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Full Professor

David Borgo

University of California San Diego

David Borgo has previously sailed twice as faculty with Semester at Sea, in Fall 2016 and Spring 2019. He is thrilled to be doing so a third time!

Borgo is a saxophonist, composer, ethnomusicologist, and Professor of Music at UC San Diego. He is a firm believer that music profoundly expresses who we are as individuals and communities and also affords us the possibility to extend our sense of fellow feeling beyond our usual imaginative boundaries. He has found the Semester at Sea experience—with its emphasis on nurturing a shipboard community of diverse individuals exploring together the transformative power of intercultural learning—to be the perfect laboratory to test this hypothesis.

Borgo earned a B.M. degree in Jazz Studies from Indiana University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Ethnomusicology from UCLA. He joined the UCSD faculty in 2002 and served as the Department Chair from 2017-2020. Borgo teaches in the Integrative Studies and Jazz and Music of the African Diaspora Programs and is affiliated faculty in Ethnic Studies and Cognitive Science. He received a 2013 Distinguished Teaching Award from the African and African American Studies Research Project and a 2020 campus-wide Diversity Equity and Inclusion Teaching Award. Borgo’s award-winning book, Sync or Swarm: Improvising Music in a Complex Age, was published in the revised version in 2022 by Bloomsbury Academic Press.

As a saxophonist and composer Borgo has released 12 albums, including his most recent Suite of Uncommon Sorrows, an eleven-movement work composed in response to the tumultuous events of 2020. Among Borgo’s most cherished experiences are performances in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North, Central, and South America, frequently joined by local musical collaborators. He has high hopes that he will be able to collaborate with many local musicians and with Semester at Sea students and faculty on this upcoming voyage.