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Eleanor Stubley

Title(s): 

Dr., Director, Graduate Studies, Associate Professor, Department of Music Research

Areas of Expertise: 

New Research Initiative:

I am embarking on a multi-media interdisciplinary study that will culminate in a book/film project entitled Moving Words, Moving Hands.  This work is an experiment in the field of "writing performance" and builds on the "doubleness" of my own hands as the hands of both a scholar and a performing musician, that is to say hands which explore the possibilities of music through both words and through movement.    The work takes as its starting point the schism that has traditionally existed between the ways in which we describe and explain music in words and its experience in and through the body in performance.  I am working with major Canadian artists working in the field of dance, painting, and sculpture, as well as musicians, to explore how the hand knows, understands, and builds musical worlds in performance.     This work will, in turn, be used to expand traditional musical discourses to include musical performance and the embodied cognition that lies at the heart of the nature of music.

Office Number: 
A725
Phone Number: 
514-398-4535 ext. 4469
Email Address: 
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Biography: 

Eleanor Stubley, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Music at McGill University in Montreal, has touched audiences across the globe with her conducting. She has worked with numerous Canadian and international ensembles, including the Massey Singers, Elektra, Laapula, the Bach Festival Orchestra, and members of the Canadian Opera Company.  She has studied with a variety of internationally renowned conductors, including Helmut Rilling, Ton Koopman, Victor Feldbrill, and Elmer Isler.  Her choral work on the international stage began in 1986 and has resulted in a variety of commissioning projects and premieres that have lead her around the world. 

She is currently music director for Montreal’s Yellow Door Choir and artistic director for Chora Carmina, a professional Montreal-based ensemble which specializes in contemporary choral music. In the latter role she engages in interdisciplinary research-creation projects which bring together Quebec professional artists in a variety of media, including dance (e.g., Jane Mappin), painting (e.g., Jean Louis Couture), and sculpture (Joël Prévost).  The ensemble’s work was recently honoured for their projection, Living Gestures, at the opening of the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (McGill University) and as a finalist for the Opus Prix, 2008. The projection also led to an international collaboration with performances in Finland in 2011.

Dr. Stubley is also a critically acclaimed author and scholar specializing in writing performance, issues in aesthetics, embodiment, and embodiment. Dr. Stubley has also written extensively on music by Canadian composers and was editor of the 2009 Opus Prix finaliste, Compositional Crossroads:  Music, McGill, Montreal (McGill-Queens University Press, 2008). This interest in Canadian music has also led her to commission several works by Canadian composers and to have the works of Canadian composers premiered internationally.

Her current research initiative, Reaching Beyond the Given (sites.music.mcgill.ca/es/), will culminate in a book/film project tentatively entitled Moving Words, Moving Hands.  The work takes as its starting point the schism that has traditionally existed between the ways in which we describe and explain music in words and its experience in and through the body in performance.  Building on the doubleness of her own hands as the hands of a scholar and a performer, she explores the relationships, resonances, and dissonances between the movements of her hands and those of a sculptor, dancer, and visual artist, among others as she builds musical worlds in performance.  This work will, in turn, be used to expand traditional musical discourses to include musical performance and the embodied cognition that lies at the heart of the nature of music. Her phenomenological approach has been the subject of an extensive analysis in Wayne Bowman’s, Philosophical Perspectives of Music (Oxford University Press) and has been applauded for the way in which it uses film as a medium for integrating her artistry as conductor with the scholarly interests of her hand as a writer and for the ways in which research-creation projects use the exploration of movement in a variety of different artistic media to explore the infinite possibilities of the hand and music in all of its variety. 

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