Frederick Lau, Ph.D.


Prof. Lau is Professor of Music and the Director, Center for Chinese Studies.

Contact Information

Tels. (808) 956-7756 (CCS), and (808) 956-2177 (Music). 

Educational Background

  • Licentiate 1980, Royal Schools of Music (UK)
  • BA 1981, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Postgraduate Diploma 1982, Guildhall School of Music and Drama (UK)
  • MM 1984, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • DMA 1991, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Frederick Lau, is an active ethnomusicologist, flutist, and conductor throughout Europe, Asia, and the US. A musician of diverse musical interests, Lau received a masters and doctoral degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a performance diploma from the London Guildhall School of Music. Lau has received numerous research grants from agencies such as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Committee on Scholarly Communications with the PRC, and the German Academic Exchange (D.A.A.D.).

His scholarly interests include a wide range of topics in Chinese, Western, and Asian music. He has conducted ethnographic field research in the PRC, Thailand, Singapore, and Hawai`i, and has published widely on traditional Chinese music, music and politics, music and nationalism, Chinese music in the diaspora, as well as issues related to 20th century Western music. He is author of Music in China (Oxford University Press 2008) and co-editor of Locating East Asia in Western Art Music (Wesleyan University Press 2004). His articles have been published in journals such as Yearbook for Traditional Music, Ethnomusicology, Asian Music, British Forum for Ethnomusicology, Journal of Musicological Research, Sojourn, and as book chapters and in collected volumes. He was the book review editor of the Yearbook for Traditional Music (2002-2010) and has served on the boards of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Society of Asian Music, and International Council for Traditional Music. He is president of Association for Chinese Music Research and vice-president of the Society for Asian Music and Music of East Asian Music Study Group.


  • Mus 107 Music in World Cultures
  • Mus 311D Chinese Ensemble
  • Mus 407 Music Cultures of the World
  • Mus 470 Topics in Ethnomusicology: Music Production in Cross-Cultural Context
  • Mus 478C Music Cultures: China
  • MUS 670B Asian Music Seminar

Selected Publications

  • Music in China: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. New York: Oxford University Press (2008).
  • Locating East Asia in Western Art Music. Co-edited by Frederick Lau and Yayoi Uno Everett (Emory University)., Middletown: Wesleyan University Press (2004).
  • “When a Great Nation Emerges: Chinese Music in the World,” inEast-West Musical Encounters: Representation, Reception, and Power Politics in Sino-Western Musical Relations, edited by Michael Saffle and Helan Yang. University of Michigan Press, forthcoming.
  • “Hong Kong Chic: 1960s Hong Kong pop music and modernity,” inAmerican Pop Culture in Asia, edited by Beng-Huat Chua, forthcoming.
  • “Nationalizing Sound on the Verge of Chinese Modernity” in Nation, Modernity, and the Restructuring of the Field of Cultural Production in China: Beyond the May Fourth Paradigm, edited by Wing-kai Chow, Tze-ki Hon, Hong-yuk Ip, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 209-226. (2008)
  • “Context, Agency, and Chineseness: the Music of Law Wing Fai,”Contemporary Music Review 26/5:585-603. (2007)
  • “‘Celestial Sounds or ethnic music?’: Composition and Chinese music in the global age,” Proceedings of Third Asia Pacific Arts Forum: (Un)Masking: The Art of Disguise/Disclosure in Asia-Pacific Cultures. Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan. (2006)
  • “Entertaining Chineseness: Chinese singing Clubs in Contemporary Bangkok.” Visual Anthropology, 18:1-24. (2005)
  • “Serenading the ancestors: Chinese Qingming Festival in Honolulu.”Yearbook for Traditional Music, vol. 36: 128-143. (2004)
  • “Morphing Chineseness: The Changing Images of Amateur Chinese Music Clubs in Singapore.” in Diasporas and Interculturalism in Asian Performing Arts: Translating Traditions, edited by Hae-kyung Um, London: Routledge, 30-42. (2004)
  • “Fusion or Fission: The Paradox and Politics of Contemporary Chinese Avant-garde Music,” in Locating East Asia in Western Art Music, edited by Yayoi Uno Everett and Frederick Lau, Middleton: Wesleyan University Press 22-39,2004.
  • “The Eastern Music Express and the Imagination of Multiculturalism,”Proceedings of the Symposium of the 2003 Chinese Composer’s Festival, edited by Daniel Law and Chan Ming-chi. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Composer’s Guild, 27-36, 2004.
  • “Performing Identity: Musical Expression of Thai-Chinese in Contemporary Bangkok.” Sojourn 16.1:38-70.
  • “Chinese Music in the Diaspora: The Case of Teochew Music Thailand.” Journal of Asian Music Research Institute, 20:109-125.
  • “Little Great Tradition: Thoughts on Recent Developments in Jiangnan Sizhu.” ACMR Reports: Journal of the Association for Chinese Music Research 11: 31-61.
  • “Package Identity Through Sound: Tourist Performances in Contemorary China.” Journal of Musicological Research 17.1:113-134.