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!

Most colloquium events will take place in-person while some will be delivered via Zoom. See the list below for more details. All events will be on Fridays at 3:30. 

Please contact for more information.

2022-23 Colloquia

Fall 2022

Friday, September 30 | 3:30pm
TC 101
adam patrick bell (Western University)
"Collaboration, Community, and Cacophony: Creating the Canadian Accessible Musical Instruments Network (CAMIN)"

adam patrick bell is an associate professor of music education in the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University. He is the author of Dawn of the DAW (Oxford, 2018), and editor of the Music Technology Cookbook (2020). adam is the editor of Canadian Music Educator, and serves on the editorial boards of International Journal of Music Education, Journal of Music, Technology & Education, and Visions of Research in Music Education. Currently, adam is the principal investigator (or project director) of three projects funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), including “Disability-Led Musical Instrument Design” (Insight Grant), “Canadian Accessible Musical Instruments Network” (Partnership Development Grant), and “Facilitating Anti-Ableist Remote Music Making” (Race, Gender, and Diversity Initiative).

In this presentation, I will discuss my role as principal investigator of the Canadian Accessible Musical Instruments Network (CAMIN), a project funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Development Grant. I will commence the presentation by situating the need for this research within the field of music education and providing examples of organizations that practice a disability-led model of community music making. Following, I will detail how CAMIN came to be, its members, and its aspirations. Finally, I will present examples of projects undertaken under the umbrella of CAMIN by some of its members and their implications for music teaching and learning.


Friday, October 21 | 3:30pm
TC 101
Michael Schutz (McMaster University) and Russell Hartenberger (University of Toronto)
Understanding what actually happens in Steve Reich's Drumming" 

Schutz and Hartenberger

Michael Schutz is Professor of Music Cognition/Percussion at McMaster University, where he conducts the Percussion ensemble and teaches courses in music cognition as well as empirical research approaches to music. He is the founding director of the MAPLE Lab, researching Music, Acoustics, Perception & Learning. A popular speaker, Michael appears regularly at leading universities, the CBC, podcasts, TEDx ( In recognition of his innovative work bridging music performance and music research, Dr. Schutz received the Alumni Award from the Penn State School of Music and the designation of University Scholar from McMaster. He is in residence at Western University for Fall 2022, serving as the first Visiting Fellow Western Research Chair while on sabbatical. He is an artist/endorser for Innovative Percussion and Sabian Cymbals. For more information, visit

Russell Hartenberger is Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. He holds a Ph.D. in World Music from Wesleyan University, specializing in the music of West Africa, North and South India, and Indonesia. As a member of Nexus, he has performed with leading orchestras in North America, Europe and Asia, and along with members of Nexus created the sound track for the Academy Award winning Full Length Documentary, The Man Who Skied Down Everest. With Steve Reich and Musicians he recorded for ECM, DGG and Nonesuch Records, and performed on the Grammy Award winning recording of Music for 18 Musicians. In 2017 he received the Leonardo Da Vinci Vinci World Award of Arts, from the World Cultural Council in the Netherlands.

The composition Drumming (1971) calls for phasing, or gradual desynchronization by two percussionists starting and ending in unison. Since premiering the piece in 1971, Russell Hartenberger has given nearly 1000 performances of this in venues around the world. After decades of playing and coaching a piece making unusual demands of performers, he grew increasingly curious as to what “really happens” when playing. To explore this issue, we recorded him playing excerpts of Drumming with his longtime NEXUS colleague Bob Becker, offering unprecedented analysis as the precise pattern of rhythms as they unfold while phasing. In addition to insight useful to percussionists, Hartenberger will discuss his experiences working with Reich on the piece’s development, offering a wealth of insight into both the creation and execution of this landmark minimalist composition. A preview of these findings as well as an introductory video is now publicly available at


Friday, October 28 | 3:30pm
TC 101
Phil Mullen 
"Inclusive Music Pedagogy”

Phil Mullen headshot

Phil Mullen has worked for thirty-seven years developing music with people who are socially excluded. He specializes in working with excluded children and young people at risk. He has run workshops, seminars and training in 27 countries across Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia. Since 2018 Phil has worked with 45 of England’s 122 music hubs, helping them develop strategic approaches to musical inclusion. Phil has a PhD from Winchester University and has written a number of book chapters on musical inclusion including for the Oxford Handbook of Community Music (2018). Phil’s book “Challenging Voices: Music making with young people excluded from school” is published by Peter Lang.

In this talk Phil Mullen will speak about the methods he and his colleagues in England use to promote inclusion in both teaching and workshop situations, especially when working with young people experiencing barriers to engagement. He will highlight 5 pedagogical fundamentals:

  1. Combining musical with personal and social outcomes
  2. Foregrounding creativity
  3. Sharing ownership
  4. Accepting and working with what the young people bring
  5. Reflecting on your practice.


Friday, November 18 | 3:30pm
Amy Wlodarski (Dickinson College)
"Building the Narrative of Musical Terezín: The Early Reception of Der Kaiser von Atlantis, 1975-80"

Amy Wlodarski headshot

Amy Lynn Wlodarski is Charles A. Dana Professor of Music at Dickinson College, where she teaches music history and conducts the college choir. She is the author of George Rochberg, American Composer: Personal Trauma and Artistic Creativity (2019) and Musical Witness and Holocaust Representation (2015). A recipient of the Lockwood Award (AMS) and the Irving Lowens Award (SAM), her scholarship has been supported by grants from the Fulbright Commission, the National Endowment of the Humanities, the Presser Foundation, Harvard University, and the Paul Sacher Stiftung. She is currently Editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Musicological Society and director of the Dickinson’s European Studies Center in Bologna, Italy.

During World War II, the Jewish composer Viktor Ullmann completed his opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis while interned at Ghetto Terezín (CZ). In 1944, Nazi officials suddenly suspended rehearsals and deported many participants to Auschwitz, where all but a few were exterminated. Thirty years later, the score resurfaced in London and a belated premiere was mounted by the American-Jewish director Rhoda Levine in Amsterdam. The Levine production then travelled internationally over the next five years throughout Europe, America, and Israel, and with it the story of musical Terezín—a narrative that was, at the time, relatively unknown and therefore open to cultural interpretation and mythologizing. This talk traces the reception history of that one production and examines its political recontextualization over a five-year period (1975-80) in order to understand how the opera (and, by extension, the narrative of musical Terezín) rose from relative obscurity to become a canonical symbol of spiritual resistance within the Holocaust repertory.


Friday, December 2 | 3:30pm
MB 242
Raj Singh (Western University)
"Inuit Hip Hop: Expressions of Modernity, Lived Experiences, and Cultural Health"

Raj Singh head shotBio
Raj Singh completed her PhD in March 2022 and is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Music Research and Composition in the Don Wright Faculty of Music. Her research interests include critical Indigenous theory, Indigenous methodologies and Indigenous modernity. Her work with Inuit musicians explores how they combine traditional forms of expression with contemporary genres to include new realms of lived experiences. Her current work with Inuit hip hoppers interrogates the intersections between music, identity, (de)colonization, intergenerational trauma and healing.

The adoption and adaptation of rap music by Indigenous people is an example of hip hop culture’s social power. Indigenous peoples use hip hop for cultural and political activism, to mediate their relationship between aspects of tradition and modernity, and to address heritage, Indigeneity, responsibility to their communities, (de)colonization and intergenerational trauma. While scholars have written about Indigenous hip hop more broadly, Inuit hip hop in Canada remains under researched in ethnomusicology. Through my collaborations with the Inuit community of Qamani’tuaq, Nunavut over the past eight years, I argue that hip hop is the medium of choice for young Inuit to express themselves. I hypothesize that the Inuitization of hip hop is a contemporary form of musical and oral/aural storytelling that allows practitioners to share their personal viewpoints and lived experiences in meaningful ways that lead to cultural health and well-being. Through community-based engagement and interviews with Inuit musicians, this paper examines the ways in which Inuit engage with hip hop culture and for what purposes. In so doing, this research furthers knowledge about Inuit contributions to the global production and consumption of hip hop culture.


Winter 2023

Friday, January 27| 3:30pm

MB 242
Susan Lewis (Western University)
"Gardens of Madrigals in Early Modern Italy"

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Susan Lewis is a musicologist who specializes in renaissance and baroque music. She is currently Vice-Provost (Academic Programs) and Professor in the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University. Prior to her arrival at Western in fall 2022, Susan was Professor of musicology in the School of Music at the University of Victoria, Canada. She is the author of four books on music printing, Italian madrigals, the composer Claudio Monteverdi, and baroque music. Across her research, she focuses on questions of musical and cultural networks, translation and reception, and the broader intellectual and artistic frameworks in which music flourished in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Gardens and madrigals shared a close sensory relationship in Renaissance Italy. The influence of Renaissance garden culture on the Italian madrigal can be seen in the layout of madrigal books, the choice of textual themes and imagery, and the patronage and performance of madrigals. This paper adopts an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on cultural history, musicology, and garden history, and proposes that a common aesthetic language governed the creation of gardens and the cultivation of madrigals in late sixteenth-century Italy. The Italian madrigal and its sub-genres of canzonettas and canzoni alla napolitana formed the backbone of Italian secular song and became the most successful musical export of the sixteenth century. The key components of garden design and aesthetics―variety, rarity, arrangement, novelty, and the interplay of nature and artifice―can be seen across madrigal books in the decades around 1600. The intersections of garden and madrigal design are strongest in madrigal books produced in the orbits of dynastic and cardinal patronage, where music and gardens featured prominently in efforts of self-aggrandizement and display. By the end of the sixteenth century, garden culture had become a prized marketing tool used by Venetian publishers to promote madrigals across Europe.


Friday, February 10 | 3:30pm
MB 242
Uri Jacob (Western University)
"Music on the Move between East and West in the Crusading Contexts"

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Uri Jacob is a musicologist who specializes in medieval music. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario under the supervision of Prof. James Grier. Since completing his PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2021, several of his articles have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes, and he is currently writing a monograph on music in the context of the Crusading movement.

Notated manuscripts were common among the Latin communities established in the Eastern Mediterranean during the 12th and 13th centuries, taking on a role beyond ritual and entertainment by becoming vessels for the crusaders’ European heritage. This paper will provide an analysis of these first known cases of notated music-making in a non-European setting, illuminating a crucial aspect of the multicultural exchange among different Latin-European and local Eastern cultures and pointing out the relevance of music to areas such as pre-modern communication and Eurocentric bias in academia.


Friday, March 10 | 3:30pm
Jessica A. Holmes (University of Copenhagen)
"Whisper Singing, ASMR, and Mood Regulation: The Representation of Depression in the Music and Reception of Billie Eilish"

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Dr. Jessica A. Holmes is an Assistant Professor of Musicology (tenure-track) in the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen. From 2017-21, she held the position of inaugural Postdoctoral Fellow of Musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Herb Alpert School of Music. Holmes’ work analyzes the representation of disability in contemporary musical practice, with attention to questions of vocality, embodiment, and identity formation. Her peer-reviewed articles on popular music, disability, and gender appear widely. Under contract with the University of Michigan Press, her first book Music at the Margins of Sense offers a multi-sensory account of musical experience through the creative endeavours deaf musicians from across the socio-cultural and audiological spectrum of deafness. Holmes holds a PhD in Musicology from McGill University (2017) where she was the recipient of a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (2012-2015), and completed her MA (2010) and BMus (2008) in the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western. Her talk today stems from a larger article by the same name forthcoming in the Journal of the American Musicological Society (Autumn 2023).  

This talk analyzes the representation of depression in pop singer Billie Eilish’s music and reception relative to the deeply charged status of depression in the West as an increasingly prevalent clinical diagnosis and lived socio-cultural experience that divides sharply along gendered, racial, class-bound, and generational lines. By naming, claiming, and musicalizing depression amid a polarizing and oftentimes misogynist reception, Eilish departs from foregoing expressions of feminine psychological disturbance in mainstream pop, challenging the longstanding stigmatization of “madness” in women and current generational panic around the prevalence of depression among Generation Z, a transgressive platform made easier by the implicit privilege her whiteness affords. Eilish's semantic, visual, and musical strategies work to demystify an invisible inner turmoil that her fans explicitly identify as “depression,” just as they frame her signature “whisper” singing – its sound, intimacy, and affect – as a coherent marker of and antidote for depression. Further, widespread links between Eilish’s voice and the feminized auditory triggers of ASMR (a popular genre of homemade YouTube sound effects-based performance) and the immersive, solitary listening that headphone and earbud use entails strengthens her music’s appeal as a form of “mood regulation.” In these ways, I reveal that Eilish’s voice and body are the locus onto which fans and detractors project fantasies and anxieties about the intersectional logics of depression that often exceed the singer’s stated intentions, and crucially, psychiatric definitions of clinical depression in ways that ultimately point to the increasing prominence of pop music as a viable creative, albeit unregulated site of public mental health discourse.  

Previous Colloquia