaporean playwright and female impersonator of the wayang peranakan tradition, G.T. Lye, on the creative processes and social history of his plays and musical compositions.
A student of Endang Sukandar in Bandung, West Java, Tong Soon specializes in the West Javanese suling (bamboo flute) and has performed with Gamelan Ligar Pasundan (University of Pittsburgh) at the Asian Festival in Columbus, Ohio, May 2009. He studied West Javanese gamelan (gamelan degung) performance with Euis Komariah and Andrew Weintraub, and Central Javanese gamelan with René T. A. Lysloff. Tong Soon studied samul nori performance with Chae Byung Sam at the National Gugak Center in Seoul, South Korea, and also learned changgu with Lee Yong Tae (formerly from the National Gugak Center), who served as artist-in-residence at Emory University in Spring 2009.
At Emory, Tong Soon is the Director of Undergraduate Research in the music department. He teaches disciplinary studies in musicology and ethnomusicology, survey courses in world musical cultures, and topical courses in South, Southeast and East Asian music. As the Director of the World Music Program, he manages the North Indian (instructor: Dr. Kakali Bandyopadhyay), South Indian (instructor: Mr. Ramesh Panchagnula), Chinese (instructor: Ms Yang Chun), and Korean Kayagum (instructor: Mdm Yoo Soon Hyun) ensembles, and directs the Emory Samul Nori and Emory Gamelan.