Musicologist Elizabeth Lamberton (MA’78, PhD’88) fondly recalls her time at UBC. She credits her inspiring professors with helping her to discover her own lifelong passion: teaching.
By Michelle Keong
“I immediately felt that being in front of a class was where I was meant to be,” says Lamberton, who began her career as a sessional lecturer at UBC in 1989, teaching courses in music history. In 1993 she joined Kwantlen College (now Kwantlen Polytechnic University), where she taught music history until 2012, when she gave up teaching for health reasons.
Lamberton’s interest in the development of young people and her appreciation for her alma mater led her to establish student scholarships through a significant gift from her estate.
“It gives me such a great sense of fulfillment because I can continue to help students in perpetuity,” says Lamberton, whose gift will establish scholarships in musicology and voice, reflecting her belief that historical research informs performance practice. “UBC gave so much to me and I am happy to give back.”
After studying piano at the University of Regina, Lamberton came to UBC to begin graduate studies in musicology. Her master’s thesis developed from her interest in the Romantic period, and focused on Brahms’s piano quintet. Her doctoral dissertation on the 19th-century French critic Ernest Reyer eventually took her to the libraries of Paris, and reflected her fascination with French music and language, which continues to this day. While still a graduate student, she also developed a deep appreciation of early music, in part inspired by her UBC mentor, Professor Emeritus J. Evan Kreider. The musicology scholarship to be established from Lamberton’s estate is expected to serve as one of the largest awards for students in the discipline at UBC.
The establishment of a scholarship in voice reflects Lamberton’s abiding interest in opera. During her student days she went to Minneapolis to attend performances by New York’s Metropolitan Opera on tour, an experience which sparked her love of the genre and led to a great awareness of the need to support gifted young singers.
“It is our duty as alumni to provide the ways and means for students to succeed and continue their studies,” Lamberton says. “It is very difficult to persevere through many years of study without the encouragement and validation of financial support.”
When she talks about helping students, Lamberton’s face lights up. A teacher to the core, she considers the scholarships a completion of her life’s work: “This is a way to perpetuate my love of teaching and to fulfil my desire to help students.”