Curriculum Vitae

© 2020 Jeffrey W. Cupchik, Ph.D.


Dr. Jeffrey W. Cupchik's research is focused on ethnomusicology, sociocultural anthropology, ethnography, Buddhist studies, popular music, ritual studies, historiography, Diaspora, and performance. His interests range from Tibetan Buddhist liturgical ritual chant and song-poetry to the performing arts, and from musically-guided meditation rituals that maintain individual and community health to the megaconcert genre of global popular music philanthropy. His research projects also include the historiography of popular music of the Sixties, and George Harrison’s adaptation of South Asian classical music sonorities into “raga rock.”

His article, "Buddhism As Performing Art: Visualizing Music in the Tibetan Sacred Ritual Music Liturgies" published in the inaugural issue of the Yale Journal of Music & Religion (February 5, 2015), a new peer-reviewed journal, contains new critical insights about Buddhist meditation practice.

His forthcoming book, The Sound of Vultures' Wings: The Tibetan Buddhist Chöd Ritual Practice of the Female Buddha Machik Labdrön (SUNY Press, series in Religious Studies) illustrates a new understanding of Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana (tantric) meditation ritual practices. Critical analysis reveals how the internal meditative visualizations and external musical performance aspects are designed to be interrelated, to intersect dynamically, and ultimately enhance the contemplative arts of meditation within Tibetan Buddhist rituals.

Through a multi-site ethnography with renowned Tibetan Chöd practitioners, this book illustrates the musical architecture developed by the Tibetan ascetic Machik Labdrön (1055-1153), and subsequently by leading practitioners in her lineages. Exploring the craftsmanship in design underlying the Tibetan Buddhist contemplative arts may provide a new way of experiencing and thinking about Buddhist ritual music.



The Sound of Vultures' Wings: The Tibetan Buddhist Chöd Ritual Practice of the Female Buddha Machik Labdrön (SUNY Press, series in Religious Studies).


Buddhism and Popular Music." In The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion and Popular Music, edited by C. Partridge & M. Moberg,  (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), 144-159.

Journal Articles (peer-reviewed)

"Mandela’s Inaugural 46664 Mega-Concert – A Second Long Walk To Freedom – Sounding Out Narratives of Empowerment, Religion and Public Health at Queen, Bono, and Nelson Mandela’s Campaign Launch Concert to Combat HIV/AIDS," ECHO: A Music-Centered Journal, Vol. 15, No. 1 (April, 2019)

"Buddhism As Performing Art: Visualizing Music in the Tibetan Sacred Ritual Music Liturgies," Yale Journal of Music & Religion, Vol. 1, Iss. 1 (Feb 5, 2015): 61-91.

"The gCod Damaru Drum--A Reprise: Symbolism, Function and Difference in a Tibetan Adept's Interpretive Community." Asian Music, Vol. 44, No. 1 (Winter/Spring 2013): 113-139.

"Polyvocality and Forgotten Proverbs (and Persons): Ravi Shankar, George Harrison and Shambhu Das." Popular Music History, Vol. 8, No. 1 (April 2013): 68-90.

Works In Progress: 

Journal Articles (accepted, pending requested revisions)

"George Harrison: South Asian Music, Subjectivity and Bricolage in the Era of Psychedelia." Journal of Popular Music and Society)

"Voicing the Self in 1920's Tibet: the Rhetoric of Presence and Spiritual Subjectivity in Ethnographic Representations of Himalayan Buddhist Ritual." 

(accepted, pending revisions)Journal of Musicological Research “Melodies for Dissolving the Self: Tibetan Songs of Meditative Experience.” 


“Tibetan Performing Arts in Exile: Preserving Cultural Memory through Music and Dance Performances in Ladakh.” In Music and Dance as Everyday Life in South Asia, edited by Z. Sherinian & S. Morelli, New York: Oxford University Press (under review).


The Power of Megaconcerts: Rock-For-A-Cause, Mass Media, Music Philanthropy, Social Change and Global Health (in progress).

Ethnographic Pathways: Teaching Ethnography through Community-based Research and Service Learning (textbook, in progress)

Unbroken Lineage: From Ancient India's Nalanda to Tibet's Sera Monastic University (in progress).