A conversation exploring systemic racism within institutions; specifically classical music and higher education.

Building on Dr. Daniel Bernard Roumain’s (DBR) recent project, They Still Want to Kill Us Dr. Phillip Ewell’s work, Black Scholars Confront White Supremacy in Classical Music; this panel seeks to add to conversations about race at NYU Abu Dhabi and other universities. The panelists also highlight the interdisciplinary and intersectional global histories related to the institutional structuring of race, gender, sexuality, ability, geography, religion, carceral, and socioeconomic statuses, as well as other aspects of personal, national, and socio-cultural identities within their respective fields.

The panelists include composer, performer, Institute Professor and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University, and activist, Dr. Daniel Benard Roumain; Associate Professor of Music Theory at Hunter College of the City University of New York, Dr. Philip Ewell; and Senior Director of Inclusion and Equity at NYUAD, Fatiah Touray.

Composer and activist Dr. Daniel Bernard Roumain was commissioned to compose an aria for the Tulsa Opera to commemorate the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, believed to be the worst single incident of racial violence in American history. However, due to controversy around the libretto, the commission was cancelled by the Tulsa Opera. Here is an account of what happened.


Dr. Philip Ewell:

Philip Ewell is an Associate Professor of Music Theory at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he serves as Director of Graduate Studies in the music department. His specialties include Russian music and music theory, Russian opera, modal theory, and critical-race studies. He received the 2019–2020 “Presidential Award for Excellence in Creative Work” at Hunter College, and he is the “Susan McClary and Robert Walser Fellow” of the American Council of Learned Societies for 2020–2021. In August 2020 he received the “Graduate Center Award for Excellence in Mentoring,” which recognized his “ongoing, long-term, commitment to students at all stages of graduate research.” He is also a “Virtual Scholar in Residence” at the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music for 2020–2021. He is currently working on a monograph combining race and feminist studies with music and music theory. Finally, he is under contract at W.W. Norton to coauthor a new music theory textbook that will be a modernized, reframed, and inclusive textbook based on recent developments in music theory pedagogy.

Dr. Daniel Bernard Roumain:

Dr. Daniel Bernard Roumain is an Institute Professor and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University; his acclaimed work as a composer, performer, educator, and activist spans more than two decades, and he has been commissioned by venerable artists and institutions worldwide. “About as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (New York Times), Dr. Daniel Bernard Roumain is perhaps the only composer whose collaborations span Philip Glass, Bill T. Jones, Savion Glover, and Lady Gaga. He most recently scored the film Ailey (d. Jamila Wignot), which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2021.

Fatiah Touray:
Senior Director of Inclusion and Equity

Fatiah Touray, Esq. is responsible for leading and directing NYUAD’s programs that promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Fatiah works in partnership with SLICE, the Office of the Provost, and all students, faculty, and staff dedicated to the work of helping NYUAD become a truly inclusive institution. Fatiah comes to NYUAD from Sarah Lawrence College where she was the inaugural Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Special Assistant to the President. Previously, she was the Assistant Dean of Diversity and International Advising and the Director of the Academic Achievement Program at the College of Arts and Science at NYU. Fatiah brings a deep commitment to global education and engagement along with diversity, equity, and inclusion work. In her role at Sarah Lawrence, she launched the first campus climate survey focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. She has introduced bias mitigation training for academic communities, launched programs designed to increase faculty diversity, created and launched a course for all first-year students on Belonging at SLC, and created affinity groups for faculty and staff of color and LGBTQ+ identified faculty and staff.