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Jon McCollum, Ph.D. (Kenzen 研禅)

Chair and Associate Professor of Music | Director, Ethnomusicology Minor
  • 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 the co-editor of the Historical Ethnomusicology series with Lexington Books. 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. 

Chief Musical Instruments

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

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