Tan Sooi Beng

Tan Sooi Beng is an ethnomusicologist and Professor in the Music Department of the Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang. Her degrees are the Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University (USA), Master of Arts from Wesleyan University (USA) and Doctor of Philosophy in ethnomusicology from Monash University (Australia). Tan Sooi Beng planned and originally chaired the Bachelor of Arts degree in music at the Universiti Sains Malaysia. Her publications include several articles and a book entitled Bangsawan: A Social and Stylistic History of Popular Malay Opera (Singapore, Oxford University Press, 1993 and Penang, The Asian Centre, 1997). She is one of the co-authors of Longing for the Past, the 78 RPM Era in Southeast Asia (Atlanta, Dust-to-Digital, 2013) which won the joint SEM Bruno Nettl Prize, 2014.

She has carried out extensive research and written articles on Peace Building through the Performing Arts (supported by Ford Foundation), Community Theatre in Southeast Asia and Japan (Asian Public Intellectual Fellowship, Nippon Foundation), Multicultural Traditions of Malaysia (USM Research Grant), Popular Music in Southeast Asia and the Chinese in Diaspora (Toyota Foundation). She is the Editor-in-Chief of Wacana Seni, Journal of Arts Discourse, serves in the Advisory Editorial Boards of Asian Music (USA) and Ethnomusicology Forum (UK), and is an elected member of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM). Tan is actively involved in the development of methodologies in applied ethnomusicology through community engagement and collaborative research. Her latest publication, Potehi Glove Puppet Theatre of Penang: An Evolving Heritage, is a collaborative effort with traditional performers and young people of the community.