High Notes

High Notes | Fall 2018 Edition

HighNotes_2018Fall_Cover_Large.jpg
 
 

Welcome to the Fall 2018 edition of High Notes

In this issue, we talk to Juno-nominated pianist John Stetch about his path-breaking career — and his decision to go back to school. We explore the music of glaciers with Director of Orchestras Dr. Jonathan Girard and multimedia artist Deborah Carruthers. And alumna Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe opens up about losing her hearing and finding her true calling as a composer of children's operas.

ALSO IN THE ISSUE

  • Donor Spotlight: Tom Lee Music provides five new pianos for public use across the UBC campus

  • Fall Concerts: Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, Joel Puckett’s Shadow of Sirius, and slippages — an experimental orchestral work about climate change

  • Research & Publications: Lectures on Korean drumming and cosmology, compositions for piano and voice, and a new book on Monteverdi

  • Alumni Making Waves: A bouncy castle organ, a Volvo commercial, new appointments, and awards galore

  • Beyond the Gates: The Western Canadian Music Awards, a B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame induction, Bands tour, and more

  • Catching Up with Our Students: Strings and wind students tour with the National Youth Orchestra, the Opera ensemble visits the Czech Republic, and the Silverman Piano Competition winners perform

  • Comings and Goings: Prof. Richard Kurth reflects on his second and final term as director of the School of Music

  • New Recordings: Soprano Simone Osborne releases her début album and John Stetch releases his 16th

  • Playlist: Jaelem Bhate chooses music that changed the way we listen to music

As always, we want to hear from you! Send us your comments and story ideas.

 

Jazz visionary John Stetch goes back to school

Stetch demonstrates his reinterpretation of Chopin's Polonaise in A-flat.

 

By Tze Liew

Over the past three decades, John Stetch has made a name for himself as one of Canada’s most innovative jazz pianists and composers. He has performed with contemporary greats such as Mark Turner and Chris Cheek and has recorded sixteen albums, including his most recent release, Ballads. Yet in the middle of a successful career that has earned him critical acclaim and half a dozen Juno Award nominations, he made the extraordinary decision to come to UBC to pursue an M.Mus in Composition.

“I wanted to get a Master’s because the nature of work and teaching [in music] has changed in many places, and often requires more than just a Bachelor’s degree. I knew I was going to be living in Vancouver, and I’d heard of UBC and its beautiful campus. There wasn’t really a jazz program around, so I thought a Composition Master’s would be a great fit, since I’ve been starting to write some classical chamber music, not just jazz,” he says.

Read the full story

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Improvising the music of glaciers

UBCSO performs slippages on Oct. 5th, 2018

How do you create the music of a glacier?

Artist Deborah Carruthers was grappling with this question when she met Dr. Jonathan Girard, the School of Music’s Director of Orchestras, at a talk last year at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. Carruthers was just emerging from months of intensive research into glaciers, on everything from their topography and ecology to their significance in different cultures and the threat they face from climate change.

In her talk she outlined an idea for a ‘graphic’ score — a sequence of images inspired by these enigmatic and threatened landscapes — that musicians could then interpret and perform.

The project seemed a little crazy, even to her. “I am not a musician, so the score was going to have no actual musical notation,” Carruthers says. “But when I explained all of this to Jonathan, he said—”

“I said, Tell me more!” Girard interjects, laughing.

Read the full story

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Lost and found: How Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe lost her hearing and found her true calling

  Elementary students perform one of Windsor-Liscombe’s opera-musicals

Elementary students perform one of Windsor-Liscombe’s opera-musicals

 

By Tze Liew

Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe (BMus’80, DipEd’91, MEd’92, EdD’14) is passionate about music and education. She is also deaf. Having suddenly lost her hearing in 2010, she can no longer hear music or sing in tune, or do many of the things she used to enjoy as a skilled pianist and singer. But in the aftermath of this life-changing event, she has found her unique calling as an educator-composer and librettist, working around her hearing loss to write children’s operas for elementary students in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

As Head Teacher at Confederation Park Elementary in the Burnaby School District, she and a few colleagues founded an arts-integrated program which saved the school from being shut down – the student body had dropped to only 90 students when they first took over in 2006. She began to compose children’s operas for the curriculum in 2011.

“We were trying to get students to understand what opera was, and also learn something significant about our history [and] society,” she says.

Read the full story

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Calling all music lovers: Tom Lee Music donates five new pianos to UBC

  BMus student Serina Mui plays one of the donated pianos.  Photo: UBC Library Communications

BMus student Serina Mui plays one of the donated pianos. Photo: UBC Library Communications

By Joel Bentley

A student sits at the new grand piano in the Music, Art and Architecture Library (MAA). She has headphones on, concealing the sound, so all you hear is the tapping of keys, rhythmic patterns. It feels like a pre-concert ritual—the quiet excitement of something about to be born. Behind the piano there are rows upon rows of sheet music, the largest collection of scores in Western Canada, waiting to be played. The library is muted and subdued, but the piano calls out to music lovers—beckoning them into the world of sound.

“I love playing with and for others and seeing the joy it brings to everyone involved,” says BMus student Zeta Gesme. A third-year double major in Cello Performance and Economics (Honours), Zeta is one of hundreds of students who have discovered joy at the new grand piano in the MAA at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC). It’s all dressed up in black and white, like a butler waiting. At your service. Zeta uses the piano to practice for her piano exams.

It’s one of five new pianos that Tom Lee Music provided to UBC this year. The pianos can be found at the Walter C. Koerner Library, David Lam Management Research Library, Woodward Library, and the Nobel Biocare Oral Health Centre—the dental clinic.

Read the full story

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Fall concerts available online: Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, Puckett’s Shadow of Sirius, Poulenc’s Gloria

Watch the latest performances by the School of Music’s large and small ensembles on Livestream and Vimeo:

Poulenc and Vaughan Williams

UBC Symphony Orchestra and Choirs team up for a spectacular, term-ending performance at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.

Scenes II

The UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble performs works by renowned composer-in-residence Joel Puckett, Giovanni Gabrieli, and Kathryn Salfelder. Featuring DMA student and soloist Paul Hung, flute. Watch

Silverman Winners’ Concert

Benjamin Hopkins, grand prize winner of the Silverman Piano Concerto Competition, performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major Op. 58 with UBC Symphony Orchestra. Also featuring competition winners Evgenia Rabinovich, Ayunia Saputro, and Aydan Con. Watch

Mahler, Carruthers and Tsu

UBC Symphony Orchestra perform the Mahler masterpiece Das Lied von der Erde along with Taiwanese composer Tsang-Houei Hsu’s The Splendid Universe, Chinese Festival Overture, Op. 18, and Slippages, an exciting experimental piece based on the graphic scores of artist Deborah Carruthers. Watch

Fall Choral Showcase

The University Singers, Chamber Choir, Choral Union and Combined Choirs sing works by Brahms, Dvořák, Haydn, Schubert, Copland and more. Watch

For upcoming School of Music performances, check out our concert calendar.

Browse more of our recent concerts

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Comings and goings

  Dr. Valerie Whitney and Dr. Richard Kurth

Dr. Valerie Whitney and Dr. Richard Kurth

This summer, Dr. Richard Kurth completed his second term as Director of the School of Music. In June he published “A Letter, a Soliloquy, two Duets, and a Sextet,” his reflections on the School and his time at the helm.

Following in his footsteps for the 2018-19 academic year is Dr. Alexander Fisher, in the role of Acting Director, and Dr. John Roeder, as Associate Director for term one, and Dr. Keith Hamel, Associate Director for term two.  Thank you, Dr. Kurth, and welcome, Drs. Fisher, Roeder, and Hamel!  

Dr. Valerie Whitney joined the School of Music as Assistant Professor of Horn , starting in the 2018-19 academic year. An accomplished performer and teacher, Dr. Whitney will play a leading role in the brass division at the School of Music. Her duties will include undergraduate and graduate studio instruction, brass chamber music coaching and coordination, and brass curriculum leadership — all while working in partnership with our accomplished team of VSO principals and other top professionals in the city.

Sessional lecturer and alumna Dr. Laurel Parsons (MA’91, PhD’03) recently accepted a full-time position as Associate Teaching Professor of music theory and aural skills at the University of Alberta.

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New research and publications

  Dr. Claudio Vellutini

Dr. Claudio Vellutini

Dr. Claudio Vellutini has been awarded an Insight Development Grant for his research project “Entangled Histories: Opera and Cultural Networks between Vienna and the Italian States, 1815-1848.” Recently, he presented two conference papers on topics related to this project: “Opera Networks between Vienna and the Italian States: Domenico Barbaja and Der Freischütz” at the 20th Biennial International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music; and "Donizetti's Italianità and Viennese Publishers" at the third conference of the international research network Re-Imagining Italianità: Opera and Musical Culture in Transnational Perspective.

Prof. Stephen Chatman published two new compositions: “Life Has Loveliness,” a work for SATB choirs and piano, and “Six Preludes” for alto saxophone and piano.

Dr. Brandon Konoval published “Pythagorean Pipe Dreams? Vincenzo Galilei, Marin Mersenne, and the Pneumatic Mysteries of the Pipe Organ” in Perspectives on Science (February 2018), and “Is the Essay Dead? Research and Writing in the Humanities at a Research-Intensive University" in Higher Education Review (50th Anniversary Issue, Spring-Summer 2018).

Continue reading research and publications news

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Alumni Making Waves: A bouncy castle organ, a Volvo commercial, new appointments, and awards galore  

Soprano Emily Cheung (BMus’06) in a recent Volvo commercial

 

This November, Carter Johnson (BMus’18) won the grand prize in the 2018 Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal (OSM) Manulife Piano Competition, with his outstanding performance of Prokofiev's Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26. The prize includes a $10,000 scholarship, a performance with the OSM in January 2019, a professional broadcast on Radio-Canada’s ICI Musique, and other performing opportunities. Carter also won first prize in the Canadian Music Centre’s Stepping Stone National Competition in Montreal.

Soprano Emily Cheung (BMus’06) was recently featured in television ads for Volvo’s 2019 SUV campaign.

In August, composer Michael Park (DMA’15) staged a wildly creative concert fundraiser for the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Vancouver. With the help of organ builder David Quinton, he combined a bouncy castle with organ parts to create a one-of-a-kind instrument that makes music as kids jump inside it. It’s also, Park notes, a “proof of concept” for further musical experiments. In August, Michael also performed a one-man recital of music for speaking pianist, narrating stories about love, death and everything in between at the historic Roedde House Museum in Vancouver’s West End.

Tina Wang (BMus’15) received a Teacher of Distinction award from the Royal Conservatory of Music, in recognition of her work training young saxophonists. She teaches at the Vancouver Academy of Music and co-directs a saxophone ensemble with fellow alumnus Michael Morimoto (MMus’14), in addition to running her own teaching studio.

Continue reading alumni news

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Beyond the Gates: The Western Canadian Music Awards, a BC Entertainment Hall of Fame induction, Bands tour

 
  Left to right: Dr. Robert Taylor, Prof. Nancy Hermiston, Jeremy Berkman

Left to right: Dr. Robert Taylor, Prof. Nancy Hermiston, Jeremy Berkman

This November, Prof. Nancy Hermiston was inducted into the British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame alongside renowned tenor and School of Music alumnus Ben Heppner (BMus’79). Prof. Hermiston this year also received the Faculty of Arts 2017-18 Dean of Arts Award, the most prestigious award that the Faculty bestows on a colleague, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to creative research, teaching, and service to UBC and the broader community.

In March, Director of Bands Dr. Robert Taylor and the UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble were invited by peers to perform at the College Band Directors National Association regional conference held at Sonoma State University. The tour included residencies with several of the San Francisco Bay Area’s top high school bands, and culminated in a featured performance at the Green Music Centre’s acoustically-stunning Weill Hall.

In June, the award-winning Turning Point Ensemble — which features UBC faculty members Brenda Fedoruk (flute), Jeremy Berkman (trombone), Ingrid Chiang (bassoon), and School of Music admissions manager Katherine Evans (trumpet) — toured Asia, performing concerts in Taiwan, Beijing, and Singapore. Turning Point also performed this year at the New Opera Days Ostrava Festival in the Czech Republic, where they premiered The Mute Canary by composer Rudolf Komourous.

Continue reading faculty news

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Catching up with our students: UBC students tour with the National Youth Orchestra, the Opera ensemble visits the Czech Republic, and more

  Simran Claire

Simran Claire

Six School of Music students and alumni, including Eva Toncheva (BMus’18), violin; Madelynn Erickson, violin; Nina Weber, viola; Emily Richardson, flute; Carlos Savall-Guardiola, clarinet; and Lukas Hildebrandt (BMus’18), percussion, have been accepted to the 2018 National Youth Orchestra of Canada. This summer they embarked on an exciting Canada-European tour, with stops in Ontario and Quebec and in Germany and Scotland.

Mezzo soprano Simran Claire (BMus'18, current MMus student) has won a position with the Glimmerglass Ensemble and will begin performing with the ensemble in June 2019.

The UBC Opera Ensemble had a successful tour to the Czech Republic this past summer, where they performed Rossini’s Italian Girl in Algiers in Teplice, Decin and Jablonec. They returned to Vancouver in August to performed an evening of opera and operetta excerpts at Bard on the Beach. They were joined by members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. 

Continue reading student news

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New Recordings

Alumna Simone Osborne (DMPS'09) released her debut album, Simone Osborne: Live in Concert with Anne Larlee. A classical song recital by Osborne, a celebrated Canadian soprano, including works by Mozart, Fauré, Schumann and Canadian composer Matthew Emery (BMus’14). Available on CDBaby, iTunes and Spotify.

Graduate composition student John Stetch released his 16th record, Ballads, an album of “quiet classics from the 1930's to the 1950's that never get louder than mezzo forte. Perfect for non-intrusive background ambience, but also for discerning listeners and tough critics of creative music. All tracks are complete takes with no editing.” Available on CD Baby, iTunes and Spotify.

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Playlist: Music that changed the way we listen to music

By Jaelem Bhate

I’m in my final year of the graduate conducting program here at the School of Music, so I spend a lot of time thinking about big, important pieces of music. The ironic thing about masterpieces is that, over time, they grow so familiar to our ears that they actually become hard to appreciate. We begin to lose sight of what made them so great and so influential in their own time. So even as we celebrate them, we take them for granted.

With that in mind, I thought it might be fun and illuminating to put together a playlist of music that in some way changed how we listen to and experience music. These are works that were pivotal in the evolution of music through the ages, and in many cases were also landmark works for the composers themselves. It has been more than difficult to narrow down this list to only a few works, but here are some tracks and artists in my regular rotation.

Listen to the complete playlist

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Do you have a story? Let us know!

If you're a UBC Music alumnus and you have news to share, please send a note to tyler.stiem@ubc.ca. We're always looking for stories for upcoming editions of High Notes and our other networks.

 

Improvising the music of glaciers

Director of Orchestras Dr. Jonathan Girard and artist Deborah Carruthers discuss slippages, an exciting new collaboration that tackles climate change from an unusual angle

  Jonathan Girard and Deborah Carruthers.

Jonathan Girard and Deborah Carruthers.

How do you create the music of a glacier?

Artist Deborah Carruthers was grappling with this question when she met Dr. Jonathan Girard, the School of Music’s Director of Orchestras, at a talk last year at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies. Carruthers was just emerging from months of intensive research into glaciers, on everything from their topography and ecology to their significance in different cultures and the threat they face from climate change.

In her talk she outlined an idea for a ‘graphic’ score — a sequence of images inspired by these enigmatic and threatened landscapes — that musicians could then interpret and perform.

The project seemed a little crazy, even to her. “I am not a musician, so the score was going to have no actual musical notation,” Carruthers says. “But when I explained all of this to Jonathan, he said—”

“I said, Tell me more!” Girard interjects, laughing. A crazy idea, maybe, but he was struck by Carruthers’s sense of urgency. “So we started talking, and we quickly realized that together we could do something that no one had done before: create an orchestral work about climate change that would be totally improvised from abstract visual art.”


WATCH: The slippages trailer video. Watch the full concert online

At the time, Carruthers was the Wall Institute’s inaugural artist-in-residence; together she and Girard decided that the Institute was an ideal place to incubate the collaboration. Girard quickly applied for, and received, a Wall Scholar Research Award, which “provides support for UBC faculty to spend one year in residence at the Peter Wall Institute, in a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment.”

Working with a palette of yellows, blues and greys similar to the hues she observed during her fieldwork in the Columbia Icefields, Carruthers painted the scores on special paper perforated at random with small holes. The idea was that, when stacked, they would mimic the layers of a glacier.

“Glaciers form slowly over thousands of years, layer by layer, from bottom to top. There are all these miniature ecologies that make each one unique, holes within the ice and on the surface. So as a glacier changes and holes form between the layers, the past is always revealing itself,” she says.

This notion of the past influencing the present would become one of the guiding principles behind the work.

But how do you go about translating abstract images into music? With their subtle colours and mixture of slashing lines and dribbly curls — not to mention the holes in the paper — the scores presented an unusual challenge.

Girard and Carruthers struck upon an ingenious solution. First, they created a sort of geography of the orchestra by mapping the seating arrangement onto the images themselves: “We created a transparent overlay of the seating chart and went page by page, figuring out which instruments would take responsibility for which parts of the images,” Girard explains.

But how do you go about translating abstract images into music?

“The fascinating thing was how, through this lens, the images suddenly made musical sense. The musicians looked at the depth and the saturation of the colours and began translating those into musical intensity, texture, and so on. They used the different types of brushstrokes as interpretive cues, too.”

Second, Girard and Carruthers mapped out the relationship between the pages, or layers, of the score — approximating what Carruthers calls the “language of glaciers.”

“We think of history as being chronological,” she says. “With glaciers the present is on the surface so you’re working from the present to the past. So what you’re revealing through the graphic scores is in a sense, their language: the way they ebb and flow and how, as they melt, thanks to climate change, these ancient histories are unlocked.”

In practical terms, this means that “as you go deeper into the score, you see the holes, where parts of the score two pages down become part of the page you’re on right now. So parts of the score begin to be played several pages before they are fully realized,” Girard says.

The UBC Symphony Orchestra debuted the piece, titled slippages, at the Chan Centre on October 5th, 2018. The months and weeks of planning and ‘structured’ improvisation produced a luminous, yearning experimental work that celebrates the beauty of the natural world while mourning its disappearance.

Following the premiere, Girard and Carruthers want to bring slippages to as many different audiences as possible.

“We think this project is really timely. The fact that slippages combines so many different disciplines, from science to visual art to music — speaks, we hope, to the urgent need to bring the best that humanity has to offer to bear on the problem of climate change. We’re not going to solve anything unless we work together,” Girard says.

Look out for information about upcoming performances on the School of Music website.


Banner graphic: Deborah Carruthers

Lost and found

Musician and educator Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe (BMus’80, DipEd’91, MEd’92, EdD’14) talks about how she lost her hearing and found her true calling — as a composer of children’s operas

By Tze Liew

  Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe. Photo: Takumi Hayashi/UBC School of Music

Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe. Photo: Takumi Hayashi/UBC School of Music

Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe is passionate about music and education. She is also deaf. Having suddenly lost her hearing in 2010, she can no longer hear music or sing in tune, or do many of the things she used to enjoy as a skilled pianist and singer. But in the aftermath of this life-changing event, she has found her unique calling as an educator-composer and librettist, working around her hearing loss to write children’s operas for elementary students in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

As Head Teacher at Confederation Park Elementary in the Burnaby School District, she and a few colleagues founded an arts-integrated program which saved the school from being shut down – the student body had dropped to only 90 students when they first took over in 2006. She began to compose children’s operas for the curriculum in 2011.

“We were trying to get students to understand what opera was, and also learn something significant about our history [and] society,” she says.

The challenge of writing operas for children prompted Windsor-Liscombe to create what she calls musical-operas. “While there’s some recitative in my works” — that is, dialogue which is sung to move the story along — “it’s too challenging and unreasonable to expect untrained elementary students to take on recitative fully. So the pieces I compose have considerably more spoken dialogue than an opera.”

Her first project was based on a children’s book: Mean Jean the Recess Queen, about bullying on the playground. Working in close collaboration with Bonnie Ishii, Confederation Park’s music and dance educator, she adapted the story for grade four and five students to perform.

“Writing the music and re-crafting the story into song lyrics was just a lot of fun – and very gratifying,” she says. “It worked really well for the kids, so I wanted to keep writing more.”

In the following years she wrote the operas Sadako and Kinderzug, integrating the grade seven studies on World War II Japan and Germany, respectively. Sadako, adapted from Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, tells the true story of Sadako Sasiki, a young girl who died from leukemia in 1955 due to radiative exposure from the Hiroshima bomb. Kinderzug is Windsor-Liscombe’s original story, about a teacher who is determined to deliver three Jewish children safely out of Nazi Germany.

“The kids loved them,” she says. “It’s better than just reading a book. When the kids can become the characters in a certain point in history, they live the history more.”

  Scene from Kinderzug. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe

Scene from Kinderzug. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe

Besides helping the students learn through experience, Windsor-Liscombe’s operas give them the opportunity to express their talents, and work together in a community.

“It’s great for encouraging self-esteem. Kids who you thought couldn’t carry a tune came forward wanting to do lead roles, and they were wonderful,” she says. “Then there’s always that one kid who just doesn’t want to be onstage. So they do tech or backstage work instead. Everybody gets involved. It’s really rewarding.”

Bringing community together is important to Windsor-Liscombe. Over the years she has invited parents to volunteer as photographers and technicians, as well as guest artists to help with the productions. “It’s about as professional as you can get in a school gym,” she says, laughing. Recently she had Sadako professionally recorded with UBC Opera students Spencer Britten (BMus’15, MMus’17), Andrea Wyllie (BMus’18, MMus student) and alumna Marie Civaterese (MMus’17). For Kinderzug, she hired Civaterese as an artist-in-residence to help teach the students and sing the lead role.

“The Pearl” — a scene from Sadako. Video courtesy of Suzanne Windsor-Liscombe

“Having Marie here took everything up a level, because the kids got to work with a real performer. The kids loved her, and I think she had a good time too,” says Windsor-Liscombe.

“From our first meeting, Suzanne's passion and excitement for her stories was infectious,” Civaterese says. “We discussed the libretto in detail, and once I started learning the music I could immediately feel her connection to the characters. Her operas are a most special educational tool to teach our history to children in a way that helps them connect with the emotional context of the events.”

Since Windsor-Liscombe first helped Confederation Park transition into an arts-integrated school 12 years ago, the school has flourished. It’s filled to capacity today, with students pouring in even from other districts. Her opera productions are an important part of the curriculum.

Windsor-Liscombe says she pieces the music together bit by bit in her head, relying on her knowledge of theory and cadences.

“Even though I can no longer hear music, I can hear it inside my head. It was like my external world became my internal world. Sometimes I think I’m going a little crazy – but now that it’s internalised, I want to get it out.”

It’s a slow and difficult process, but it works. She believes she is lucky to have had good training from teachers such as Stephen Chatman and Cortland Hultberg while studying at UBC in the late 70s and early 80s. But it wasn't until she lost her hearing that composing became profoundly important to her.

“I used to play for ballets, musicals, sing in choir, direct things, teach, go to concerts. All of that was just completely washed out when I couldn’t hear anymore,” she says. “I think composition saved me. It made me feel like I still had some ability after all those years. More than anything else I’ve done in music, this makes me the proudest.”

Windsor-Liscombe continues to teach and to write about issues that matter to her. Currently she is working on another opera: A Letter to Wanda, which focuses on bullying in its many subtle forms, based on the story The One Hundred Dresses by Estelle Estes. It will be performed next spring at Confederation Park Elementary.


Banner image: Takumi Hayashi/UBC School of Music

Calling all music lovers

Five new pianos in locations across campus are waiting to be played

By Joel Bentley

  BMus student Serina Mui plays the new piano in the Music, Art and Architecture Library. The instrument is a gift from Tom Lee Music. Credit: UBC Library Communications

BMus student Serina Mui plays the new piano in the Music, Art and Architecture Library. The instrument is a gift from Tom Lee Music. Credit: UBC Library Communications

A student sits at the new grand piano in the Music, Art and Architecture Library (MAA). She has headphones on, concealing the sound, so all you hear is the tapping of keys, rhythmic patterns. It feels like a pre-concert ritual—the quiet excitement of something about to be born. Behind the piano there are rows upon rows of sheet music, the largest collection of scores in Western Canada, waiting to be played. The library is muted and subdued, but the piano calls out to music lovers—beckoning them into the world of sound.

Pianos placed across UBC for you to enjoy

“I love playing with and for others and seeing the joy it brings to everyone involved,” says BMus student Zeta Gesme. A third-year double major in Cello Performance and Economics (Honours), Zeta is one of hundreds of students who have discovered joy at the new grand piano in the MAA at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC). It’s all dressed up in black and white, like a butler waiting. At your service. Zeta uses the piano to practice for her piano exams.

Music is about the creation of joy.
— Jeffrey Lee (BComm’09), Executive Director of Tom Lee Music

It’s one of five new pianos that Tom Lee Music provided to UBC this year. The pianos can be found at the Walter C. Koerner Library, David Lam Management Research Library, Woodward Library, and the Nobel Biocare Oral Health Centre—the dental clinic. Two other pianos, previously provided in 2015, are located in the Chapman Learning Commons at IKBLC and the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre. Each piano is available to students, staff, faculty and the surrounding community.

“I thought it was so great that community members could have access to a piano and a library full of music for their own edification,” Zeta says.

The library’s most popular item

Kevin Madill, Acting Head Librarian at MAA, recalls when the idea of the library hosting a piano was initially pitched in 2015. He was cautious at first. A library is a sanctuary, a place of quiet study. But when mandatory headphone use was proposed, he was convinced. Kevin assumed the pianos would primarily be used for practice and theory homework by music students, but the headphones quickly became “the busiest item in the whole library.” He estimates that approximately 4,000 patrons have used the piano in the MAA Library over the past three years, or about three to four people every day.

“What’s been fascinating is that it’s attracted more people to the library. It’s brought people in,” Kevin says.

Take a break, have a seat

Arts student Odetta Li just discovered the piano this September. She’s not a music major, but she grew up playing the piano, taking lessons into her teens. Now, she improvises songs or plays pieces she loves.

“It’s a place to chill between lectures,” she says.

The great benefit of these pianos is the ability to plug in headphones and play in private, which makes them perfect for improvising or relaxing.

“Music is very therapeutic. People have a lot of pressure in their daily lives and they often enjoy an instrument at home,” says alumnus Ron Koyanagi (BEd (Sec) ’84), General Manager of Tom Lee Music’s piano division. But not everyone has the luxury of having a piano in their home, students least of all. Tom Lee Music provided the five pianos to UBC so that students, staff and community members alike could have an avenue to release stress, to improve their mood and mental well-being, and to pursue their musical passions. “We just want them to enjoy music, experience the fun, and take a break from everything that’s going on,” says Ron.

To gain access to one of the available pianos, simply check out a headphone set from a library circulation desk and you’ll have a piano to yourself for up to two hours.


Interested in making a difference? Find out how you can support the UBC School of Music.

Calling all music lovers

Five new pianos in locations across campus are waiting to be played

By Joel Bentley

  BMus student Serina Mui plays the new piano in the Music, Art and Architecture Library. The instrument is a gift from Tom Lee Music. Credit: UBC Library Communications

BMus student Serina Mui plays the new piano in the Music, Art and Architecture Library. The instrument is a gift from Tom Lee Music. Credit: UBC Library Communications

A student sits at the new grand piano in the Music, Art and Architecture Library (MAA). She has headphones on, concealing the sound, so all you hear is the tapping of keys, rhythmic patterns. It feels like a pre-concert ritual—the quiet excitement of something about to be born. Behind the piano there are rows upon rows of sheet music, the largest collection of scores in Western Canada, waiting to be played. The library is muted and subdued, but the piano calls out to music lovers—beckoning them into the world of sound.

Pianos placed across UBC for you to enjoy

“I love playing with and for others and seeing the joy it brings to everyone involved,” says BMus student Zeta Gesme. A third-year double major in Cello Performance and Economics (Honours), Zeta is one of hundreds of students who have discovered joy at the new grand piano in the MAA at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC). It’s all dressed up in black and white, like a butler waiting. At your service. Zeta uses the piano to practice for her piano exams.

Music is about the creation of joy.
— Jeffrey Lee (BComm’09), Executive Director of Tom Lee Music

It’s one of five new pianos that Tom Lee Music provided to UBC this year. The pianos can be found at the Walter C. Koerner Library, David Lam Management Research Library, Woodward Library, and the Nobel Biocare Oral Health Centre—the dental clinic. Two other pianos, previously provided in 2015, are located in the Chapman Learning Commons at IKBLC and the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre. Each piano is available to students, staff, faculty and the surrounding community.

“I thought it was so great that community members could have access to a piano and a library full of music for their own edification,” Zeta says.

The library’s most popular item

Kevin Madill, Acting Head Librarian at MAA, recalls when the idea of the library hosting a piano was initially pitched in 2015. He was cautious at first. A library is a sanctuary, a place of quiet study. But when mandatory headphone use was proposed, he was convinced. Kevin assumed the pianos would primarily be used for practice and theory homework by music students, but the headphones quickly became “the busiest item in the whole library.” He estimates that approximately 4,000 patrons have used the piano in the MAA Library over the past three years, or about three to four people every day.

“What’s been fascinating is that it’s attracted more people to the library. It’s brought people in,” Kevin says.

Take a break, have a seat

Arts student Odetta Li just discovered the piano this September. She’s not a music major, but she grew up playing the piano, taking lessons into her teens. Now, she improvises songs or plays pieces she loves.

“It’s a place to chill between lectures,” she says.

The great benefit of these pianos is the ability to plug in headphones and play in private, which makes them perfect for improvising or relaxing.

“Music is very therapeutic. People have a lot of pressure in their daily lives and they often enjoy an instrument at home,” says alumnus Ron Koyanagi (BEd (Sec) ’84), General Manager of Tom Lee Music’s piano division. But not everyone has the luxury of having a piano in their home, students least of all. Tom Lee Music provided the five pianos to UBC so that students, staff and community members alike could have an avenue to release stress, to improve their mood and mental well-being, and to pursue their musical passions. “We just want them to enjoy music, experience the fun, and take a break from everything that’s going on,” says Ron.

To gain access to one of the available pianos, simply check out a headphone set from a library circulation desk and you’ll have a piano to yourself for up to two hours.


Interested in making a difference? Find out how you can support the UBC School of Music.

Jazz visionary John Stetch goes back to school

Six-time Juno nominee and graduate student John Stetch talks about his restless, path-breaking career, the excitement of re-envisioning classical music through a jazz lens, and his decision to return to school 

Text by Tze Liew
Video by Colleen O’Connor

Over the past three decades, John Stetch has made a name for himself as one of Canada’s most innovative jazz pianists and composers. He has performed with contemporary greats such as Mark Turner and Chris Cheek and has recorded sixteen albums, including his most recent release, Ballads. Yet in the middle of a successful career that has earned him critical acclaim and half a dozen Juno Award nominations, he made the extraordinary decision to come to UBC to pursue an M.Mus in Composition.

Part 1: John Stetch talks about his decision to go back to school and the importance of community.

“I wanted to get a Master’s because the nature of work and teaching [in music] has changed in many places, and often requires more than just a Bachelor’s degree. I knew I was going to be living in Vancouver, and I’d heard of UBC and its beautiful campus. There wasn’t really a jazz program around, so I thought a Composition Master’s would be a great fit, since I’ve been starting to write some classical chamber music, not just jazz,” he says.

Stetch is no stranger to change. Ambitious and experimental, he has always forged his own path, inventing new techniques and musical styles — for instance, fusing classical and jazz music in his compositions. Reinterpreting well-known classical works by Mozart, Bach and Chopin through the language of jazz, he is fearless in altering the chords and rhythms, adding new textures with techniques like plucking the inside of the piano to create exciting new renditions, while still keeping the originals recognizable.

“I have this instinct to want to play a little differently every day,” he says. “There are so many interesting possibilities. What if you double up the octaves? What if you play the scale down instead of up? Or change the ending completely?”

Stetch was inspired to play classical music, especially after listening to Glenn Gould playing Bach. Gould’s daring, percussive style pointed to interesting possibilities within the classical canon. But Stetch, a jazz musician, wasn’t sure how to approach the material at first.  

Part 2: Stetch demonstrates his unique approach to piano, performing a reinterpretation of Mozart K 333, Third Movement.

“It was too strange to play Chopin in a jazz club,” he says. “So I ended up rearranging the classical pieces, making them my own style, and treating them as homages to the original composers. Now I can perform them in both jazz and classical contexts.”

Stetch has reworked pieces such as Mozart’s Sonata No. 13 in B-Flat, Chopin’s A-Flat Major Polonaise and Bach’s Italian Concerto, which he recently performed in a Wednesday Noon Hours concert. The Mozart Sonata is a bluegrass arrangement, inspired by a banjo concert he attended. The Chopin and Bach arrangements are jazz-influenced – in Chopin, he plays with odd rhythms to vary and contrast with the original; in Bach, he mixes time signatures to elongate or shorten the theme.

“Mozart and bluegrass were a perfect match. Bluegrass usually has a lot of fast notes, an obvious pulse, and the kind of tonic-dominant-subdominant chord progression that Mozart’s pieces [also] have,” he says.

For Stetch, the interaction between jazz and classical is a two-way street. While bringing jazz improvisation techniques to classical pieces, he also admires classical music for its emphasis on organisation, and tries to bring that into his jazz playing. “I’ve often heard complaints that jazz rambles on too much, that it’s too complicated and random. I don’t like that myself, so I try to keep my playing organized like classical pieces.”

Part 3: Stetch talks about the appeal of experimentation and how he combines classical and jazz music in his compositions.

For such an accomplished pianist, Stetch started piano relatively late, at age 18. He grew up learning clarinet and saxophone, and originally pursued studies in saxophone at the University of Alberta. There he was introduced to figures such as Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarett and Wynton Marsalis, and was struck by the beauty and the rhythmic and harmonic possibilities of the piano.

“I stopped saxophone and switched to piano. I was addicted to it, obsessed with the harmonies and sounds that can be gotten from chords.”

He went on to study piano at McGill University, and later moved to New York, where, with the help of a grant, he sustained himself as a musician for two years and became a pianist for Rufus Reid’s band.

“I worked really hard and even felt behind when I first arrived at NYC, playing with people my age who had been playing all their lives. But at age 26 I found a classical teacher who changed my life. Burton Hatheway, who is now 86, had to get me to forget everything I knew and start from the beginning. It was one of the hardest things I've ever been through — it took about five years to make progress and 10 for it to really sink in.” 

While in New York, Stetch threw himself into the scene. He did so many gigs that he learned to be quick-minded and versatile – playing through unfamiliar standards, figuring out keys, working with singers and making sure the phrases flowed beautifully, all on the go. His improvisations didn’t always work out the way he wanted, though – there were always ups and downs.

Part 4: Stetch demonstrates his reinterpretation of Chopin's Polonaise in A-flat.

“Sometimes they were magical performances, and sometimes I really disliked my own music. You’re your own worst critic, after all. But through the repeated formative experience of trying to improvise and having it fail so many times, the desire to make it better pushes you to find ways to improve.”

It was these heady experiences of failure and growth that made John the improvisational, forward-looking musician he is today — always changing, always evolving. Counterintuitive though it may seem, his decision to uproot and move across the country to study at UBC made perfect sense.

“It’s been a long time since I got feedback on my compositions, so I thought it’d be really neat to get honest feedback and criticism from people like Stephen Chatman, Dorothy Chang, and Keith Hamel, who’ve been listening critically to new music for decades,” he says. “It’s a special introduction to Vancouver, having this instant community of composers to work with.”

At the School of Music, Stetch is challenging himself to compose for instruments he has never worked with before, such as strings and brass.

“John is one of the most naturally and innately talented musicians I have worked with,” says Hamel. “He seems to have the ability to quickly absorb diverse musical styles, to understand the musical materials that comprise each style and to construct new works, which contain elements of the model but are uniquely personal. He understands composition as an act of communication between musicians and an audience, and he always writes with this foremost in his mind.”

Most recently, Stetch composed a piece for brass quintet for the ChanFare series performed by Thunderbird Brass this October at UBC’s Chan Centre. He will tour New York with his band Vulneraville in January.

Banner image by Takumi Hayashi/UBC School of Music


BONUS FOOTAGE: John Stetch on how to play the piano like a string instrument

Video: Tze Liew/UBC

High Notes | Spring 2018 Edition

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Welcome to the Spring 2018 edition of High Notes

In this issue, we talk to sound ecologist Hildegard Westerkamp (BMus'72) about technology, gender, and "trusting your inner voice." We showcase the School of Music's rare and beautiful "Zell" harpsichord, newly renovated thanks to a generous donor. And we learn about a new book project from School of Music faculty and alumni that is shining a light on important women composers from the Middle Ages until today. 
 

Also in the issue:

  • Mezzo-soprano Debi Wong on opera's potential to open up space for underrepresented groups

  • Winter ConcertsProkofiev's Peter and the Wolf, Bach's St John Passion, and Sanglots: Chansons of Love and Loss, featuring works by Bizet, Fauré, Poulenc and more.

  • In Pictures: Highlights from UBC Opera's 2017–18 season

  • Research & Publications: "Urban Processional Culture and the Soundscapes of Post-Reformation Germany," Viennese and Italian opera in the 19th century, plus new symposia from the Rhythm and Research Cluster

  • Alumni Making Waves: A Juno nomination, world premieres, and new orchestra positions

  • Beyond the GatesAssistant Professor Jonathan Girard named a 2018–19 Wall Scholar, Prof. Nancy Hermiston honoured for her contributions to opera, and Sessional Instructor Jocelyn Morlock wins a Juno Award

  • Catching Up with Our Students: Awards, publications, and highlights from the ethnomusicology program

  • New RecordingsWorks by Keith Hamel, Dorothy Chang, Stephen Chatman, Alan Matheson and more

As always, we want to hear from you! Send us your comments and story ideas.

 

 Kiran Bhumber demonstrates her Responsive User Body Suit.  Photo courtesy of Kiran Bhumber

Kiran Bhumber demonstrates her Responsive User Body Suit. Photo courtesy of Kiran Bhumber

 

A studio of one’s own: Innovators Hildegard Westerkamp (BMus'72) and Kiran Bhumber (BMus'14) on tech, gender, and 'trusting your inner voice' 

When Hildegard Westerkamp looks back on her decades-long career as an experimental composer and sound ecologist, she marvels at how much music production has changed. During her student days, there were no computer screens, no visualizers, no such thing as ‘digital.’ Everything was analogue and you relied solely on your ear as you edited. She remembers working in her studio, surrounded by pieces of audio reel that she had cut, marked, and hung up for quick reference until they could be spliced — literally taped together — into ambitious compositions that embraced unpredictability, marrying music, found sounds, and field recordings.

Her chosen instrument — the sounds of the environment — and the limitations of the technology available at the time necessitated deep listening and spurred creativity: “I tried to find the musicality in the sounds that I had recorded,” Westerkamp says. 

In so doing she helped pioneer the field of ‘sound ecology.’

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Rethinking the canon: Dr. Laurel Parsons on overlooked women composers

  Dr. Laurel Parsons (right) and Dr. Brenda Ravenscroft (left)

Dr. Laurel Parsons (right) and Dr. Brenda Ravenscroft (left)

UBC sessional instructor Dr. Laurel Parsons (MA’91, PhD’03) and McGill University’s Dr. Brenda Ravenscroft (PhD’93) are the editors of Analytical Essays on Music by Women Composers, a four-volume series of essays devoted to the study of music written by women composers. The first volume, which features essays on concert music composed between 1960 and 2000, recently won the Society for Music Theory’s 2018 award for the Outstanding Multi-Author Publication. With the release of the second volume fast approaching, we sat down with Parsons to discuss the project.

How did the project come about?

I did my dissertation on the music of Elisabeth Lutyens, who was a British composer. I started reading about how influential she was on British music of the time, but I couldn’t find anything more specific about how she was influential. I decided I would explore her music for my dissertation. At the same time, I started noticing how few papers there were on music by women. After tracking this for many years, it became clear to me that we had to do something to improve the representation of composers who were women in our discipline.

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 Alexander Weimann performs on the harpsichord.  Photo: Takumi Hayashi

Alexander Weimann performs on the harpsichord. Photo: Takumi Hayashi

 

The Gift of Music: Unveiling the School of Music's rare, newly refurbished harpsichord

This March, the School of Music unveiled one of the jewels of our instrument collection: a newly renovated double-manual harpsichord modeled on an 18th-century German original. Harpsichordist Alexander Weimann, along with violinist Chloe Meyers and viola da gamba player Natalie Mackie, showcased the new addition with a special concert at Roy Barnett Recital Hall featuring the works of German Baroque composers.

“Bach, Muffat, Buxtehude and Schmeltzer — it was the perfect repertoire, I think, to demonstrate what makes the instrument such an important and beautiful addition to the School,” says Professor Alex Fisher, who helped organize the renovation and the concert. 

Craftsman Craig Tomlinson built the harpsichord by hand in the 1980s, based on the original German design by Christian Zell (1728) that is preserved today in the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg. Celebrated for its rich sound and variety of different tone colours, Tomlinson’s masterful replica had begun to show its age and needed some significant improvements.

A generous donation by Marlene Yemchuk, in honour of her son David Yemchuk (B.Sc. 2010), made the renovation possible.

Read the full story

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"You don't have to fit into a box": Mezzo-soprano Debi Wong (BMus'08) on opera's potential to open up space for underrepresented groups

 Debi Wong.  Photo courtesy of the artist

Debi Wong. Photo courtesy of the artist

Mezzo soprano Debi Wong (BMus’08) believes that opera has the potential to establish a dialogue about underrepresented groups but all too often it goes unrealized. Even at major houses like the Metropolitan Opera, modern productions are still trapped in traditions and tropes which she says can have consequences for our society.

“If we are always telling the story about the woman in distress and the man who saves her, does that affect our cultural values?” she asks. Wong’s adaptation of Acis and Galatea premiere in September brought that question directly to Vancouver audiences.

In the production Wong played the character Acis, who in the original opera is a shepherd in love with Galatea, a nymph, and the two are persecuted for their love by the god Polyphemus. By changing one character’s gender and the mythical elements of Handel’s pastoral opera, Wong sought to create a space for the LGBTQ community in opera and make it more accessible to modern audiences.

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Winter concerts available on Livestream

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Watch the latest performances by the School of Music’s large and small ensembles on Livestream:

St John PassionOur grand, season-ending concert features an epic performance of the Bach masterpiece by UBC Choirs and Symphony Orchestra.

Peter and the Wolf: UBC Symphony Orchestra performs the Prokofiev classic, along with Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and selections from Satie and Poulenc. With guest appearance by UBC President Prof. Santa J. Ono as Narrator.

Sanglots: Chansons of Love and Loss (Part 1 | Part 2): Terence Dawson, piano, and J. Patrick Raftery, voice, perform beautiful and melancholy works by Bizet, Fauré, Duparc, Barber and Poulenc.

MOMENTmusic: UBC Symphonic Winds and Concert Winds perform works by John Philip Sousa, Frank Ticheli, David Maslanka, Ira Hearshen, and Aaron Copland 

Browse more of our recent concerts

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In Pictures: UBC Opera's 2017–18 season

The 2017–18 season was a busy one for UBC Opera, with ambitious productions of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice and Rossini's La Cenerentola, as well the annual Opera Ball fundraisers. Click on the image to load the slideshow:

 Scene from UBC Opera's  Orfeo ed Euridice.   Photo: Tim Matheson

Scene from UBC Opera's Orfeo ed Euridice. Photo: Tim Matheson


New research and publications

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Professor Alexander Fisher contributed a chapter entitled "'Mit singen und klingen': Urban Processional Culture and the Soundscapes of Post-Reformation Germany" to In Listening to Early Modern Catholicism, edited by Daniele V. Filippi and Michael Noone, 187-203. Leiden: Brill, 2017.

Professor John Roeder gave a keynote address, entitled “Comparing Musical Cycles Across the World,” at the 2018 Rocky Mountain Music Scholars Conference in Tucson, Arizona. He gave two talks at the Society for Music Theory’s annual conference: “Interactions of Folk Melody and Transformational (Dis)continuities in Chen Yi’s Ba Ban” and “How to create meter and why.”

Assistant Professor Ève Poudrier presented a talk entitled “The Influence of Grouping and Tempo on Subjective Metricization” at the recent Auditory Perception, Cognition and Action Meeting in Vancouver this past November. 

Assistant Professor Claudio Vellutini received a UBC Hampton Endowment Research Fund New Faculty Award for his book project, “Entangled Histories: Opera and Cultural Networks between Vienna and the Italian States, 1815–1848.” He also published an essay, "Opera and Monuments: Verdi's Ernani in Vienna and the Construction of Dynastic Memory,” in the Cambridge Opera Journal.

Continue reading research and publications news

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 Jared Miller.  Photo: CBC

Jared Miller. Photo: CBC

 

Alumni Making Waves: World premieres, new orchestra positions, and a Juno nomination 

Jared Miller (BMus’10) was commissioned by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) to create a new work inspired by classic techno music. DSO and Leonard Slatkin will perform the piece for the very first time on May 31st and June 2nd, 2018 along with works by Chopin and Stravinsky. CBC News recently profiled Jared.

In November, Stephanie Nakagawa (BMus’09, DMA’17) received a Barbara Pentland Award from the Canadian Music Centre BC for her remarkable doctoral project, The Canadian Opera Anthology for Soprano.

Fraser Walters (BMus’03) and his group The Tenors were nominated for a 2018 Juno Award in the category of Adult Contemporary Album of the Year for Christmas Together, which “captures the joy and magic of the season, combining a mix of holiday classics, contemporary favourites and original songs.” This was The Tenors' third Juno nomination — they won in the same category in 2013.

Composer and saxophonist Colin MacDonald (BMus’93) premiered The Sky Is a Clock, his ambitious, hour-long audio installation at the Roundhouse Community Centre in November 2017. Presented by Redshift Music as part of its “Sonologues” series, Colin’s piece interweaves recordings of 16 saxophones to “create a pulsating and slowly evolving texture of sound that mimics the rotation of the stars in the sky.”

Continue reading alumni news

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 Left to right: Dr. Jonathan Girard, Prof. Nancy Hermiston, Alexander Weimann

Left to right: Dr. Jonathan Girard, Prof. Nancy Hermiston, Alexander Weimann

 

Beyond the Gates

Assistant Professor and Director of Orchestras Jonathan Girard has been named a Peter Wall Institute Wall Scholar for 2018–19. As one of nine scholars “tasked with finding new approaches to critically important questions,” Dr. Girard will work with 2017 Peter Wall Institute Visiting Artist Deborah Carruthers on a graphical score for orchestra, and has plans to commission new orchestral works that explore sonic expressions of climate change.

In November, the Canadian Music Centre honoured Professor Nancy Hermiston with a Barbara Pentland Award of Excellence for the UBC Opera’s many commissions, performances, and support of Canadian music.

Sessional Instructor and harpsichordist Alexander Weimann was nominated alongside Arion Orchestre Baroque for the Juno Award for Classical Album of the Year (Large Ensemble). Their album, Rebelles Baroques, is hailed for the "clarity and freshness of [its] interpretations" and attention to detail. Weimann is the Principal Artist and Director of the School of Music's Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Program.

Continue reading faculty news

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Catching up with our students: Awards, publications, and highlights from the ethnomusicology program

 Julia Ùlehla

Julia Ùlehla

Fourth-year BMus student Kurt Ward-Theiss, baritone, and first-year BMus student Jonathan Lopez, clarinet, received bursaries from the Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir. Kurt and Jonathan performed in the Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir Celtic concerts on St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Maple Ridge and at Christ Church Cathedral. The Vancouver Welsh Men’s Choir Student Bursaries advance the ensemble’s mission of collaborating with and supporting youth choirs and soloists in our community.

PhD student Julia Ùlehla, Aram Bajakian (MMus’17) and their group their Dálava garnered critical praise for The Book of Transfigurations, their most recent album. The Province included Dálava on its “10 best live concerts in Vancouver” list, while The Chicago Reader’s Peter Margasak named The Book of Transfigurations one of his top 40 records of the year. The album came in at number eight. 

PhD candidate Antares Boyle won the Society for Music Theory’s prestigious SMT-40 Dissertation Fellowship for her dissertation project, “Formation and Process in Repetitive Post-Tonal Music,” which theorizes how musical segments, processes, and larger forms arise in recent post-tonal works that feature extensive varied repetition. The $3500 fellowship recognizes and fosters excellent research in music theory by helping highly qualified Ph.D. students to complete their dissertations.

Continue reading student news

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New Recordings

Two new compositions by Professor Keith Hamel — “Touch” and “Corona” — appear on Music4Eyes+Ears, a multimedia project created by pianist Megumi Masaki. The project “explores how sound, image, text and movement can interact in live performance.”

Professor Stephen Chatman released Dawn of Night (CMC Centrediscs, 2017), a collaboration with Conductor Hilary Apfelstadt and the University of Toronto’s Macmillan Singers that weds original music with the poetry of Joanna Lilley, Christina Rossetti, Sarah Teasdale, and Tara Wohlberg and others.

Sessional lecturer Alan Matheson and Wade Mikkola released the second volume of their Souvenirs project, a collection of jazz interpretations of Finnish composers, on AMK Recordings.

See all new recordings

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Do you have a story? Let us know!

If you're a UBC Music alumnus and you have news to share, please send a note to tyler.stiem@ubc.ca. We're always looking for stories for upcoming editions of High Notes and our other networks.

 

New recordings

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Two new compositions by Professor Keith Hamel — “Touch” and “Corona” — appear on Music4Eyes+Ears, a multimedia project created by pianist Megumi Masaki. The project “explores how sound, image, text and movement can interact in live performance.”

Watch the album trailer

 

Professor Stephen Chatman released Dawn of Night (CMC Centrediscs, 2017), a collaboration with Conductor Hilary Apfelstadt and the University of Toronto’s Macmillan Singers that weds original music with the poetry of Joanna Lilley, Christina Rossetti, Sarah Teasdale, and Tara Wohlberg and others.

Listen to Dawn of Night (Spotify)

 
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Composer and sessional instructor Jocelyn Morlock (MMus’96, DMA’02)’s new album, Halcyon (CMC Centrediscs), features a who’s who of great Canadian musicians, including baritone Tyler Duncan (BMus’98), cellists Ariel Barnes and Joseph Elworthy, conductor Leslie Dala (MMus’96), pianists Corey Hamm and Erika Switzer (BMus’97, MMus’00), vibraphonist Vern Griffiths (BCom’90, BMus’94), violinist Nicholas Write, and soprano Robyn Driedger-Klassen (BMus’00). Morlock’s new piece “Petrichor” appears on Duo Concertante's Incarnation, and her Juno Award-winning composition “My Name Is Amanda Todd” appears on the National Arts Centre’s Life Reflected. 

Listen to Halcyon (Spotify)

 
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Also in December, Sessional lecturer Alan Matheson and Wade Mikkola released the second volume of their Souvenirs project, a collection of jazz interpretations of Finnish composers, on AMK Recordings.

Listen to Souvenirs (Spotify)

 

 

The Vancouver-based saxophone quartet Saxophilia, featuring sessional lecturer Julia Nolan and alumnus Colin MacDonald (BMus ’93), released their debut self-titled album in December on Redshift Records. The album includes compositions by Professor Dorothy Chang, alumnus Peter Hannan (BMus ’75), John Burke, and Colin MacDonald. Listen to Saxophilia (Spotify)


Julia Nolan also appears on Chor Leoni Men’s Choir’s new album, Wandering Heart, on Elektra Women’s Choir’s latest, Your One and Only Life, and on Sea and Sky Ensemble's Chromaticity.

Composer Denis Bedard’s new album, Works for Organ and Other Instruments, features Nolan on saxophone and Katherine Evans, the School of Music’s Manager of Admissions, on trumpet.