Henry Kingsbury is a pianist turned ethnomusicologist. He is notable for his book, Music, Talent, and Performance, an ethnographic study of an American conservatory of music. This book examines the social and cultural nature of musical talent, understood within the anthropological framework of such theorists as Emile Durkheim, E.E. Evans-Pritchard, and Clifford Geertz. The appearance of Kingsbury’s book in 1988 marked an innovative and significant application of principals of ethnomusicology in the study of Western art music.
Kingsbury has written of the role that personal change can play in the constituting of ethnographic approach. He writes, “just as fieldwork is often understood to be a traumatic personal experience, so also… can traumatic experience be retrospectively reconstituted as ‘fieldwork.’”  Kingsbury was born in 1943. He was a disciple of the pioneering ethnomusicologist Alan P. Merriam.
In 1991, while he was a faculty member in the music department at Brown University, Kingsbury suffered serious injury during brain surgery. His efforts to resume his academic career after recuperation included a pair of lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act. He has chronicled this episode in two self-published booklets.
- Music, Talent, and Performance: A Conservatory Cultural System, Temple University Press, 1988
- Rice, Timothy, review of Music, Talent, and Performance, American Anthropologist vo. 21/4 (1994)
- Herzfeld, Michael, Anthropology: Theoretical Practice in Culture and Society, Blackwell Publishing, 2001, p. 287
- Nettl, Bruno, Heartland Excursions: Ethnomusicological Reflections on Schools of Music, Univ. of Illinois Press, 1995, pp. 1-2, 147-8
- Loeb, Lawrence D., review of Music, Talent, and Performance, american ethnologist vol. 90/4 (1988)
- Koskoff, Ellen, review of Music, Talent, and Performance, Ethnomusicology vol. 34 (spring 1990) pp. 311-14
- “New Testament Anthropology and the Claim of an Ethnographer’s Voice,” ‘‘Dialectical Anthropology’’ 22: 79-93, 1997 [p. 80]
- ‘‘Music, Talent, and Performance: A Conservatory Cultural System’’ Temple University Press, 1988. pp. iv, xi
- ‘‘The Truth of Music: Empire, Law, and Secrecy,’’ Full Court Press, 2005,  pp. 24, 107, 113
- The Secret Trial of Brown University: April 25 – May 5, 2004