Monday, September 13, 2010

New Faculty!

Today is an exciting day in the School of Music as we are welcoming several new woodwind instructors. You won't find a finer collection of people to blow air through a pipe in this province! Our new roster includes:

Brian James - Oboe
Jack Chen - Flute
Eileen Walsh - Clarinet
Christopher Palmer - Bassoon
Tristan DeBorba - Saxophone

If you see them wandering around the halls, please welcome them (and help them figure out where they are going).

I also would like to welcome Laura Harris, our new part-time musicologist who will be teaching some of the music history courses, thus allowing me to preserve some semblance of sanity this year!

Monday, September 6, 2010


Welcome back to all of our returning students. This looks like it's going to be a terrific year! And welcome to our HUGE new class of first-year students. We were thrilled with the auditions and are really happy that so many chose to attend Acadia. There is a lot to update you on so here goes:

1) First of all, my blogging over the past few years has been really lame. I would deserve a D- for my efforts. I'm going to attempt to post blog submissions at least once per week this year. At the end, feel free to email me a (hopefully higher) grade. So please check back here often and subscribe to the blog.

2) Welcome Assembly and Barbecue - we will have our welcome assembly this Thursday, September 9 at 1130 in Denton Hall. As usual, the assembly will feature great student performances, an introduction of the faculty, a presentation by the SAMS council, and profound words of wisdom from yours truly. This will be followed by a barbecue outside of Denton Hall. All students are required to attend.

3) We kicked out the percussionists! This summer we officially took over the rest of the Festival Theatre Building. First thing we did was kick those pesky percussionists out of Denton. Now they will have a lot more space to crash and bang. Mark Adam has also moved his office down there so the hair-to-faculty ratio has gone way down! In addition to the percussion studio, the wind ensemble, symphonic band, new horizons band, and jazz big band have also moved their rehearsals and performances to the FTB. We now have way more space in Denton for offices and storage, and the stage will be much easier to book. Please stop down and see the percussionists occasionally so it doesn't get too "Lord of the Flies" down there!

OK I'm getting bored. I'll update you on some more stuff in my next blog post. For now, I hope you have a great year! Stop by and say hi when you get a chance. You know where to find me!


Monday, March 29, 2010

The School of Music will be holding two weeks of exciting summer programs as part of our Summer Music Academy!

The concert band camps will be held from July 11-16. These camps accommodate musicians of varying ages and levels of ability. The camps will once again be run by Ardith Haley and will feature an impressive roster of faculty.

We have redesigned our summer jazz program as an intensive workshop experience. The jazz workshop will be directed by Mark Adam from Acadia and Paul Tynan from St. FX and will feature an impressive faculty including Dave Staples, Tom Easley, and special guest Mike Murley!

This year we are also starting a summer string festival. This is targeted mainly to high school and undergraduate string players and will feature intensive lessons and coaching sessions, ensemble work, and chamber and solo performing opportunities. The festival will be directed by Symphony Nova Scotia Concertmaster and Acadia violin instructor Robert Uchida. Faculty will include Norm Adams, principal cello from Symphony Nova Scotia, and Dave Stewart from the University of Ottawa.

Finally, we hold a new guitar camp. This will feature opportunities for guitarists to study classical, jazz, or popular guitar styles. The camp will be Directed by Ken Davidson and the faculty will be announced soon.

The jazz, string, and guitar programs will run July 4-9.

Stay tuned for more information!


Sunday, February 1, 2009


There is one more event left in this year's New Music Festival. In a few hours, we'll see and hear a film with a live music soundtrack composed by five student composers from regional universities. James Fogerty from Universite de Moncton, Robert Drisdelle from Dalhousie, Denis Callaghan from Memorial, Lukus Uhlamn from Mount Allison, and Carmen Braden from Acadia have each composed part of the live soundtrack for Vertov's "Man with a Movie Camera." It will all be performed live today at the Al Whittle Theatre in Wolfville.

Since my last post, there have been two wonderful concerts as well as a fascinating lecture by Russell Hartenberger called "Subdivide and Conquer: Capturing the Hidden Beat." Last night's concert was a great success. We had a good crowd despite the bad weather and the performances were extraordinary. Mark Hopkins described the concert as epic! Each piece was a tour de force that had all of us in the audience spellbound, ending with a wonderful performance of John Luther Adams' "The Farthest Place" by the newly-formed Tidal Pool Collective Ensemble.

Special thanks to Derek Charke and Mark Hopkins for planning the festival. It reached a new level this year and I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with for next year! 

Friday, January 30, 2009

NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL in full swing!

Today is day three of the New Music Festival. The first two days of the festival have been terrific. On Wednesday, we were bombarded with percussionists beginning with guest artist Russell Hartenberger's percussion masterclass in the morning. The stage was freezing cold but the students still played very well and Russell's insight into the pieces and performing techniques was fascinating. He spent the rest of the day giving lessons to our students. Wednesday evening was the first concert and we had a record festival attendance. Russell introduced works by Steve Reich and John Cage. We heard fascinating stories about his role in the creation of the seminal Reich works Six Pianos/Marimbas and Music for Pieces of Wood. The students performed very well - great kick off to the festival.

I was pleased to see so many students and faculty at my lecture on "Metrical Processes in Rock Music" yesterday and I'm looking forward to Russell's lecture today. Last night's concert was another success. The faculty, students, and ensembles performed very well and we were treated to a wide variety of music from Prokofiev's 7th Sonata performed by Ron Tomarelli to Ives' "The Unanswered Question" to a very interesting piece for vibes, marimba, and darabuka by Ken Shorley. And the stage was nice and warm!

Tonight's concert looks very exciting with many of our faculty and guest performers taking the stage to perform works by Ferneyhough, Messiaen, Adams (John and John Luther), and faculty composer Derek Charke among others.

Check out the website for complete information about the festival.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Indonesian Gamelan: Reception and Unveiling

The Gamelan is here! The instruments will be unveiled at a special ceremony in the Acadia Art Gallery on Friday, November 21st at 7pm. These custom-built instruments were forged in the workshop of Pak Tentrem, on the island of Java, in the summer of 2008. The Gamelan will be on display in the art gallery until November 28th when the instruments will officially take up residence in the School of Music.

Special thanks to Ken Shorley and Heidi Kalyani for acquiring these instruments!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Welcome Assembly and Barbecue

School has been back for two weeks now so I hope everyone is settling in to their classes and most of the scheduling issues have been worked out. This year we have branched out our space to include some offices and teaching space in the Festival Theatre Building. Mark Hopkins, Patty Creighton, Jolene Buccholz, Chris Wilkinson, Jack Brownell, Curtis Dietz, and Mary Lee will all be teaching from there. As well, Conducting, Teaching Music through Band, Advanced Musicianship, and Post-Tonal Theory will meet in room 105 of the Festival Theatre Building for weekly classes. 

In my last post, I erroneously reported that our annual Welcome Back Assembly and Barbecue would be held on Friday, September 12th. Obviously this didn't happen. I apologize for those of you who made plans around this. To be honest, I didn't know anyone was actually reading this blog! The date set now is Friday, September 26th. We will begin with an assembly in Denton Auditorium and hopefully move outside for the barbecue.

I will be away on September 18-19 and Dr. Christoph Both will be filling in as Acting Director.