Music composer and ethnomusicologist Professor Emeritus Joseph Hanson Kwabena Nketia has died at age 97, family sources confirm.
Prof. Nketia died on Wednesday at the Legon Hospital while seeking medical attention.
Prof. Nketia, who retired from the University of Ghana, Legon, in 1979, was the first African Director of the Institute of African Studies of the university.
Born at Mampong-Asante on June 22, 1921, the composer, ethno-musicologist, writer and mentor had, in the past, also held positions such as acting Principal of the Presbyterian Training College (PTC), Professor of Music at the University of Ghana and Chancellor of the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture in Akropong.
He has more than 200 publications and 80 musical compositions to his credit.
Some of his well-known choral works include Adanse Kronkron, Morbid Asem, Monna N’Ase and Monkafo No. Other vocal works with piano accompaniment include Yaanom Montie, Onipa Dasani Nni Aye, Onipa Beyee Bi, Yiadom Heneba, Mekae Na Woantie, Maforo Pata Hunu, Obarima Nifahene and Asuo Meresen.
He also wrote extensively for Western orchestral instruments, like the flute, violin, cello, percussion and piano. But it is through Nketia’s pace-setting works for traditional African instruments that his genius is acclaimed.
He wrote for a variety of combinations of modern and local African instruments. Works in this category include the Builsa Work Song (1960), Dagarti Work Song (1961), At the Cross Roads (1961), Owora (1961), Volta Fantasy (1961) and Contemplation (1961).