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Ghana’s proffessor Nketia goes home

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Ghanaian ethnomusicologist and composer Professor Emeritus Joseph Hanson Kwabena Nketia has died.

He passed away at the age of 97 on Wednesday, 13 March 2019 at the Legon Hospital, Accra after a short illness.

Born on 22 June 1921 in Mampong, Prof Nketia was his parents’ only child. He went to Britain at the age of 23 on a government scholarship to attend the University of London from 1944 to 1949, beginning with two years of study in linguistics at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

In 1949 he began three years’ study at Birkbeck College, University of London, and Trinity College of Music, London, obtaining a B.A. degree. In 1958 a Rockefeller Fellowship allowed him to go to the United States, where he attended Columbia University, the Juilliard School, and Northwestern University studying musicology and composition.

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He was a professor of music at UCLA and the University of Pittsburgh, and has lectured in many prestigious universities worldwide, including Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Michigan, City University London, the University of Brisbane in Australia, the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and the China Conservatory of Music, Beijing.

He is an Emeritus professor of music at the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, where he began teaching in 1952 and also directed the International Centre for African Music and Dance (ICAMD).

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He was Africa’s premier musicologist and was called a ‘living legend’ and easily the most published and best-known authority on African music and aesthetics in the world with more than 200 publications and 80 musical compositions to his credit.

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