Faculty Profiles

Johann Buis

Johann Buis, D.A.

Associate Professor of Music (Musicology), Coordinator of Music History Area

On Faculty since 2003
Armerding 226


Dr. Johann S. Buis was tenured in musicology both at the University of Georgia (1989-97) and Wheaton College (2003-present). He holds degrees and diplomas from Ball State University, the University of Cape Town, the Orff Institute of the Mozarteum University of Salzburg, and the University of the Western Cape, among others. He was a post-doctoral Rockefeller Research Fellow during 1995-96 at the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) and held a Fulbright Fellowship in 1982-83.

His scholarship ranges from performance history of early music to the aesthetics and reception history of black music between the United States and urban centers in Africa. He is the co-author of Shout Because You're Free! The Ring Shout Tradition in Coastal Georgia (University of Georgia Press, 1998). A versatile public musicologist, he has published widely in journals such as College Music Symposium, Ethnomusicology, Early Music America, MLA Notes, to Torture: Quarterly Journal on Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture and Issue: A Journal of Opinion, among others.

He is a past president of the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music (SCSM), an international professional academic organization. He chaired the Board of Directors of SDG Music Foundation (Soli Deo Gloria, Inc.), a commissioning and advocacy foundation for sacred music in the biblical tradition.

He has served as Keynote Speaker at various conferences. In addition, he has presented papers internationally at Cambridge University, Oxford University, the Free University (Berlin), the University of Goettingen and other institutions. He directed both International Initiatives at the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR), Columbia College Chicago, and the African Studies Program at the University of Georgia.

During recent years, he has been active in interdisciplinary scholarship integrating musicology, ethnomusicology, and cultural theory. At present (2017), he is in his twentieth season as a pre-concert lecturer at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has also held numerous professional development seminars in the USA, the Caribbean, Germany, and South Africa. He has experience in exploring new pathways in American and Africanist scholarship and is sought after for his fresh perspective on music scholarship.

Ball State University
D.A., Musicology

Ball State University
M.M., Music Education

  • Cultural Theory
  • Musicology
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Member-at-Large on the Board of Directors of the American Musicological Society (AMS)
  • Member of standing committees of the Society for American Music (SAM)



Packed Ravinia classical schedule includes Tan Dun's massive 'Water Passion'
Chicago Tribune online

"Returning will be the vocal ensembles Chanticleer, Roomful of Teeth and The Singers, the latter group performing Rachmaninov's Vespers. Pianist Andre Watts, clarinetist David Shifrin and the Ariel Quartet will present "An Unlikely Muse," a music theater work about the influence of 19th century German clarinetist Richard Muhlfeld on Johannes Brahms' late music..."

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Music and Dance Make Me Feel Alive: From Mandela's Prison Songs and Dances to Public Policy, Torture: Quarterly Journal on Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture. 2013.
How is it possible for song and dance to exist in political incarceration and manifest itself later as public policy responding to apartheid atrocities? Examining the body of songs, oral history accounts, and eye-witness reports provided by fellow-prisoners of Mandela on Robben Island prison, I uncover a psychological environment mediated through music and dance - within the confines of a political prison. This source of prison music-making by political prisoners in detention, provide us with the artistic expressions of revolutionary songs, parody songs, praise songs, laments, etc. These music genres reflect ontologies embedded in Mandela’s juristic imagination.

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