We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Bruno Nettl, beloved author, editor, colleague, and friend. Bruno cofounded the Society for Ethnomusicology, serving as its president (1969-1971) and serving an unparalleled two terms (1962-1966 and 1999-2002) as editor of its journal, Ethnomusicology. The seven books he published with the UI Press include his classic The Study of Ethnomusicology, now in its third edition; Nettl’s Elephant, the title (Bruno’s suggestion) reflecting a whimsical nod to his famous collection of elephant figurines; Heartland Excursions, an ethnomusicological study of that exotic locale, the American school of music; and, most recently, Following the Elephant, a themed collection of articles from the journal, curated and introduced by Bruno.
With the support of many friends, UI Press has established the Bruno Nettl Endowment for Ethnomusicology, which supports publications by the University of Illinois Press in the field — reflecting Bruno’s legacy of mentorship and his care and cultivation of students and their work. For me personally, Bruno provided warm friendship and wise counsel from the moment I assumed responsibility for the Illinois music list from Judy McCulloh. Bruno was a longtime friend of Judy’s, and this photo of Bruno and his wife, Wanda, was taken by Stephen Wade at Judy’s memorial celebration in 2014.
The world is poorer now without Bruno in it. I will always cherish my memories of our friendship. When I last saw him, at his home shortly before Christmas, he was in good spirits and considering ideas for a new book. His wisdom, wit, and profound humanity will be missed.
-Laurie Matheson, Director