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U OF T FACULTY OF MUSIC TURNS 100


FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS TO WORLD CLASS INSTITUTION
by CAROL XIONG
STEADY GROWTH
The examinations-only structure of the Faculty changed after the end
of the First World War. By 1919, the motley faculty at the University of
Toronto had given a total of 18 lectures on music theory and music
history. In the ensuing decades, regular classes were introduced, fol-
lowed by expansions in curriculum and programs. 1962 marked an-
other significant year as the Faculty moved into its present home, the
Edward Johnson Building, which also happens to be the first building
designed for music study in Canada.
The year 2018 marks just as big a milestone as the Faculty celebrates
its 100th anniversary. Centennial celebrations abound, including visits
by many distinguished guests, cross-area concert collaborations and
informative public events. The Faculty has a lot to be proud of. To date,
it has had almost 7,000 graduates from 14 different programs of study.

BRIGHT FUTURE
As the Faculty prepares to step into its second century, it has a lot of
accomplishments to look back on and even more to look forward to.
When asked about what he has in mind for the next hundred years,
Dean Don McLean responded with the following:

Who in 1918 could have predicted the musical world we live in in


2018? Recording, radio, broadcast, Internet! Who would risk ima-
gining 2118? But we do know that the next century for music will

T
he University of Toronto Faculty of Music now boasts one of the be international – local in action, global in scope; it will be inter-
largest student bodies of any music school – 896 as of this writing. disciplinary – the impact of music on and in many other disci-
One hundred years ago, the faculty had no students and only a plines and fields will become normative; and it will be innovative
couple of faculty members. — music will continue to be cutting edge in the development of
Indeed, the Faculty had literally zero students because before 1918, technologies such as AI, VR, and bioengineering and it will lead
U of T was only in the business of administering exams to external candi- in developments of infrastructure to create livable ‘sound’ spaces.
dates who studied independently. If a candidate successfully completed a
certain set of exam papers, he was awarded his degree in music. For pres- Whatever happens, the University of Toronto will surely, in Dean
ent-day readers, the closest analogy to this format would be the examina- McLean’s words, “prepare the next generation of community-centred,
tions offered by the Royal Conservatory of Music, which, incidentally, had globally-informed cultural leaders.”
been entwined with the University of Toronto from 1919 until 1991.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS


Throughout this long and eventful history of academic and artistic excellence, the Faculty has woven countless students, faculty members,
and alumni together into one diverse and dynamic community. Here are highlights from a few individuals whose lives have touched and
have been touched by the Faculty of Music:

What aspect of being a pedagogue do you love most?


I love being part of the developmental process and witness the changes friends. Respect for a teacher needs to be earned, not demanded. I in-
in young singers between the ages of 18 and 30. I am a catalyst for sist that my students address me by my first name and I encourage
change in their artistry as singers. Each voice and talent is so different, them to disagree with me so that they may develop their own personal
I am constantly renewing my ideas and understanding as well as nur- creative response to the world. This personal contact is incredibly en-
turing theirs. As a mentor in the graduate voice pedagogy program, I ergizing to me and I seldom get tired teaching privately for many hours
[witness] intuitive talents blossom and grow. Making vocal and musi- in a row. I consider this kind of contact a gift and feel grateful for it.
cal discoveries together is extremely satisfying. As my students take — CHRISTOS HATZIS, PROFESSOR OF COMPOSITION
ownership of their talent, I take a step back and watch them inspire,
support, and nurture others. The world needs this musical interaction.
— LORNA MACDONALD, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AND HEAD OF VOICE STUDIES Teaching is a process of constant exploration in a collaborative envi-
ronment, and it is that shared discovery that I love. Seeing and hear-
ing the “ah-ha” moments over time, observing young musicians mature
The one-on-one composition lessons, especially (but not exclusively) and become independent and then take flight – those are the remark-
with graduate students who ask important questions and seek answers able privileges of teaching experienced during a 43-year career. What
beyond musical technique. I often quip that if my students learn from a gift! If students learn to love the process in that way, they are assured
me half as much as I learn from them, they will have learned a lot. The of continued musical growth.
best learning takes place in a trusting environment and between — HILARY APFELSTADT, PROFESSOR EMERITA OF CHORAL STUDIES

40 NOVEMBER 2018
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How has U of T made you a better artist?

So much of one’s musical development is owed to mentors. I was lucky Working with visiting composers was a highlight. In the choral area,
enough that U of T introduced me to one of my greatest and constant we were fortunate to have Alice Parker, Eleanor Daley, Ruth Watson
mentors, Dr. Elizabeth McDonald. Through her guidance I learned so Henderson, Morten Lauriden, Ola Gjeilo, Imant Raminsh and Steven
much about what it means to be a great artist: to have a dependable Chatman, among others. The performances of their music and corre-
technique but also to be the kind of person others can depend on. She sponding collaborations with other musicians in the city were inspir-
taught me not only how to sing, but also encouraged me to explore ing. We also had the good fortune to take choral ensembles to perform
what my ears heard and what my heart twice at Lincoln Center.
told me was socially right; the three — HILARY APFELSTADT, PROFESSOR EMERITA OF CHORAL STUDIES
need not be and should not be sep-
arate. Her advice and guidance
were only further emphasized by While I was finishing my masters at U of T in 2017,
my other mentors: Dr. Hilary I singlehandedly organized a cross-country tour
Apfelstadt, Dr. Stephen Philcox, featuring a recital of Canadian women’s vocal
Professor Mia Bach, Professor music. It was the most fun and challenging experi-
Kathryn Tremills, Professor ence I have ever had. Through connections
Monica Whicher, to name a few. at U of T I was also able to commission
They all taught me to push my- a new work for soprano and piano for
self to be a complex and ac- the tour by U of T graduate (then stu-
countable artist. They led by dent) Rebekah Cummings, which I
example and one couldn’t performed in all 19 concerts around
help but be inspired. the country. 
— ALEXANDRA SMITHER, SO- — CLARISSE TONIGUSSI, FOUNDER OF THE
PRANO (BMUS FROM U OF T, CANADIAN WOMEN COMPOSERS PRO-
MMUS FROM RICE) JECT (BMUS AND MMUS FROM UOFT)

U of T has certainly helped me on When I started at U of T in 2010,


my journey to becoming I was fortunate
the artist I wish to be. enough to join
During my studies, I the contemporary
was able to work with music ensemble,
truly inspiring pro- GamUT, right off
fessors and artists the bat. GamUT, then run
alongside a group of by Norbert Palej, was the
really talented and first time I ever experi-
hard-working students. enced contemporary classi-
The program pushed cal music. Norbert really had
me to my musical limits IN USUAL ORDER: LORNA MACDONALD, HILARY APFELSTADT, faith in and pushed me, as-
giving way to a musician with an un- ALEXANDRA SMITHER, CHRISTOS HATZIS, CLARISSE TONIGUSSI, signing me works by Schnittke and Górecki
derstanding of music and singing I ILLUSTRATION : HEFKA in my first semester. These works opened my
did not know could exist. ears to sounds that I had never imagined,
— CLARISSE TONIGUSSI, FOUNDER OF THE CANADIAN WOMEN COMPOSERS sonic worlds that I had never explored. I remember poring over scores,
PROJECT (BMUS AND MMUS FROM U OF T) crying because I couldn’t count, and feeling exhilarated onstage amidst
new sounds and colleagues. Now, eight years later, a large portion of
What is the most unforgettable musical experience you’ve had at U of my art is based in that world. That first concert fundamentally altered
T as a music creator? the career path I have taken and I never looked back. 
— ALEXANDRA SMITHER, SOPRANO (BMUS FROM UOFT, MMUS FROM RICE)
Many unforgettable experiences. Some of my seminal musical collab-
orations began with U of T colleagues, like the Gryphon Trio, with What has been the most important thing that you strive
whom I engaged in a journey of mutual discovery through our collab- to impart to your students?
oration in the multimedia music theatre work Constantinople; the St.
Lawrence String Quartet, when they were the visiting ensemble at the To be fearless, honest and authentic as artists. Creativity is not some-
Faculty of Music and commissioned my Second String Quartet in 1999. thing you master. It masters you when you allow it to possess you and
Soon after the premiere in Toronto, they recorded a CD with my two shape you. It is not easy for young people (any people, really) who fear
string quartets for EMI and toured with them internationally. The pre- loss of control to let go of their inhibitions and become important
miere of my first Flute Concerto with French flute virtuoso Patrick Gal- artists and creative individuals in any walk of life. The certainty which
lois accompanied by faculty and student musicians in Walter Hall in is promised by the objectification of reality and which is promoted by
2003; the performance of my orchestral composition The Isle is Full of academic culture is at cross-purposes with true creativity. Teachers of
Noises by the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 2017. creativity have to struggle to stem the avalanche of positivism is such
These are a few of many such wonderful experiences. an environment and inspire free and unrestrained thinking and feel-
— CHRISTOS HATZIS, PROFESSOR OF COMPOSITION ing. I find that individual composition lessons are the best way [to find]
this mode of deep personal communication with students. I prize the
opportunity given me by the university to perform my best by person-
Performing in the International Bach Festival with Helmut Rilling, and ally engaging with students in this manner.
creating, producing and performing Marrying Mozart for the Mozart an- — CHRISTOS HATZIS, PROFESSOR OF COMPOSITION LSM
niversary year. Both stretched me as an artist in the best possible way.
— LORNA MACDONALD, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AND HEAD OF VOICE STUDIES

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