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Dr. Gwendolen von Einsiedel announced as new Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music

The School of Music and Performing Arts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the College of the Arts is pleased to announce the naming of Dr. Gwendolen von Einsiedel as the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music. Dr. von Einsiedel will replace Dr. Mark F. DeWitt, Professor Emeritus, who retired in May of 2022 after 12 years of service to the university. Dr. DeWitt was the inaugural holder of the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music.

The mission of the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music is to stimulate interdisciplinary research on the foundations and diversity of traditional music worldwide and to advance the preservation, instruction, and performance of traditional music with an emphasis on traditions that have developed in Acadiana.

Dr. von Einsiedel strives  to connect different disciplines and communities through music performance, education, and research. Dr. von Einsiedel holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Music from the University of Oxford.   Her doctoral research focused on contemporary zydeco music and Southwest Louisiana's trail ride scene earning her an Arts and Humanities Research Council Award. She earned her Masters in Contemporary and Classical Text from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and a Masters of Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh. As an ethnomusicologist her research interests include race, gender, resistance, and non-human entanglements.

She received a Mellon Humanities grant from the University of Oxford for her podcast series Singing Windrush: Calypso in Britain. Her most recent project, Interrupting the Earth, is a short film made in collaboration with her doctoral research participants.  She received a Global South Fellowship from the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University for the film and a Knowledge Exchange grant from the University of Oxford. 

Dr. von Einsiedel is dedicated to knowledge-sharing and interdisciplinary research outputs and has presented her work nationally and internationally. In addition to written publications, she has produced several short films on vernacular folkways for the BBC, including Brazil’s Singing Gauchos, Wassail Tales: The Tradition of the Apple Tree, and Louisiana’s Creole Cowboys. She also hosted The Nest Collective Hour, a roots music radio show on London's Resonance FM, for five years.

She has a diverse artistic background, having worked as an actor and folk musician - specializing in voice, accordion, and guitar, for stage and screen. Her stage performances have spanned from Off-Broadway to London's West End, and include seasons with the National Theatre Scotland, London’s Old Vic Theatre and Shakespeare's Globe. She has taught in a wide variety of non-academic settings across the globe and remains committed to community engagement and outreach. In her spare time, she calls dances for traditional Scottish and English ceilidhs, leads choirs, and enjoys riding her bicycle.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of the Arts, faculty, students, and staff welcomes Dr. Gwendolen von Einsiedel as the new Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music and looks forward to the many contributions she will bring in the advancement of our music program.