Charles Lwanga

Assistant Professor of Music


Dr. Lwanga is an ethnomusicologist, composer/theorist, and percussionist. His research in ethnomusicology examines the role of popular music in transforming Uganda’s public sphere into a participatory arena. As a composer, Lwanga’s creative output is grounded through the lenses of interculturalism, creative musicology and African pianism. Lwanga has read a variety of research papers at annual conferences of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), and at the African Studies Association (ASA).

Before successfully defending his doctoral degree in ethnomusicology (on March 2, 2020), Lwanga made record for having received the African Libraries Student Paper Prize twice (in 2019 and 2015). This prize is awarded by the African Music section of the Society for Ethnomusicology in recognition of the most distinguished student paper delivered on the topic of African and/or African diasporan music at the SEM annual meeting during a previous year. Lwanga is also recipient of the 2015 Robert M. Stevenson prize awarded biannually by the Society of Ethnomusicology to honor the best composition by an ethnomusicologist. Lwanga’s other awards include: Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship (2015/16), Fulbright Junior Fellowship (2009-2012), and the University of Pittsburgh Teaching Fellowship (2012-2015). Lwanga’s scholarly work appears in journals such as, Analytical Approaches to World Music, Ethnomusicology, Journal of Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies, and the Journal of Musical Arts in Africa. He’s compositions are published with Verlag Neue Musik, and the Journal of Musical Arts in Africa.

Dr. Lwanga joins the Universtiy of Michigan’s SMTD from the University of Pittsburgh, where he has been Postdoctoral Associate in the Brain Aging & Cognitive Health Lab (BACH),  Department of Psychology, since August 2018. At the BACH Lab, Lwanga conducted research on the effects of African music/dance and education on brain and cognition among African American seniors living within the Pittsburgh area. Before then, he was Visiting Assistant Professor of music at Skidmore College, where he taught chromatic harmony, selected courses in ethnomusicology, and also directed an African Music and Dance ensemble. 

Lwanga holds a Ph. D in Ethnomusicology (2020) and a Ph. D in Composition/Theory (2012), both awarded by the University of Pittsburgh. He holds an MA in Composition/Theory (2006), a Postgraduate Diploma in Music Education (2006), a BA in Music (2003), and a Diploma in Law (2005). Lwanga brings a wealth of experience in teaching, research and performance.