Graduate Colloquium Series

Our Graduate Colloquium series includes lectures by distinguished guests, our own faculty, and senior graduate students on all fields of research and creative activity in music.

Check out the schedule below for our upcoming colloquia this year. Admission is free and open to all. Hope to see you there!

All Colloquium events will take place on selected Fridays at 3:30pm via Zoom until further notice.

Please contact for more information.

Upcoming 2021-22 Colloquia


Friday, March 25 | 3:30pm
Alexander Rehding (Harvard University)
Music and the Anthropocene: Taking the Long View

Register to Attend

Alexander RehdingBio
Alexander Rehding is Fanny Peabody Professor of Music at Harvard University. He obtained a PhD from Cambridge University in 1998 and went on to postdoctoral fellowships at Cambridge, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton, before joining Harvard’s Music Department at Harvard in 2003. Rehding’s research in music theory and history focuses on questions of music and identity, cultural transfer, historiography, as well as ecomusicology, media theory, sound studies, and digital humanities. He has published on music ranging from ancient Egypt to the Eurovision Song contest, from Plato to neuroaesthetics, from Wagner to Chinese music. His monographs include Hugo Riemann and the Birth of Modern Musical Thought (2003), Music and Monumentality (2011), Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 (2017), and Alien Listening (2021). He was editor for Acta musicologica (2006–2011), editor-in-chief of the Oxford Handbooks Online series in Music (2011–2019), and is currently series editor of the six-volume Cultural History of Western Music by Bloomsbury. His contributions have been recognized with such awards as a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Dent Medal of the Royal Musical Association and the International Musicological Society, and a John F. Sawyer grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. A 2018 conference was dedicated to his concept of “Music-Theoretical Instruments.” His interest in integrating digital technology into teaching and research led him to found Harvard’s Sound Lab in 2012. He is now working on two new books, one examining the role of instruments in the shaping of musical thought, and one on music and the Anthropocene.

Music and Climate Change?—Is an exploration of “listening” while the world is on fire not the equivalent of rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic? Can something that often entertains us shed light on something that should deeply concern us? This talk offers some not-so-obvious answers to some burning questions of our time. The first step to take for any eco-musicology is to critically examine its hyphen. Much attention has gone to the prefix eco-, but this will go nowhere if the other side is not also reviewed, and we revise our notion of what we mean by music.

It is useful to remember that the Anthropocene, defined as the geological epoch that is shaped by human intervention and officially accepted by vote by the International Geological Society in 2008, serves first and foremost as a historiographic device. (On the geological clock, the differences between its narrow definition, which sets the detonation of nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 as its starting point, its broader version, which is tied to the burning of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution, or even its latest definition, which takes the American conquest around 1500 as its starting point, pale into insignificance.) As such the Anthropocene is absolutely a topic for humanistic inquiry. The humanities have now taken up the challenge—though music, no doubt because of its complex materiality, is easily sidelined besides other artforms that enjoy more direct forms of representation. My paper zooms in on Jem Finer’s Longplayer (1999), a composition that explodes our conventional notion of what constitutes music and that tackles musically a number of issues central to the climate debate, and unpacks some broader points on either side of the hyphen.

Recent Colloquia


Friday, November 19 | 3:30pm
Andrea Creech (McGill University)
“Signature Pedagogies and Musical Possible Selves” 

Andrea Creech headshot

Dr. Andrea Creech is Professor of Music Pedagogy and Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University. Following an international music performance career Andrea was awarded a PhD in Psychology in Education from the Institute of Education, University of London, where she subsequently was appointed Reader in Education. She returned to Canada in 2016, as Canada Research Chair in Music in Community at Université Laval. Andrea’s research has covered a wide range of issues in formal and informal music education contexts, including interpersonal dynamics, informal learning, inclusion, lifelong learning, and music for positive youth development.

Musical possible selves are musical self-stories that shape and guide our musical learning and participation. Our musical possible selves offer coherence in our musical lives, functioning as a link between cognition and motivation by pulling us towards (or propelling us away from) future experiences of musicking. In this presentation, I will explore some ways in which the signature pedagogies of music learning and participation – including foundational values, frameworks for learning, and core pedagogical practices - can have profound implications for the musical ‘self-stories’ that we construct throughout our lives. I will draw upon three research examples representing diverse contexts, demonstrating the multifaceted nature of pedagogies that support learners in navigating experiential, imaginal, conceptual and practical learning and thereby developing elaborate understandings of themselves as musicians. A key message is that musical possible selves are developmental and lifelong narratives that emerge at the intersection of context, values, dimensions of learning, and frameworks for facilitation.


Friday, October 15 | 3:30pm
Shana L. Redmond (Columbia University)
"Antiphonal Life: The Return of Paul Robeson”

Shana L. Redmond headshot

Shana L. Redmond (she|her) is the author of Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora (NYU Press, 2014) and Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson (Duke UP, 2020), which received the Walter and Lillian Lowenfels Award for Criticism (an American Book Award) from the Before Columbus Foundation. She is Professor of English and Comparative Literature and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity & Race at Columbia University in New York.

Drawn in part from her recent book Everything Man, this talk announces "antiphonal life" as a uniquely conceived strategy of the polymath movement artist Paul Robeson (1898-1976). His vocal labors in unanticipated places – including those of enforced quiet like the prison – as well as his ascension in scale from raw element to mountain peak, reveals the failures of the suppressive state and the ingenuity of The People in their demand to hear and be heard.


Friday, January 21 | 3:30pm
Noriko Manabe (Temple University)
"'Abe Road': Kuwata Keisuke’s Political Beatles Parody and the End of an Era"

Noriko Manabe headshot

Noriko Manabe is associate professor of music studies at Temple University, researching music in social movements and popular music. Her first monograph, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Protest Music after Fukushima, won prizes from the Association for Asian Studies, the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, and the Society for Ethnomusicology. She has published articles and chapters on Kendrick Lamar, music and chants of the Resistance, music addressing the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the music industry, and Japanese hip hop. She is editor of the 33-1/3 Japan book series and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Protest Music (with Eric Drott).

On May 4, 2009, Kuwata Keisuke, lead singer of Japanese rock band Southern All Stars and one of Japan’s most popular musicians—presented a parody of Abbey Road on Music Tiger, a music series he hosted on nationwide television. His Japanese lyrics criticized corruption in Japanese politics and commented on the volatility of financial markets, rising national indebtedness, climate change, North Korean missiles, American troops in Japan, and the death penalty, among other contemporary sociopolitical issues.

This broadcast was extraordinary for several reasons. First, it is highly unusual for Japanese recording artists to engage in political criticism, especially for mainstream artists and on terrestrial network television. Kuwata got away with this rebellious gesture because he presented the show as a “mishearing” of a famous album. He carefully chose Japanese words that mimicked the original English lyrics and pronounced them to sound like English; an inattentive listener would have heard them as the original. The episode was titled, “ Soramimi Abe Road”—imagined Abe Road, named after Abe Shinzō, the former prime minister.

This presentation will demonstrate how Kuwata transformed Abbey Road into political parody through clever manipulation of the Japanese language, thereby affording him the rare opportunity to voice political opinion through popular music on broadcast television.First, I recount the history of Anglo-American rock fandom in Japan, the impact of the Beatles’ tour in Japan in 1966, and their lasting influence on Japanese popular culture. I then explain why the media tends to shy away from critical reporting of the government, and why musicians in particular are loathe to engage in political commentary. I describe Japanese-language covers of English-language songs and the commonness of mishearing foreign songs as if they were in Japanese. Using IPA charts, I then analyze the linguistic tricks in Abe Road, showing how Kuwata chose Japanese words with matching or similar vowels and consonants to the original English lyrics to facilitate the mishearing. I explain the political context of his commentary and compare them with another of Kuwata’s political stunts in late 2014 that led to a public drubbing, to demonstrate how the political time, coupled with the Beatles’ foil, impacted reception. “Abe Road” thus illustrates the deep influence that the Beatles, and Abbey Road in particular, have had on rock in Japan and on musicians like Kuwata—not only musically but also spiritually and philosophically. Like Abbey Road, “Abe Road” also captured the end of an era—in this case, in Japanese politics.


Friday, February 4 | 3:30pm
Ellie Hisama (University of Toronto)
"The Fragment and the Long Song of Julius Eastman"

Ellie Hisama headshot

Ellie M. Hisama is Dean of the Faculty of Music and Professor of Music at the University of Toronto. She is Professor Emerita at Columbia University, where she served on the faculty for over fifteen years; she also taught at Brooklyn College, the CUNY Graduate Center, Ohio State University, and Harvard University. The author of Gendering Musical Modernism and co-editor of Critical Minded: New Approaches to Hip Hop Studies, she has published on composer and folk music advocate Ruth Crawford; representations of Asian women in popular music; pianist, composer, and educator Geri Allen; and composer, singer, and artist Julius Eastman. She is Founding Director of the workshop For the Daughters of Harlem: Working in Sound, a multi-year initiative for students from local public schools to create, record, and reflect upon their work in sound on university campuses. With Zosha Di Castri, she directed Unsung Stories: Women at Columbia’s Computer Music Center, a symposium and podcast series.

This talk examines the ways in which the archive of the composer, pianist, and vocalist Julius Eastman (1940-1990) performs an act of refusal. Eastman’s subjectivity as a queer African American musician and the narratives about his life strongly resonate with researchers and the public who are eager to excavate the work of Black artists and musicians. In writing a “long song” about Julius Eastman, this project brings together the fragments of Eastman’s work, focusing on his radical sonic expressions of and commentary on black being in compositions from the 1970s and 1980s. It serves as an initiative in music studies that offers tangible pathways of listening to Julius Eastman’s uncompromising and fierce musical engagements of refusal.


Friday, March 4 | 3:30pm
Elizabeth Lepock (Western University alumna)
"Occupational Vocal Health and Singing: Demystifying, and Sharing Stories and Strategies"

Elizabeth Lepock

Elizabeth Lepock, soprano, is a freelance singer, voice pedagogue, and researcher local to Kitchener, Ontario. She holds a doctor of musical arts degree in voice performance from Western University. Over the course of her doctoral studies, in addition to honing her performance and pedagogy skills, Elizabeth also pursued ground-breaking interdisciplinary research into muscle tension voice disorders. Elizabeth maintains a large private studio of students at diverse levels, including beginners, students who are retraining after experiencing vocal dysfunction, and young professionals. An up-and-coming performer, Elizabeth enjoys singing a wide variety of repertoire including opera, oratorio, and recital, but her first love is recital - the ideal combination of her love of foreign languages, poetry, and the intimacy of chamber music. In recent recitals, she has begun to speak to important social justice topics, including mental health and sexism. Elizabeth is currently serving on the executive of NATS Ontario as Secretary and Chair of Research.

This talk examines the topic of chronic and acute occupational injury/disorder in classical singers through the lens of the common disorder, Muscle Tension Dysphonia (MTD). Background will be included regarding the disorder’s history, etiology, symptoms, and treatment. The talk will then delve into cultural factors in the classical voice community surrounding vocal health, and the impact of MTD on singers by examining the stories of several singers regarding their experiences with the disorder. Finally, several tangible suggestions will be offered regarding how to recognize and address muscle tension voice disorders as a voice pedagogue (or more broadly, as a music performance pedagogue or musician/singer).

Previous Colloquia