Northeastern University alumna, Andrea Lieberherr Douglass, is an ethnomusicologist, performer, and educator with an impressive background in a variety of ensembles performed around the world. From playing in an outdoor amphitheater while on-tour in Brazil to jumping into an all-female Mariachi band at Disney Land, Andrea has had many performance highlights. While she has a wide range of experience, Andrea focused her career on bringing music to others through education. She currently teaches violin and flute at the Waldorf School in Lexington and is an Associate Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Boston.
“As a faculty member, I’m always learning. For the last few years, I’ve taught at an international student program at UMass Boston, and it’s been an opportunity to teach diverse styles of music to people from all over,” Andrea added, who majored in Music Literature & Performance as well as Chemistry while at Northeastern. “Working as a music faculty member has been an exciting way to understand where other people come from and how they see the world. As for my work with elementary school students, it’s fascinating to see how quickly children learn music; they bring a totally different perspective!”
Andrea, whose research interests include European folk music, the music of Brazil, and tourism studies, is committed to bringing a global outlook to her work. At UMass, she’s had the opportunity to teach Violin, World Music, and Music of Latin America.
In my entire experience of becoming an ethnomusicologist, learning new ways of thinking from different places has been key.
“Traveling, performing, and studying in different locations has been central to my work and education,” continued Andrea. “The longest place I conducted research was in a small community of musicians in a mountainous area of Switzerland—this was what my dissertation was about. I got to know about their culture and how music was their tool for expression.”
During her time at Northeastern, Andrea took part in music-oriented student groups, including the Pep Band and the Jazz Ensemble. While she held co-ops that related to Chemistry, which made her realize it was not a field she wanted to pursue full-time, her last co-op was at a radio program, A Note to You. It was during her last year at Northeastern that she realized she wanted to apply to graduate school for music—and she has been completely immersed in the field ever since. Andrea went on to receive an MFA in Flute and Violin Performance from the California Institute of the Arts. She also earned a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Boston University.
When thinking about the future, one thing Andrea is looking forward to is continuing to perform with the Sonic Liberation Players, a group that is exploring new ways of encountering sound. The group is in their fourth season of playing, and they’ve begun exploring ways to expand their repertoire, including adding a Kids Concert.
Thank you, Andrea, for sharing your story with the CAMD community! We look forward to staying in touch.