History and Administration
The University of Alberta joined the University of Manitoba and University of Saskatchewan in 1934 to form the Western Board of Music, and the board's Alberta examinations were conducted on the university campus. In the years prior to Second World War organ recitals were given frequently on the University Memorial Organ in Convocation Hall. After the war John Reymes King, head of music 1945-7, and Richard Eaton, head 1947-67, laid the foundations of the first music program in the midwestern provinces to offer professional degrees. The University of Alberta National Award in Music was established in 1951.
In 1958 a Department of Fine Arts was established with three constituent divisions, one of which was music. The umbrella department ceased to exist in 1965, when individual departments of art, drama, and music were constituted. Eaton continued as head of the music department. Thomas Rolston was acting chair 1967-9, followed by Robert Stangeland as chair 1969-78, and Brian Harris as acting chair 1978-9. Stangeland was appointed chair again in 1979 and was succeeded by Alfred Fisher in 1986. Fisher was succeeded by Wesley Berg 1989-95 (with Leonard Ratzlaff as acting chair in 1993); Fordyce C. Pier 1995-2003; Ratzlaff 2003-8; David Gramit beginning in 2008; and Debra Cairns as interim chair, beginning in 2011.
Faculty and Alumni
Members of the teaching staff have included Violet Archer, Helmut Brauss, Regula Burckhardt Quereshi, Debra Cairns, Arthur Crighton, Jacques Després, Malcolm Forsyth, Michael Frishkopf, Claude Kenneson, Stéphane Lemelin, Edward Lincoln, Alexandra Munn, Tanya Prochazka, Manus Sasonkin, William Street, and Patricia Tao, among others. Composer and organist Gerhard Krapf (b Meissenheim, Germany 12 Dec 1924, d Edmonton 2 Jul 2008) taught at the university 1977-87, during which time he supervised the installation of the school's Casavant organ and developed the doctoral program in organ performance, the first at an English-Canadian university. Visiting professors at the University of Alberta Department of Music have included Donna Brown, Beverley Diamond, William P. Malm, Jean-Jacques Nattiez, Bruno Nettl, and Ivars Taurins.
Facilities and Resources
The Fine Arts Building, shared by the art and design, drama, and music departments, opened in 1973, providing rehearsal halls; classrooms; teaching studios; practice rooms; an electroacoustic studio (added in 1999); and the Music Resources Centre, which held collected editions, study scores, music for performance, basic reference material, audio equipment, and recordings. In 1996 the bulk of the music reference collection, microforms, major periodicals, printed music, recordings, and books on music were transferred to the Music Library at the University of Alberta's Rutherford Library.
The department offered its first ethnomusicology course in 1983 and founded the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology in 1995. In addition to 4,000 recordings of traditional and world music, the Centre houses an instrument collection, a sound museum, and a research lab for field recording analysis. The department is also home to the Moses and Frances Asch Collection of Folkways Recordings, acquired in 1985. The collection was digitized in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution in 2004 under the folkwaysAlive! initiative.Founding director of folkwaysAlive! Gary Kachanoski was succeeded by Jonathan Kertzer in 2011.
Performance facilities at the University of Alberta Department of Music include the 435-seat Convocation Hall and the 50-seat recital hall, Studio 27.
Students, staff, and visitors have presented annually some 200 public performances, some of them on the 40-rank, three-manual Casavant tracker organ which replaced the Memorial Organ in Convocation Hall in 1978. Performing ensembles have included the University of Alberta String Quartet (1969-85), the Academy Strings, the Academy Winds and Percussion, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the Brass Quintet, Concert Band, Concert Choir, guitar ensemble, two jazz bands, the Happnin' Jazz Choir, Madrigal Singers, a Collegium Musicum (Edmonton) founded by Arthur Crighton, as well as Indian, Middle Eastern and African ensembles. Among the department's orchestras was one conducted by Thomas Rolston and Claude Kenneson prior to 1969; the St Cecilia Chamber Orchestra, founded in 1969 with 15-20 strings (student, amateur and professional), with winds added on occasion, and conducted by Michael Bowie; the St Cecilia Orchestra, a symphonic group active 1971-5, conducted by Bowie; a string ensemble active 1975-7 conducted by Lawrence Fisher and Kenneson; a symphony orchestra active 1977-86, conducted by Malcolm Forsyth; the University of Alberta Chamber Orchestra, founded in 1986, conducted in 1991 by Norman Nelson; and the University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Tanya Prochazka beginning in 1998 and Petar Dundjerski.
Concert series at the University of Alberta have included The Nicholas Arthur Kilburn Memorial Concert Series (begun in 1981), which has presented Canadian and international artists such as Elly Ameling, Maureen Forrester, Marek Jablonski, Eugene Istomin, Ofra Harnoy, Louis Quilico, Paul Jacobs, and Russell Braun, among others; the Ovation series, begun in 2007; Music at Convocation Hall, a 12-concert subscription series featuring faculty performances (begun in 1994); and Music at Winspear, a six-concert series featuring student performances at the Winspear Centre. In 1991 Paul Badura-Skoda was the first artist for the Tri Bach artist-in-residence program; others included Robert Aitken, Jane Coop, Andrew Dawes, Eric Ericson, and Edith Wiens.
Author Arthur Crighton, Philip M. Wults, Sarah Church
Stangeland, R.A. "Performances mirror department courses," The Music Scene, 253, May-Jun 1970
Levesque, Roger. "New U of A centre promises a world of music at the touch of a keystroke," Edmonton Journal, 18 May 2005
In Tune: Words on Music (University of Alberta Department of Music), Sept-Oct 1990 - Winter 2007-2008
Links to Other Sites
University of Alberta
This is the official website of the University of Alberta.
The website for folkwaysAlive! Check out the latest news about their collections and educational programs. From the University of Alberta’s Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology in collaboration with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.
100 Years of the Sounds of Music
This article offers historical highlights of the University of Alberta's Department of Music. From the website "The University of Alberta at 100 years."