Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences School of Music

Melissa Parkhurst

Office: Kimbrough 260 F
School of Music
Washington State University
PO Box 645300
Pullman, WA 99164-5300
Phone: (509) 335-6481

Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology, Career Track, Native American Music, Women in Music, World Music

Melissa D. Parkhurst, a native of California, teaches courses on World Music, Native American Music, and Women in Music. Before joining the faculty at WSU, Dr. Parkhurst taught at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.

She received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Liberal Studies from Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo, with research on the life and work of Amy Beach. She earned a Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology from University of Wisconsin – Madison, with a thesis on women polka band leaders. Her Ph.D. dissertation, also completed at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, is on the role of music in the federal boarding school system for Native American children.

Her current research interests include First Nations music in the Pacific Northwest, how music promotes personal and community resilience, and the role of music in cultural revitalization. She is the author of To Win the Indian Heart: Music at Chemawa Indian School, published by Oregon State University Press (2014). She is currently co-editor of the upcoming Niimiipuum We’nipt: Songs of the People (WSU Press).

In addition to teaching lecture courses, Dr. Parkhurst has directed Lewis & Clark’s Javanese gamelan, the Venerable Showers of Beauty. She has also taught piano lessons privately for twenty years, and directed the Takes the Fifth gospel choir and band at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Portland, Oregon.

Dr. Parkhurst serves on the Board of Directors for the WSU Press. She is an Affiliate in WSU’s Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and an Affiliate in WSU’s Center for Native American Research and Collaboration. She serves as President-Elect for the Association for Faculty Women (AFW).

She is currently a fellow with WSU’s Center for Arts and Humanities, completing the project “Field Recordings of Nez Perce Singers, 2019-2020.”