Musician, scholar, educator and former record-store manager Mr. Huib Schippers has been named the new director and curator of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings effective June 13. A division of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian Folkways is the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian. Schippers, currently the director of the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre in Australia, replaces Daniel E. Sheehy, who announced his retirement after 15 years leading Smithsonian Folkways.
“I feel honored to be entrusted with such an iconic label, which has exceptionally dedicated staff, artists and listeners,” said Schippers. “This position resonates with all the things I hold dear: great music, great ideas, great people and a great mission. I look forward to forging a future for Smithsonian Folkways that continues to celebrate diversity, the voices of the unheard, the sounds that make us learn and think and the music that inspires a greater understanding of the people, the communities and the cultures around us.”
A leading voice in arts research, Schippers is the founding director of the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre at Griffith University in Brisbane, where he has fostered a strong, practice-led research culture, resulting in a number of signature events that have challenged traditional approaches to musical activities. A native of the Netherlands, Schippers has had a multifaceted career, including Indian classical performance and teaching, journalism, retail record-store management, arts policy, project management, education and academic research. He has published numerous articles, chapters and books, including Facing the Music: Shaping Music Education from a Global Perspective and the upcoming Sustainable Futures for Music Cultures: An Ecological Approach.
“Huib has the vision and experience to guide Smithsonian Folkways as it navigates continued change in the music industry and builds on its rich legacy,” said Michael A. Mason, director of the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. “We are also excited to bring Huib’s impressive research credentials in music education and sustainability to the Center, and know he will energize our own work on intangible cultural heritage.”
Schippers becomes the third director of Smithsonian Folkways in the nearly 30 years since the Smithsonian acquired Folkways Records from the family of founder Moses Asch. In that time, Smithsonian Folkways has released more than 400 new albums and acquired 12 other record label collections. The collection now includes more than 3,500 albums and 50,000 tracks, including historic recordings by Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lead Belly and thousands more, all available in CD, digital download and streaming formats worldwide.