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Kenneth S. Habib

Associate Professor, Ethnomusicology, Music Theory, Music History

Kenneth S. Habib

Davidson Music Center Room 218C | 805-756-2741 | khabib@calpoly.edu | Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble Web page


In addition to his associate professorship in the Cal Poly Music Department, Dr. Ken Habib also is the associate director of the Middlebury College Arabic School (now at Mills College). He also has taught music at Pomona College and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) as well as Arabic at Cuesta College and Santa Barbara City College. Among his recent publications are articles in The Grove Dictionary of American Music (“Arab American Music,” “Bob Dylan,” “Bobbie Gentry,” “Don McLean,” “Diaspora,” “Singer-Songwriter,” “Suzanne Vega,” and “Warren Zevon”), The Journal of Popular Music Studies (“A Look at the Process of Programming a Popular Music Conference”), and The Encyclopedia of Islam (“Lebanon” and “Music”). Current work includes his book on the iconic Lebanese singer, Fairuz, who in collaboration with the Rahbani family of composer-poets has occupied the forefront of Arab art and popular music for six decades. Foci of his research include musical and textual analysis, use of musical arts in the creation of personal and social meaning, and experience of music culture in diaspora. His Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology with specializations in the music of the Middle East and American popular music is from UCSB, where he also earned his Certificate in College and University Teaching and his Master of Arts degree in Music Composition. His Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Studies is from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Habib also is a composer and performer. His responsibilities at Cal Poly include directing the Arab Music Ensemble, and his recordings include his album of original Eastern Arab art music, Salam.