Congratulations to this year's winners of the Dean's Essay and Graduate Sound Recording Prizes.
First Prize – Jason Noble, Ph.D. Composition
Focusing on Messaien's the Quatuor pour la fin du temps and Grisey’s Vortex Temporum, Jason argues that music as the art of time, when evoking an experience of timelessness, does not take us out of time; rather it plays on the structures of human perception to create other ways of being in time. Through a sophisticated and musically sensitive analysis of both works from a variety of engaging perspectives, he creatively builds new theoretical relationships to conclude that despite different approaches the two works are fundamentally aligned in their common artistic endeavor. The Committee very much appreciated the elegance of his expression and the way in which he blended structural analysis with the experiential.
Second Prize – Zoey Cochran, Ph.D. Musicology
Using case studies from early 18th century Neopolitan opera, Zoey Cochran gives a nuanced account of the multifarious uses of Neopolitan and Tuscan in the arts. Her reinterpretation takes into account variation within the dialects, as well as the opera’s role as a form of resistance to foreign power, to present an enriched view of these works and their socio-political context. The committee was impressed with the professionalism and sophistication of her analysis. Her exploration of the Italian language and its role is a tour-de-force of the power of old-fashioned or pure historical musicology that grounds itself in archival sources.
Graduate Sound Recording Prizes
First Prize - Gili Loftus, D.Mus. Performance
Thinking through Clara Schumann’s Hands and Ears.
Gili Loftus’s project seeks to, as Prof. Tom Beghin puts it, “get into the mind of Clara Schumann.” Working with another doctoral student Jon Hong, and using the Virtual Acoustics Technology created by Prof. Wieslaw Woszczyk for our Multi-media Room, she will be recording some of the free extemporizations that Clara notated for her daughter to explore how she used them to connect various works in her recitals in the different acoustic spaces in which she performed. The committee appreciated the richness of the project, noting its historical, performance-practice, gender and socio-cultural research potential as well as the fine artistry and musicianship that Gili will bring to the project. Known for dazzling her audience on the forte-piano, harpsichord, and piano all in one concert, she won both Second Prize and the Audience Prize at the prestigious International Fortepiano Competition in Bruges this past summer.
Second Prize – Christian Smith, M.Mus. Performance
Bach in the Context of New Music.
As keyboard percussionist, Christian Smith will use this recording project to invite his future listeners to discover connections between new and old never before imagined. At the centre of the recording will be Brian Ferneyhough’s Bone Alphabet. Christian’s performance of this virtuosic work has been described as "being world-class." He will be working with recording engineer Jordan Strum and adding a video element through the expertise of Prof. George Massenburg. The committee applauded not only his talent, but also the uniqueness of the programming and its artistic vision.