Biography

A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. is a music historian, pianist, composer, and the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania. 


A widely-published writer, he’s the author of Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop (2003), and The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History and the Challenge of Bebop (2013). Dr. Ramsey is co-author beside Samuel A. Floyd, Jr., with Melanie Zeck of The Transformation of Black Music: The Rhythms, the Songs and the Ships of the African Diaspora (2017) and editor of Rae Linda Brown, The Heart of a Woman: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price (2020). His books in progress include Who Hears Here?, a collection of essays, and the monograph Sound Proof: Black Music, Magic and Racial Intimacies, a history of African American music from the slave-era to the present. He was editor for the series Music of the African Diaspora at the University of California Press for ten years and founding editor of the blog Musiqology.com.


As a producer, label head, and leader of the band Dr. Guy’s Musiqology, Dr. Ramsey has released five recording projects and has performed at venues such as The Blue Note and Harlem Stage in New York, and the Annenberg Theater of the Performing Arts and Chris’ Jazz Café in Philadelphia, and other venues worldwide.  His musical commissions include “Someone Is Listening,” written with poet Elizabeth Alexander, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the NAACP; he recently scored the prize-winning documentary Making Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South. His documentary Amazing: The Tests and Triumph of Bud Powell was a selection of the BlackStar Film Festival in 2015 and his multimedia performance piece Hide/Melt/Ghost made its New York debut at Harlem Stage in 2019. Ramsey hosts the Musiqology Podcast and Musiqology Rx is his community arts initiative that provides quality arts programming to under-served communities. He has written for and consulted with museums and galleries such as The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and was co-curator of the acclaimed 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 in 2010. Dr. Ramsey has lectured on music nationally and internationally.