Interdisciplinary speaker series explores multiplicity of music
November 23, 2009
Kim Chow-Morris wants to open people's minds. That's partly why the music professor created the Ryerson Music Series: Interdisciplinary Perspectives - to explore the multiplicity of views on music. The other reason is her lifelong love of music.
"Music is a very complex thing," says Chow-Morris, an accomplished flautist and director of the Yellow River Ensemble, a Toronto-based Chinese music troupe. "For me, it's enriched my life in a thousand different ways."
The monthly series features speakers from diverse disciplines discussing music from various angles. Past topics include the Istanbul Music Festival, contemporary approaches to composition and the impact of visual cues on the perception of emotion in music. The goal of the series is to share insights and foster dialogue between music researchers.
"Research is based on creativity, and creativity stems from seeing things from different perspectives," says Chow-Morris. "The Ryerson Music Series has given us that spark of creativity and has started to make people think of things in completely different ways."
Only one year old, the series has already helped faculty members with their research. Two of last year's participants, music instructor Paul-Swoger Ruston and psychology professor Frank Russo, have begun collaborating on new research.
The 2009-10 season kicked off with music instructor Gillian Turnbull, who spoke about gentrification and the nostalgic construction of identity in Calgary's underground roots music scene.
"It's nice to see that there's so many people at Ryerson who are not in the music department who are engaging with music research in different ways," says Turnbull, who teaches music in Ryerson's philosophy department. Turnbull is currently completing her PhD in ethnomusicology at York University.
Chow-Morris believes people attending the series will discover the many facets of music in different cultures, societies and disciplines. "I hope that by the end of the series we start to scratch our heads and see the questions and contrasts and variance in people's ideas about what music is."
The 2009-10 Ryerson Music Series will include talks by Chow-Morris on the political censorship of Chinese music's historiography, and psychology professor Ben Dyson on how the brain responds to music. The series will conclude in April with a Ryerson Music Cafe performance at Oakham House. The ensemble features staff member Kathryn Rowan on soprano; music instructors Gillian Turnbull on soprano, David Snable on bass vocals, and Swoger-Ruston on guitar; and music professors Leslie Hall on piano, and Chow-Morris on Western and Chinese flutes.
The next session of the Ryerson Music Series takes place at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25. For more information, click here.
Listen to a podcast with Kim Chow-Morris here.