Lee Tong Soon

358 Zoellner Arts Center


L.T.C.L.(1990), L.R.S.M.(1993) piano; B.A. Hons.(1993) Durham, U.K.;
M.A.(1995), Adv. Cert. in Asian Studies(1998), Ph.D.(1998) University of Pittsburgh;
M.B.A.(2002) Durham, U.K.

Tong Soon has taught in music departments at the University of Durham, U.K. (1998-2001), Emory University, U.S.A. (2001-2013), Chinese University of Hong Kong (2013-2017) where he also held appointments as Department Chair (2013-2016) and Director of the Centre for Chinese Music Studies (2013-2017), and at the Graduate Institute of Ethnomusicology of the National Taiwan Normal University (2017). He is currently the Secretary-General of  International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) and also serves as the General Editor (2018-2022) of the ICTM’s flagship journal, Yearbook for Traditional Music, published by the Cambridge University Press.

Southeast and East Asian music are the primary areas of Tong Soon’s research, with specific focus on Islamic and Chinese musical practices in Singapore and in diasporic Asian communities. His book, Chinese Street Opera in Singapore (University of Illinois Press, 2009), based on his doctoral research supervised by Bell Yung and René T. A. Lysloff, was supported by grants from the International Dissertation Field Research Fellowship (1997) and the British Academy (2000). Subsequent research projects on Chinese music and migration in Europe (2006), Peranakan music in Singapore (2012), Cantonese music in the U.K. (2014) and Cantonese popular music in post-war Hong Kong (2016) were supported by research grants from the Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong. Tong Soon is the editor of the Routledge Handbook of Asian Music: Cultural Intersections (2021).

As a student of Endang Sukandar in Bandung, West Java, Tong Soon specializes in the West Javanese suling (vertical bamboo flute). He studied West Javanese gamelan degung with Euis Komariah (1949-2011) and Andrew Weintraub, Central Javanese gamelan with René T. A. Lysloff, and Korean drum-dance with Lee Yong Tae at the Seoul Institute of the Arts. At Emory, Tong Soon was the founding director of the world music program and the Asian Music Festival (2012 & 2013) which comprised seven student ensembles in Chinese music, gamelan degung, Korean samul nori, Korean kayagum, North Indian music, South Indian music and Tibetan folk music.

Tong Soon has served as a member of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) Council (2000-2003), the SEM Newsletter Editor (2000-2006), Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for the SEM 50th National Conference (2005), a member on the SEM Board of Directors (2007-2009), and as Chair of the Program Committee for the International Musicological Society East Asian Regional Association Conference (2015). He was the President of the Society for Asian Music (2007-2011), and was appointed to the Ethnomusicology Advisory Committee of the College Music Society (2008-2010), the Editorial Advisory Board of the SEM Translation Series (2008-) and the ICTM Executive Board (2017-), and has served on adjudicating and review panels at the National Endowment for the Arts (U.S.A.), the Ministry of Education (Singapore) and the National Arts Council (Singapore).