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Mark Katz, Distinguished Professor of Humanities and Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, won the 2016 Dent Medal awarded by the Royal Musical Association in London.

RMA has given the award annually since 1961 to one recipient for his/her outstanding contribution to musicology. Here’s how the RMA website describes the selection process.

The Dent Medal is awarded to scholars in mid-career, typically indicated by time from the completion of the PhD, or from the first academic appointment. Candidates are selected on the basis of published scholarship, and the outstanding contribution to musicology may consist of either a single large-scale study or a body of work. Musicology is understood in broad terms, and eligible works may include (but are not limited to) monographs, collections of essays, articles, critical editions, and digital resources.

Katz has been a pioneer in blending musicology and hip hop. He created “Next Level” in 2013 and has received more than $2.5 million since then from the U.S. State Department to send American hip hop artists overseas in hopes of hip hop diplomacy. Artists have conducted workshops in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Central America.

Katz teaches courses on music and technology, popular music, and modern art music. In 2011 he received an Innovation Grant from UNC’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities to expand the scope and reach of university-level music pedagogy. One result of this grant was the creation of several new courses, including The Art and Culture of the DJ, Beat Making Lab, Rap Lab, and Rock Lab. Aimed at students without formal musical training, these courses introduce students to composition, performance, music history, entrepreneurship, and community engagement.

Music faculty have won two Dent Medals since 2011, when Annegret Fauser won for her contributions to 19th and 20th century music and women’s studies.

Read more from the RMA website.

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