Maho A. Ishiguro

Visiting Assistant Professor of Music



Olin Arts Center, Room 256


Maho Ishiguro is an ethnomusicologist whose research focuses on dance and music of Indonesia. Ishiguro uses dance as a lens for studying and engaging with Indonesian people, cultural practices, and living traditions. Ishiguro began her study of Javanese court dance at Wesleyan, and has since trained with renowned teachers at the Mangkunegaran court in Surakarta, Indonesia. A longtime student of Sumarsam, a prominent Indonesian ethnomusicologist; and I.M. Harjito, master of Central Javanese Gamelan; Ishiguro regularly performs with gamelan ensembles throughout the northeastern United States. She also studied Acehnese dance with a renowned art community, Sanggar Rampoe Banda Aceh, under the tutelage of Zul Kifri and Yusri Sulaiman, maestro of music and dance from Aceh. Ishiguro holds a Ph.D. (’18) and M.A. (’12) in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University, and the M.M. in Historical Musicology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (’10).

Her current research focuses on how Acehnese and Javanese performing arts practitioners negotiate and navigate through the current socio-cultural and religious climate, particularly today’s conservative turn in Islam in Indonesia. Ishiguro has received several prestigious awards and fellowships, including Fulbright- Hays DDRA Fellowship, grants from Society of Asian Music, FLAS Fellowship, Critical Language Studies (the U.S. Department of State) and the Nadia and Nicholas Nahumck Fellowship from Society of Ethnomusicology and AIFIS-Luce Fellowship from Cornell University. Outside of Bates, Ishiguro is appointed as a visiting assistant professor at Wesleyan University where she teaches dance courses. 

Ishiguro is a strong exponent of pedagogical techniques that employ both scholarly engagement and praxis within the performing arts. Her specializations and interests are: ethnomusicology; music and dance of Indonesia (Java and Aceh); impact of Islamization on performing arts; women’s performing arts in Muslim society; popular art cultures of Southeast Asia; ethnography and film documentation; representations of identities (gender and ethnicity) through movements and sounds; and translation.

At Bates College in 2021/22, Ishiguro will be teaching Music Theory 1, Introduction to Ethnomusicology, World Music, Central Javanese Gamelan Ensemble and Indonesian Dance courses.



“Dance as Cultural Practice vs. Religious Piety: Acehnese Dance in Banda Aceh and Yogyakarta.” Dance Research Journal, forthcoming, April 2022.

“Present Day Pangrawit,” co-authored with Darsono Hadiraharjo. A chapter entry in Sounding Indonesia: The State of Indonesian Music, edited by Christopher J. Miller and Andy McGraw. Cornell University, forthcoming, 2022.

“Gifts from the waves: The Rise of Cultural Appreciation, Sharia Law and Women’s Roles in Performing Arts in Post-Tsunami Aceh.” Asian Music Journal Vol. 50, No.2, 2019.

Ratoeh Jaroe: Islam, Youth, and Popular Dance in Jakarta, Indonesia.” Yearbook for Traditional Music Vol.51, 2019.

“Malay Theatre: Intangible Cultural Heritage and Islam: Wayang Kulit Kelantan and Mak Yong and Tradition in Transition: Intangible Heritage in South and Southeast Asia.” Asian Theatre Journal 36, no. 1 (Spring 2018). A review for an exhibition by Kathy Foley and Patricia Hardwick (curators).