LISA URKEVICH, PhD                                                                                  




Dr. Lisa Urkevich is an Associate Professor of Musicology/Ethnomusicology at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) where she also serves as the Program Coordinator of Music. She is both a musicologist and ethnomusicologist specializing in music of the Arabian Peninsula, especially the artistic and folk traditions of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar.

Professor Urkevich has lived in and undertaken research in the Arabian Peninsula since 1994. From 1994-98 she resided in various provinces of the Saudi Kingdom, including the regions of Taif, Khamis Mushayt, and Riyadh, and she has traveled to many widespread areas including Najran, Baha, Wadi al-Dawasir, Jizan, and Jeddah in order to advance her research. She also has extensive experience in the Gulf States and has interviewed and recorded traditional groups in Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. She is highly involved with the investigation and analysis of the heritage of Kuwait, where she has lived since 2003, spending her initial years here as a US Senior Fulbright Research Scholar. She is highly involved in the preservation and outreach of Arabian Peninsula heritage and she and her students are leaders in the examination of regional sea, city, and desert traditions of the greater Peninsula.

As a professor Dr. Urkevich has taught courses in both western and non-western music at various universities including Boston University, Bucknell University, the University of Maryland, and Millersville University. She has lectured throughout the US, Europe, and the Arab World and has been interviewed about her work on "Good Morning Kuwait" and other regional programs and radio stations. She is currently working on a comprehensive book on the Music of the Arabian Peninsula (Routledge), and a CD/Book project on “Sawt: The Art Song of the Gulf.”

In western music, Dr. Urkevich’s research focuses on Northern European music manuscripts and the musical culture of women and girls ca 1500. She recently published a study on the provenance of one of the most significant extant music manuscripts of the period (“The Wings of the Bourbon: The Provenance of MS Royal 20 a. xvi, London, British Library, Journal of the Alamire Foundation, 2012).

She is also interested in performance practice of Renaissance (and Arabian) cultures. She is the former director of the Boston University Collegium Musicum and during her tenure the ensemble presented notable performances, including those of her editions/transcriptions from the Anne Boleyn Music Book. 


Dr. Urkevich has four degrees in music: PhD, University of Maryland, College Park; MM, Florida State University; BS, Towson University; BA, University of Maryland Baltimore County.  

She can be reached at: or


Selected Press/Publicity

Selected Student Activities

"Dr. Lisa" discussing performance techniques with Gulf Musicians


"Medallah's" Folk Troupe, Shuwaikh





Enjoying Arabian traditions with Kuwaiti students and Qaseemis on a trip to the Najd, Saudi Arabia


Dr. Lisa and the great Saudi musician/composer "Tuha" at her home in Jeddah. Tuha is

the only woman composer of Saudi Arabia who is publicly active in the Kingdom

Tuha discussing her composition books.

Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid and Dr. Lisa Al Kout Festival

His Excellency Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid at the Al Kout Festival, Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the Arabian Heritage Project, Kuwait



The "Father of Saudi Music" Tariq Abdul Hakim at his Jeddah home

With the acclaimed Mohamed Bin Hussein and band members

In memory of Yacoub Al-Yitamah, b. 1913, d. Dec. 4, 2008, one of the last Kuwaiti pearl divers and merchant ship captains.