Dr Christopher J. Smith is Associate Professor and Chair of Musicology / Ethnomusicology and director of the Vernacular Music Center at the Texas Tech University School of Music. He holds the Bachelor of Arts (Music, Summa Cum Laude) from the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and a Master’s in Music (Jazz, Magna Cum Laude) and Ph.D. in Musicology (with high distinction) from the Indiana University School of Music. He is the 1997 recipient of the John H. Edwards Fellowship, the 1998 recipient of the Walter Kaufmann Musicology Prize from Indiana, a 2003 recipient of the Alumni Association’s New Faculty Award, in 2005 and 2009 was twice the recipient of the “Professing Excellence” award, in 2006 was elected to the Teaching Academy at Texas Tech, in 2010 was the recipient of the Texas Tech President’s Excellence in Teaching Award, and in 2011 was both elected to the TTU Institute for Inclusive Excellence and the recipient of TTU Office of International Affairs’ Study Abroad Award. He has taught at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and Indiana University and as a guest lecturer at University College Cork and the University of Limerick, in addition to Texas Tech, as well as leading roving field-trips for students in the West of Ireland, chairing the Vernacular Music Center Scholarship Committee, and directing the Roots Music Institute (a 501c3 organization). At Texas Tech, he serves as faculty advisor for the Tech Irish Set-Dancers, Caprock English Country Dancers, and Caprock Morris Border dance team. He serves as External Examiner for the BA program in Traditional Music and Dance at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, as well as External Examiner for PhD dissertations at institutions in the USA, UK, and Ireland and for the Irish government’s music program accreditation bureau. In 2011 he began a two-year term as President of the American Musicological Society – Southwest regional chapter.
He teaches courses in American, 20th century, and African Diasporic musics, as well as vernacular, world music, and ethnomusicology topics. His research interests are in American and African-American Music, 20th Century Music, Irish traditional music and other folk musics and cultures, improvisation, music and politics, performance practice, and historical performance.
He is the author of Celtic Backup for All Instrumentalists, “The Celtic Guitar” (in The Cambridge Companion to the Guitar), “Miles Davis