Anicet Mundundu, instructor for the Pitt African Music and Dance Ensemble who also helped to run the Department of Music’s jazz archives and the William R. Robinson recording studio, died Nov. 26, 2020 at 62.
As music faculty colleague Andrew Weintraub wrote in a remembrance: “Anicet Mundundu was a multi-talented musician who performed traditional music, popular music, religious music, and art music equally well.”
“He introduced hundreds of Pitt students to various styles of music, dance, and other artistic expressions of Africa,” Weintraub said. “PAMDE concerts under his direction were always exciting and well-attended events that brought together University and community members from diverse places, spaces and races throughout Pittsburgh.”
An African drum master and ethnomusicologist, Mundundu earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in Pitt's ethnomusicology department, where he taught music fundamentals, piano, world music and music technology.
Born in Congo, he came to Pittsburgh and was part of many local Africa-centered music and dance groups. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music education in 1982 from the Institut National des Arts of the Université Nationale du Zaire and directed the GEVAKIN choir of Kinshasa, Congo.
“In addition to being an extraordinary musician and teacher,” Weintraub said, “Anicet was a fine scholar. His doctoral dissertation was a study of the Umoja African Arts Company, a Pittsburgh-based group of African immigrants that performs music and dance from various parts of Africa. His study applied the theories and methods of ethnomusicology to a community-based musical practice and connected the university with the larger Pittsburgh community. His dissertation … is a pioneering example of public ethnomusicology."
Through the years, Mundundu worked with such local groups as the River City Brass, Kuntu Repertory Theatre, Pittsburgh Symphony and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
Mundundu is survived by his wife, Ruth, and son, Anicet Mundundu Jr.
— Marty Levine