Guthrie Ramsey

Guthrie Ramsey is the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania. A widely published writer, he is the author of Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop, which was named outstanding book of the year by the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. He also has written The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History, and the Challenge of Bebop. His next book, Who Hears Here?: Essays on Black Music History and Society, is forthcoming. He was recipient of the Lowens Award from the Society for American Music for best article on an American music topic in 2001.

Dr. Ramsey received his doctorate in musicology from the University of Michigan and taught at Tufts University before joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 1998. He was a Thurgood Marshall Dissertation Fellow at Dartmouth College, a DuBois Institute Fellow at Harvard University, and a visiting professor at Princeton University and Harvard University.

He is a pianist, composer, and arranger for his Philadelphia-based band, Dr. Guy’s MusiQology. In 2007, this group released a CD titled Y the Q?, and he released The Colored Waiting Room in 2012. The sextet produces original music in a sound blending jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel, neo-soul, and classical.

Among Guthrie Ramsey’s recent work is Someone Is Listening, a commission (written with poet Elizabeth Alexander) to commemorate the centennial of the NAACP. He co-curated the 2010 exhibition Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. He was also creative consultant and librettist for Ramsey Lewis’s A Proclamation of Hope: A Symphonic Poem. His three-movement suite for voice and jazz ensemble, Art Songs in the Kingdom of Culture, was written in tribute to W. E. B. Du Bois.

Other works include essays in the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial Catalogue, The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art,, and several short films related to the Colored Waiting Room project. Guthrie Ramsey is the founder and editor of the popular blog,, which is read around the world and boasts more than 65,000 views.