Larry V. Shumway graduated from Brigham Young University in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in music. He received his master's degree in Asian studies from Seton Hall University, and received his PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of Washington.
He returned to BYU in 1974 with a joint faculty appointment in the the Department of Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature and in the School of Music. During his time at BYU, he served as Asian Studies Coordinator, Director of Undergraduate Studies in the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, and chairman of the Department of Humanities, Classics and Comparative Literature. He also directed two study abroad programs to Japan and served as cultural advisor to the Young Ambassadors and the BYU Folk Dancers on two Asian tours.
Shumway has taught music in public schools, and has taught Japanese language. He has done field research on Shinto ritual music in Japan, on American traditional music, and on Tongan national music, culture, and dance.
For his book Frontier Fiddler: Life of a Northern Arizona Pioneer, he assembled, edited, and annotated the memoirs and fiddle tunes of his grandfather, Kenner C. Kartchner, a prominent early-twentieth-century old-time fiddler as well as fish, game, and wildlife official (1990). Articles that he has published include: “Gagaku in the Provinces: [Japanese] Imperial Court Music at the Ikeda Fief at Bizen [modern Okayama],” in the Asian Music Journal (2001); “Contextualizing The Tale of Genji With Other Arts of Its Golden Period,” in the journal Interdisciplinary Humanities (2003); and “The Tongan Lakalaka: Music Style and Composition,” in Ethnomusicology, the journal of the Society for Ethnomusicology (1981).