Author Archive for Faculty100

I know lots about Beethoven!

One of the faculty duties that I enjoyed was the annual round of admission auditions/ interviews. It provided a fresh view of the orientation and background of incoming students which I found to be valuable when preparing my classes. The most memorable of these took place in the late 80s, involving a young, enthusiastic flute player who was applying for admission to the general program.  She played well and had a strong grade average, making her a good candidate.  Her answers during the interview were all very confident: she knew what she knew!  Near the end of the interview we asked her if she knew anything about Beethoven:

“Yes, I know lots about Beethoven!”

“Do you know if he wrote any symphonies?”

“Yes.  He wrote two: the Fifth and the Ninth!”

  • Professor Emeritus Timothy McGee

Faculty Christmas Party Memories

I also remember the annual Christmas party that was held in the lobby of the EJB. Members of the Faculty created performances that defy explanation or description but were enjoyed by all. I especially remember William Aide and his farmer routine. The late Dean Gus Ciamaga improvised with a rhythm section plus ‘yours truly’ and we always had to play his favourite “Blue Skies”. The Faculty of Music Dixieland Combo performed and you can imagine the sound of the ‘Legit-Dixie’ mix. There were also performances by special guests like MP Bob Rae (piano) and Oliver Jones with now Faculty member Dave Young. I recall that we were giving Oliver and Dave U of T Faculty of Music Jackets. When Oliver, who is small in stature, tried his on it was so big that he disappeared. We ordered another jacket in his size and I bought the oversized culprit, I still wear it today………miss those Christmas parties……THOSE WERE THE DAYS.

  • Professor Phil Nimmons, Director Emeritus of Jazz Studies

Jazz Program Beginnings

It’s 1973 and I was hired by then Dean John Beckwith and Performance Coordinator Ezra Schabas to take over directing the Faculty of Music Big Band from Ward Cole, who was leaving to go out west to the University of Calgary. The sessions were during the Fall and Spring terms on Mondays from 7 to 9pm and membership was voluntary from the entire University regardless of what Faculty and from the general public. During my early days with the band we didn’t always have a full complement and it was suggested that we put a trap line on Bloor Street to capture any busking musicians and bring them into the band. However, in the long run things improved and eventually there were 2 bands and they rehearsed from 7 to 9 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays and full attendance was consistent. Little did we know, at the time, that this was the seminal beginning of the Jazz Program which later, after more than a few years, became a reality through Dean Paul Pedersen who hired Paul Read as its first Director. Its beginning was bumpy but today, in every way, it is SWINGING.

Photo: Phil Nimmons performing in Toronto, photo by Bruce Litteljohn.

  • Professor Phil Nimmons, Director Emeritus of Jazz Studies

My best Faculty Experience

In fourth year Douglas Bodle put together a chamber choir. I was invited to join (not sure why) but it was one of the highlights of my years at the Faculty. I learned so much about phrasing, balance, ensemble, intonation and overall music-making from his coaching.

  • Harcus Hennigar (BMus 1974, horn)

No one steps into the same Music Library twice

The pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus insisted that the only constant in the universe is change. In describing my 40 years at the Faculty I like to adapt one of his fragments to say that no one steps into the same Music Library twice. Every day more scores and books, and almost every day music in new audio and video formats are added. Locating and using these resources once meant card and book catalogues and searches in the stacks; technology is putting more and more within reach of your personal computer. Library users appear as students, then reappear 20 years later as professional performers or teachers thrilled to see the changes in the ease and breadth of access in their areas of interest. Whether you just dip your toe in the river of knowledge, or plunge right in, you can be sure it will be deeper and richer the next time you visit.

  • Kathleen McMorrow, Librarian Emerita

Collegiality of Faculty Members

When I first came to the Faculty of Music I was pleasantly surprised that, unlike the majority of music programs in universities and conservatories in North America and other parts of the world, the piano faculty would teach a master class in rotation allowing students to receive feedback from multiple approaches. I find that initiative open-minded and healthy for all of us. I am very proud that this was possible at U of T when I know that, in fact, it is very rare elsewhere! Colleagues are very collegial at the Faculty of Music and that is a very important matter I am very happy about.

  • Enrico Elisi, Associate Professor: Keyboard, Piano

Full circle: from student to teacher

I graduated in 2005 with my Masters in Music, and in 2009 with my Doctorate. I was working full time when I went back to school and chose to continue working while pursuing my Masters, so I could implement what I was learning in my clinical practice. I chose U of T for my advanced degrees due to the prestige of the University, and the reputation of the faculty who I knew would support me on my journey. The research I carried out as part of my doctoral thesis explored an area of music therapy that had not yet been studied in any detail at that time. I personally learned so much from that study and have been fortunate to share the results and the implications for practice with many others around the world. My work is cited often, and the University of Toronto and I am recognized for my expertise in the area of relationship completion through music therapy in palliative care. Since graduating I have continued to research a number of varied areas in music and health including singing for health and wellness, rhythmic sensory stimulation and Alzheimer’s disease, and electronic music technologies in music therapy etc. A few of these studies have been with my former doctoral supervisor Dr. Lee Bartel. When I was hired to work as a part time professor at the University of Toronto, in the Faculty of Music I felt so much pride, and that things had come full circle. I was so excited and honoured to be given this role. I deeply love teaching and mentoring students; and sharing my clinical work and research in the classroom each week. I enjoy inspiring the next generation of music and health researchers, music therapists and music educators. Thank you U of T for making my dreams come true!

  • Amy Clements-Cortes (PhD 2009, MMus 2005)

Musical inspirations

One of the great rewards as a professor in the Jazz Area is to hear the artistic growth of our students that culminates in their final recitals.  It truly is inspiring to hear the original and creative sounds that our students produce year after year.

Equally thrilling for me was the opportunity to work with one of my former teachers, David Liebman, at U of T thanks to the support of Dean Don MacLean and our donors John and Claudine Bailey.  We were able to hire Liebman as a visiting adjunct professor in 2014 which was a fantastic boost for our program and a wonderful inspiration to our students.  Having access to an artist who worked and recorded with Miles Davis, Elvin Jones and other legendary musicians offered an invaluable experience to all of us at U of T Jazz.

Liebman also recorded two critically acclaimed albums at U of T during his time with us, one with students and one with faculty.  Sweet Ruby Suite, with the UTJO directed by Gordon Foote, featured the music of Kenny Wheeler with Liebman and vocalist Norma Winstone as featured soloists.  Live at U of T, as the title suggests, was recorded live at the Upper Jazz Studio at 90 Wellesley by Professor Jeff Wolpert and students from his MMus sound recording program.  Featuring Liebman, myself, and fellow faculty members Jim Vivian and Terry Clark, this recording managed to capture the energy of live jazz played in an intimate setting for an engaged audience.

What a thrill be able to do all of this as my “work”.

  • Mike Murley, Associate Professor, Jazz Saxophone

U of T music professor wins prestigious international award

One of the most prominent figures in the field of percussion performance, U of T Professor Emeritus Russell Hartenberger has been awarded the 2017 Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts.

“This recognition is for his lifetime commitment to cultivating and shaping our understanding of music and performance across cultures and genres, respecting the diversity of world traditions,” said the World Cultural Council in a news release.

The award also recognizes the former dean of the Faculty of Music’s “commitment to teaching and inspiring new generations of young musicians and scholars” and for being “a virtuoso soloist whose technical mastery encompasses virtually every percussion instrument imaginable.”

“I’m deeply honoured to receive the Leonard Da Vinci World Award of Arts from the World Cultural Council. While it is personally humbling to receive this acknowledgment, I feel that the award is a recognition by the WCC of the significance of percussion in the musical world today,” Hartenberger said.

“I also want to thank the Faculty of Music and the University of Toronto for providing the support that has allowed me to pursue a multifaceted career in music. The performers, educators, composers, researchers and students have been inspirational to me as I have pursued my various dreams.”

In 1966, Hartenberger received his bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Fred D. Hinger. He completed his master’s degree in 1969 from The Catholic University of America. In 1974, he received his PhD in world music from Wesleyan University, venturing into a range of instruments, including mridangam with Ramnad Raghavan of South India, tabla with Sharda Sahai of North India, Javanese gamelan with Prawotosaputro and West African drumming with Abraham Adzinyah.

He’s a founding member of groundbreaking percussion ensemble Nexus and was recently on tour with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Europe and Israel. Hartenberger has been a member of the Steve Reich and Musicians ensemble since 1971 and has performed throughout the world, including appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Cologne Radio Orchestra and BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Hartenberger is also the author of Performance Practice in the Music of Steve Reich (Cambridge, 2016) and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Percussion (2016).

“This award is well-deserved recognition for an outstanding career that has seen Professor Emeritus Russell Hartenberger not only push the boundaries of his field in music but also help develop other young musicians here at the University of Toronto,” said Vivek Goel, vice-president of research and innovation. “We’d like to congratulate Professor Hartenberger and thank the World Cultural Council for this incredible honour.”

Since 1984, the WCC has granted prizes to outstanding scientists, educators and artists whose breakthroughs in the fields of knowledge, learning and research have contributed positively to the cultural enrichment of mankind.

Each of the World Cultural Council’s three international awards have now been won by U of T scholars and artists.

In 2011, the Albert Einstein World Award of Science went to Geoffrey Ozin, University Professor of chemistry in the Faculty of Arts & Science and Canada Research Chair in nanochemistry.

In 2006 the José Vasconcelos World Award of Education went to Professor Marlene Scardamalia at U of T’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

This year, the awards ceremony will take place on Nov. 8 at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Read more about humanities at U of T

See the top 11 reasons to study the humanities

Featured photo (top): The World Cultural Council is awarding U of T Professor Emeritus Russell Hartenberger with the 2017 Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts (photo by Lauren Vogel Weiss)

#UofTGrad17: meet U of T’s Accordion Guy

You may have already heard the sweet, melancholic tunes coming out of Michael Bridge’s accordion.

He is U of T’s Accordion Guy.

Bridge started playing when he was just 5 years old and has stayed with the instrument since then. He came to U of T’s Faculty of Music for his undergrad, stayed on for grad school and on June 12th, he’ll be graduating with a master’s degree in music performance. Up next, he’ll begin doctoral work for accordion performance – also at U of T.

The accordion virtuoso says U of T’s graduate program “changed his understanding of what the accordion can do.”

Hear him play Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah: