Harald Krebs wins Craigdarroch Award

Scholar, pianist, author, artistic collaborator and professional speaker—School of Music professor Harald Krebs is one of Canada’s finest music theorists, and has been named this year’s winner of the Craigdarroch Award for Excellence in Artistic Expression.

Harald Krebs (UVic Photo Services)

Harald Krebs (UVic Photo Services)

“It’s very touching that my colleagues would do this, given the nomination process,” says Krebs. “In fact, I really thought someone else should be nominated this year, but it’s very sweet that the department nominated me. I have such great colleagues.”

Recognized internationally as an expert on musical meter and rhythm— especially in the 19th-century German art song known as Lieder—Krebs was also named a UVic Distinguished Professor in 2010. This award comes with a $1,000 prize, which Krebs characteristically is considering using for the greater good. “One thing I’ve done with other awards I’ve received is to bring in a guest speaker, so it’s not just for my benefit but also for the benefit of the School and the faculty,” he says. “It’s really nice to contribute in this way.”

Now the Head of Theory, Krebs joined the School of Music back in 1986 “It’s been almost 30 years, and there have been a lot of changes over the years,” he says. “Good friends have retired, but we’ve been very lucky with the new people who have come in—they’ve maintained the collegial atmosphere that was there when I came in. I’m really proud of my colleagues, and the students too—it’s not just about doing scholarly work, it’s also about performing.”

Krebs pauses for a moment. “I think that’s probably why I was nominated,” he continues. “The award says ‘uses artistic expression to further knowledge’—and that’s certainly what I try to do. My talks always have a live performance aspect; I always clarify my points by actually performing—which makes it more fun for me, and the listeners too.”

Krebs' 2007 book

Krebs’ 2007 book

In his 34-year academic career, Krebs has produced two groundbreaking books, a steady stream of peer-reviewed articles and collaborative performances fusing scholarship and musical practice. At the core of this work is his talent as a pianist, which he shares regularly with the broader community of music lovers—notably through his Lieder at Lunch series, which has been running since 2001. “It took a bit of time to take off—it is an esoteric genre, after all,” he chuckles. “But now we have quite a large following from town as well as campus.”

Immediate plans include traveling to Belgium for a pair of conferences (“I’m a little stressed about it, but I’m sure it’ll be fun once I get there”) and a German research trip to both Berlin and Bonn.

Only three other Fine Arts representatives have won Craigdarroch Awards: Marcus Milwright in 2013, Lorna Crozierin both 2012 and 2011, and the Lafayette String Quartetin 2010.

The Craigdarroch Research Awards were established in 2003 to recognize outstanding research-focused and creative contributions at UVic. They were named for Craigdarroch Castle, the estate that was once home to UVic’s predecessor institution, Victoria College, from 1921 to 1946.

Summer plans (part two)

What else is on the horizon for Fine Arts faculty members?

book-U6-A146-B319-R493Department of Writing professor Lee Henderson has his sophomore novel, The Road Narrows As You Go, coming out this fall . . . which he’s, uh, still putting the finishing touches to this summer. But it has already been touted as “one of the most anticipated (Canadian) titles of 2014″ by the National Post . . . no pressure, eh? Henderson has previously released the short story collection The Broken Record Technique and the novel The Man Game (which the Post described as “an audacious, wildly inventive novel that deserved a wider audience”). For  The Road Narrows As You Go, Henderson is fusing his love of art and graphic novels into a story about Victoria-born comic artist Wendy Ashbubble, who may or may not be the illegitimate love-child of then-US President Ronald Reagan

Described as “a highly entertaining and unendingly surprising novel about love, comics, Ronald Reagan, and the true meaning of success,” The Road Narrows As You Go is “simultaneously the portrait of a young woman struggling to find her place and a bright, rollicking, unflinching depiction of the 1980s.” Stay tuned for more details.

Over in the School of Music, sessional instructor Anita Bonkowski spent the month of June performing in Europe and will have a full summer slate of playing gigs as well, both locally at out in Winnipeg.

Hogg, (left) on the set for Two 4 One  (photo: Arnold Lim)

Hogg, (left) on the set for Two 4 One (photo: Arnold Lim)

After producing Maureen Bradley’s transgender rom-com Two 4 One this spring, busy digital media staffer and filmmaker Daniel Hogg just finished shooting the short film Gord’s Brother with Writing department alumnus filmmaker and frequent collaborator Jeremy Lutter. “Gord’s Brother is about a boy trying to find a place for his monster brother to fit in, the film grapples with unspoken issues of discrimination from a child’s perspective, accessible by a layer of fantasy,” says Hogg.

The Lafayette String Quartet has a busy recording session ahead of them this summer, thanks to the August release date set for their world premier recording of Piano Quintet by Canadian composer Kelly Marie-Murphy, featuring pianist Alexander Tselyakov. Marie-Murphy was commissioned by the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival to compose a piano quintet for Alexander (the festival’s artistic director) and the LSQ in celebration of the festival’s 10th anniversary. As a bonus, the CD will also feature the Shostakovich piano quintet. The LSQ will perform the world premier of Marie-Murphy’s quintet at the fest in August, where they will also launch the CD.

The Lafayette String Quartet

The Lafayette String Quartet

And in other LSQ news, having just completed QuarteFest West here on campus, the busy quartet will be in Ontario for a large part of the summer performing in Leith, Waterloo, Ottawa, and the 35th annual Festival of the Sound in Parry Sound. Just by way of showing the range of works they’ll be tackling this summer, their lineup of composers includes Murray Adaskin, Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn, Benjamin Britten, Beethoven (“Op. 95 String Quartet and the 9th Symphony with a smash-up band organized to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Festival of the Sound,” says the LSQ’s Ann Elliott-Goldschmid), Alberto Ginastera, Felix Mendeslssohn, Luigi Boccherini, Arthur Foote, Rebecca Clarke, Joseph Haydn, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Dmitri Shostakovich (quartet and piano quintet), and Ernst Chausson.

David Leach

David Leach

In addition to getting up to speed on his duties as the new Department of Writing chair, David Leach will be off to Madison, Wisconsin, for the Games Learning Society conference. “I’ll be presenting a paper on the results of our research study into the benefits of ‘gamification’ tools—badges and leader boards—to promote online learning,” he says. “David Broome plus colleagues in Education, the Library and an undergrad research assistant are listed as co-authors for helping with the research.” Leach will also be on a panel about using augmented reality tools in the classroom, as his TS400 students created AR guides to the future of the campus, using a geolocative tool called ARIS. Got all that? (Good, ’cause there’s going to be a quiz!) Any extra spare time will find Leach “finally finishing my damn book! (Maybe…)”

Noted pianist and School of Music professor Arthur Rowe is back in his role as the artistic director of the 19th annual Victoria Summer Music Festival in July—a position he has held for at least 10 years now. “It’s a good festival, ever growing in stature and popularity,” he says.

poster-bellaAlthough it’s a bit further off than the summer, acclaimed theatrical set designer, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Department of Theatre professor Mary Kerr is in the planning stages of her upcoming musical about Bella Chagall—the wife of famed artists Marc Chagall. Titled Bella: The Colour of Love, Kerr designed and co-wrote the production with Theresa Tova, who will be playing Bella. The show will have a 3-week run at Toronto’s Harold Green Theatre in October

Also in the theatrical vein is news from famed playwright and Writing professor Joan MacLeod. “I’m just writing, starting a new play,” she says. “What it’s about? No clue!” MacLeod latest play, The Valley, was most recently mounted in Winnipeg, and the book of the script was released this spring by Talon Books.

Summer plans (part one)

Who doesn’t like summer? Classes are finished, the fall semester is still far enough away to not worry about and we’ve all got some time to put towards our own creative practices. What’s on deck for some of our faculty this summer? Let’s find out.

Lynne Van Luven

Lynne Van Luven

Outgoing Associate Dean Lynne Van Luven has been busy winding up her job in the Dean’s Office and trundling all her books back upstairs to her permanent home in the Department of Writing. But, before she assumes full teaching duties again, she’s taking a well-deserved administrative leave for the 2014/15 academic year.

“In the period of my leave, I hope to get a whole lot of work done on Flesh Wounds, which is the working title for my new book of essays about the hilarious and hair-raising process of ageing,” she says. “I have lots of research and writing to do, so I am most appreciative of the time off.” But having time off doesn’t come naturally to the diligent Van Luven. “I have never—since I started teaching at universities back in 1981—had a full year off to work on a project,” she admits. “I hope I just don’t blow all my time pursuing Skittles and beer . . . or, alternately, wine and roses.”

Bland with Canadian actress Neve Campbell

Bland with Canadian actress Neve Campbell

Busy Department of Theatre continuing sessional instructor Leslie Bland always has some fascinating side-projects on the go. Recently back from a trip to Paris and from attending the Banff World Media Festival in June, he’s currently completing his latest film project.

“I’m wrapping post production on our feature documentary Gone South: How Canada Invented Hollywood,” Bland reports. “There will a world premiere of it in August in Los Angeles hosted by the LA Consul General for Canada.” Word is the premier might even be held at the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. (Maybe Bland can give a tour of all the famed Canadian hand-prints in the concrete there.) Gone South comes on the heels of the all-female stand-up comedy series She Kills Me that Bland recently produced and directedfor broadcast on APTN.

Lewis Hammond & Monteverdi

Lewis Hammond

School of Music director Susan Lewis Hammond is cracking the books this summer—her own book, that is. “I’ll be finishing a textbook titled Baroque Music: History, Culture, Performance—forthcoming with Routledge in 2015″, she says. On top of that, she’ll be presenting on a panel “on the value of a Bachelor of Music degree” at Congress 2015 at Brock University, and traveling to do research at the University of Toronto. Let’s hope there’s time for some relaxing in her schedule, too.

Writing professor and filmmaker Maureen Bradley recently completed editing her locally-lensed debut feature film Two 4 One—Canada’s, and possibly the world’s, first mainstream transgender romantic comedy— and is now in the process of submitting it to major film festivals, both Canadian and international.

Dániel Péter Biró

Biró

As well as preparing for his prestigious Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University in 2014/15, School of Music professor Dániel Péter Biró will have his new composition Al Ken Kara (That Is Why It Was Called) performed on July 26 at the Teatro Fondamenta Nuove in Venice, Italy. This piece was originally composed as part of the Mediterranean Voices film project. In addition, the book The String Quartets of Béla Bartók: Tradition and Legacy in Analytical Perspective that he co-edited with fellow School of Music professor Harald Krebs, has just been released by Oxford University Press.

Youds photoVisual Arts professor Robert Youds currently has his light-based sculpture “turn on your electric* on view as part of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s exhibit Out of Sight: New Aquistions, running to September 1. He’s also completing a major sculptural commission which will be opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Offsite this fall. Locally, his piece “soft works for complicated needs*” is featured in the current AGGV exhibit Through the Looking Glass until September 7.  In addition to that, Youds will have the paintings “our aurora borealis and everything else” as part of the Transformation of Canadian Landscape Art: Inside and Outside of Being at the Xi’an Art Museum in China from August 10 – September 21. Better still, he’ll be travelling to Xi’an and Beijing to give talks and to meet foreign dignitaries as part of the exhibit.

Stay tuned for more summer plans!

Jackson 2Bears explores the future of tradition

Three things set Jackson 2Bears apart as the 2013/14 Audain Professor of Contemporary Arts of the Pacific Northwest for the Department of Visual Arts. Not only is he the first UVic alumnus and first local artist to hold the position, but he is also the first person reappointed for a second year.

Jackson 2Bears

Jackson 2Bears

Following in the footsteps of such noted Indigenous artists as Rebecca Belmore, Michael Nicol Yahgulanaas and Nicholas Galanin, 2Bears is a Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk) multimedia artist and a frequent face around campus. Having completed both his Masters and PhD here, he taught for both Visual Arts and UVic’s Pacific Centre for Technology and Culture before accepting the Audain position. But he’s kept busy off-campus this past year by participating in solo and group exhibitions such as Ghost Dance: Activism. Resistance. Art. at Toronto’s Ryerson Image Centre, the Beat Nation tour which saw him invited to perform in Montreal and a number of East Coast performances with the Noxious Sector collective, as well as participating in Open Space Gallery’s recent public art symposium Reclaim The Streets.

As with all Audain professors, 2Bears’ year was split between teaching and studio practice. “There were periods where I was really focused on working with students—which was fantastic—but because of the way the position is set up, I found a lot of time for my own work,” he says. “Much of my year was about intense research; I really wanted to use this time to experiment with my own practice. Sometimes at the mid-career level, you find yourself in ruts or overly familiar ways of working; I was conscious of trying to upset that for myself. I wanted to do the research in order to recreate my practice.”

But he was also found himself challenged by his experience teaching the 300-level Audain seminar, which included students working in a variety of mediums: from painting and sculpture to digital media, performance and music. “Working with students at the senior level, it feels less like teacher/student relationships and more like we’re a group of artists working together, helping each other out,” he says. “I found that immensely helpful—especially in an environment where you’re forced to be critical of other peoples’ work all the time in that role, you go home and do that to yourself; it enhances your own practice. You look at your own work, and the voice in your head says, ‘Am I following my own advice here? Have I really thought this through?’”

2Bears in performance

2Bears in performance

Currently working on creating entirely new digital instruments for his Audain exhibition in September 2014 (“I’m adapting an old analogue synthesizer into a video performance machine . . . I want to treat video like sound, so it can warp and move like a synthesizer and music”), 2Bears has also been writing (“I’m also working on some new texts directly related to indigenous philosophy and technologies”) and looking at enhancing community engagement with the Audain position.

“I’ve been building relationships between Visual Arts and First Peoples House, Open Space and the community, but it’s taken a lot of this year just to get that off the ground,” he says. “But it would make me very happy to see that carry on, create more of a sense of community with the Audain position—not just community here on campus but bringing in other artists as well.” Already in the works is a series of mini-residencies with fellow contemporary indigenous artists Maria Hupfield, Sonny Assu and Corey Bulpitt.

All in all, 2Bears is pleased with his first year as an Audain Professor. “Absolutely, it’s been a great year,” says an enthusiastic 2Bears. “It’s been a real challenge working with students—in this environment, it’s very rich, very interdisciplinary, and everybody’s coming at things from different angles and perspectives—but it’s been fantastic.”

Created in 2009 as part of a $2-million gift from B.C. art philanthropist Michael Audain and the Audain Foundation, the Audain professorship brings in mid-career professional artists to both work with students and further their own work.

School of Music alumna needs votes for top teaching award

School of Music alumna Andrea Blair has been nominated as one of Canada’s top teachers by Canadian Family magazine.

andrea-top-v2Blair, who received her Masters in Music Education in 2007, is among the top 12-finalists selected in Canadian Family’s annual awards—only one of two teachers from BC, and the only one on Vancouver Island. “It was completely out of the blue,” says the Gordon Head Middle School music teacher, who has now been teaching for 19 years. “It’s quite an honour to even be nominated and be one of the 12.”

The awards are decided by reader voting, which means Blair needs as many votes as possible before the June 25 cut-off date; click here to vote—and you can vote from any device once a day, so don’t be shy. (As of this writing, she’s in second place!) The teachers with the top-three vote tally will each win $2,500 for their schools.

Daniel Davenport in band class (Photo: Travis Paterson, Victoria News)

Daniel Davenport in band class (Photo: Travis Paterson, Victoria News)

But it wasn’t like Blair put herself into the running—she was actually nominated by the parent of one of her students, Daniel Davenport. “My son has learning disabilities—he is dyslexic and dysgraphic,” wrote Leslie Davenport in her nomination letter. “When he started middle school he told us he wanted to join the band. The problem was that he was incapable of reading music. I approached the music teacher, Mrs. Blair, and asked if he might be able to join in some way. I was thinking of him banging a tambourine or something. Mrs. Blair said she would find a way. This started a three-year project of my son’s journey into music. For Mrs. Blair, it was not enough for him to just do some simple percussion; instead, she designed a whole new sheet music system for dyslexics.”

Having dyslexia and dysgraphia means Daniel can’t read or write either music or the English language—but, thanks to the creative and continued efforts of his dedicated band teacher, he is now playing clarinet in the school band.

Read more about Andrea and Daniel in this recent Victoria News article.

Andrea Blair's innovative music system

Andrea Blair’s innovative music system

Blair was inspired by a toy xylophone with coloured bars and colour-coded sheet music to create a musical system that didn’t rely on notes, bars and musical staffs. Instead, she used coloured markers and graph paper to create a system that Daniel could read and understand.

“I was taking a class with [UVic Music educator] Mary Kennedy and thought, ‘Why not just put it on graph paper?’,” Blair recalls. “So, a 2×2 block of squares represents a quarter note, and a half note would be four squares. It’s all based on math. You know how music sometimes gets all jumbled up? This is quite simple.”

Blair says she spends a “couple of hours” transposing the music for Daniel. “If I was going to do it for anyone else, I would use Excel, but for him it would be too much.” Obviously, her system works. “He’s doing pretty well,” she says of Daniel’s ability. “For the most part, he’s able to play all of our classes music.”

Andrea Blair leading one of her band classes

Andrea Blair leading one of her band classes

Given the success she’s had overcoming Daniel’s dyslexia and dysgraphia, does she see a future for her innovative system? “Yes, it’s got good potential,” she says. “My thing here at Gordon Head is inclusion for all, and this is a good system. I would definitely like to explore it more. Dr. Kennedy was saying to me, ‘Would you please start your doctorate?’” she pauses and laughs. “It’s a possibility.”

As for the prize, Blair doesn’t want to put too much thought into that yet. “The wish-list keeps growing,” she laughs. “The kids in my class certainly have some ideas about what’s needed, but we’ll deal with that when it happens—if it happens. I did tell Daniel he would be able to choose something for the room as well.”

Right now, Blair just needs people to vote. “You can vote daily, on as many devices as you wish,” she says. “It’s now literally a popularity contest—but everyone on the list is deserving.”

And that’s not false modesty—every teacher on the list has amazing stories to share. “When I got the email saying I was nominated, I went to my administration and said, ‘I really feel like I was just doing my job’,” Blair recalls.

QuartetFest West celebrates strings

Quartet Fest West, the popular summer string quartet intensive, returns to the School of Music from June 9 – 20. Attracting participants from across Canada, the US and Italy, the festival of concerts, workshops and coachings is hosted by UVic’s beloved quartet-in-residence, the Lafayette String Quartet.

The LSQ's Ann Elliott-Goldschmid with students at QuartetFest West 2013

The LSQ’s Ann Elliott-Goldschmid with students at QuartetFest West 2013

Anchored by the chamber music workshop, QuartetFest West is an in-depth study of the string quartet literature that also features a series of public concerts (see below) and masterclasses (open to the public by donation). Another highlight is an open discussion with Andrew Dawes, first violinist of the Orford String Quartet and the Tokyo String Quartet.

“It’s really intensive,” says LSQ violinist Ann Elliott-Goldschmid of the QuartetFest West experience. “The students learn how to communicate very effectively, they have to learn the music quickly and come to agreements quickly—they don’t have a semester to work on something, they only have 10 days.”

Alcan String Quartet

Alcan String Quartet

Participants and the public alike will have the opportunity to soak in the host quartet’s prowess in a concert on June 18. Performing works by Boccherini, Shostakovich and Mendelssohn, the Lafayette String Quartet will share the stage with David Ellis, cellist of the Alcan String Quartet—this year’s guest coaches from Chicoutimi, Québec. One of Canada’s most celebrated chamber music ensembles, the Alcan String Quartet is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

The festival culminates in a student concert on June 20 featuring chamber groups made up of Quartet Fest participants.

Andrew Dawes

Andrew Dawes

Open Discussion with Andrew Dawes
7:30pm – 9:00pm Friday, June 13 • Maclaurin Building Room B037
Admission by donation

Join a chat with teacher and soloist Andrew Dawes, founding member and first violinist of the Orford String Quartet and first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet. During his career he performed over 3,000 concerts on six continents and made 60 recordings.

Lafayette String Quartet with David Ellis, cello
8pm Wednesday, June 18 •  Phillip T. Young Recital Hall (UVic MacLaurin Building, B-Wing) • Tickets are $12 (students) and $25 (general) from the UVic Ticket Centre (250-721-8480).

Don’t miss this concert featuring Boccherini’s Cello Quintet, Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 10, Op. 118 and Mendelssohn‘s Quartet in E minor, Op. 44, No. 2

Participating Quartets Concert
8pm Friday, June 20 • Phillip T. Young Recital Hall (UVic MacLaurin Building, B-Wing)
Admission by donation

Featuring participating quartets of Quartet Fest West 2014, the program for this concert is yet to be announced.

Be sure to check the School of Music’s online calendar for more QuartetFest West workshops and events.

Call for Courses

The Faculty of Fine Arts is requesting expressions of interest for the following sessional assignments:

Got a great course idea?

Got a great course idea?

Fall Term - FA 200 A0: Special Topics in Fine Arts (maximum enrollment: 150 students), September-December 2014.
A multi-disciplinary investigation into various aspects of the arts. Focus may vary from year-to-year. Class runs Monday and Wednesday, 4:30pm – 5:50pm.

Spring Term -FA 335 A01 – Popular Culture (maximum enrollment: 75 students), January – April 2015.
An interdisciplinary examination of the popular arts and their place in society. The topics for
examination will vary in different years and sections. Class runs Monday and Thursday, 8:30am – 9:50am.

Expressions of Interest are due by 4:30pm Thursday, June 19th, 2014. Positions will be assigned no later than June 27, 2014.

Insert your course here

Insert your course here

Please submit a written letter of interest indicating qualifications and experience,
potential course outline along with a current Curriculum Vitae to:
Samantha Knudson, Academic Administrative Officer
Faculty of Fine Arts (Fine Arts Building, Rm 116)
University of Victoria, PO Box 1700 Stn CSC, Victoria BC V8W 2Y2

If you are interested in proposing future courses that fit within the Fine Arts curriculum (see Undergraduate Calendar pg. 310), please contact the Dean of Fine Arts Office to schedule an appointment. Sessional Instructors are CUPE 4163 (Component 3) positions with Sessional Lecturers Certification.

The University of Victoria is an equity employer and encourages applications from women, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, aboriginal peoples, people of all sexual orientations and genders, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of the University. The University reserves the right to fill additional teaching assignments from the pool of applicants for this posting. All positions are subject to enrolment and budgetary approval.

A Day in the Life: Kirk McNally

Each issue of the UVic community newspaper The Ring features a different “Day in the Life” profile of various staff members. This month, it was Kirk McNally’s turn. Here’s a reprint of the piece that ran in the Summer 2014 issue.

Kirk McNally in the School of Music's audio booth

Kirk McNally in the School of Music’s audio booth

A decade ago he was recording the likes of A-list rockers R.E.M., Bryan Adams and the Foo Fighters, but these days you’ll more likely find Kirk McNally tweaking the levels in the MacLaurin Building’s recording studio. But as the Audio Specialist and Recording Engineer for the School of Music since 2004, the best part of McNally’s job is that he doesn’t really have a typical day. “I can be teaching a recording class or mentoring a work-study student or collaborating with a faculty member on a creative project,” he says with characteristic quiet humour. “Every day is a varied day, and that’s a good day for me.”

With a Masters in Music from McGill and a professional career working at some of the industry’s top recording studios, McNally has spent much of his past decade on campus putting UVic on par with other Canadian institutions. Not only does he teach with the joint Computer Science/Music program, but he also designed and maintains four digital audio studios, trains the technicians responsible for the recording and sound re-enforcement of all School of Music concerts, and supports any faculty, staff or student with audio needs. Across campus, McNally is also a member of the Computer Advisory Committee and worked in collaboration with the Mearns Centre for Learning to upgrade the library’s multi-media rooms.

Not that he’s given up on his recording background. Just as this interview was happening, McNally was completing his latest CD collaboration with the School of Music’s Colin Tilney—an internationally renowned harpsichord, clavichord and fortepiano artist—and has also recorded albums for the Lafayette String Quartet and music for filmmaker and composer John Celona. “I also work with external people, like Victoria Symphony’s Terence Tam and his wife, the pianist Lorraine Min, and Symphony cellist Brian Yoon, as well as Pacific Opera,” he says.

What brings this level of classical talent to UVic, rather than record at the Royal Theatre? “We’ve got a good recital hall that’s quieter than any of the options downtown,” he says. “And we’ve got great pianos in our Steinways.” There’s also the presence of McNally himself. “It’s a good combination,” he agrees. “Certainly with Pacific Opera’s Young Artist series, they’re looking for an education side to it—not just someone to do the recording, but someone to speak to that experience as well.”

McNally performing "Resonant Chambers" at New Currents Festival in 2008 (photo: Lyssa Pearson)

McNally performing “Resonant Chambers” at New Currents Festival in 2008 (photo: Lyssa Pearson)

McNally has also started collaborating with local radio stations CFUV and CBC, the latter of which he assisted with their recent “Blues for Esi” concert supporting Giller Prize-winning author and UVic alumna Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues as a contender for the Canada Reads competition. “We sent a student down and by all accounts he did a really great job,” he says. “That was the first inkling that we could be a valuable partner for doing remotes, because CBC simply can’t afford to bring people over from Vancouver anymore.” McNally looks at both this kind of community engagement and the increasing popularity of his sound courses—demand for which has more than doubled since he came on board—as evidence that his work here has only just begun. “The studios still have plenty of room to grow,” he says.

Another progressive initiative he has spearheaded is the digital live streaming of School of Music concerts. “We’re doing really, really well with that—we’ve actually maxed out the server a couple of times,” he says enthusiastically. “A lot of it depends on the event, of course, but we’re getting regular listeners in Toronto, the UK and Germany. Even if we’re getting 30 or 50 more people listening live, that’s more people spreading it around.”

McNally with The Krells (photo: Darren Stone, Times Colonist)

McNally with The Krells (photo: Darren Stone, Times Colonist)

Given all McNally does at UVic—in addition to his personal creative collaborations as part of the live electronics trio The Krells—does he ever miss the rock & roll lifestyle? “Yes,” he hedges. “I miss the environment, and I miss the people who are drawn to work in big studios . . . the hours, not so much.” He pauses and laughs. “I do miss the scope of the projects—working on something that goes out to that many people in the world is a pretty cool feeling.”

But so is training the next generation of recording artists.

Shelagh Rogers named next UVic chancellor

It’s the kind of news that will warm the heart of any arts supporter: famed CBC Radio host Shelagh Rogers has been named the University of Victoria’s 11th chancellor.

UVic's new chancellor designate, Shelagh Rogers

UVic’s new chancellor-designate, Shelagh Rogers Credit: UVic Photo Services

The news was announced to a packed room in UVic’s Mearns Centre for Learning on May 29, as a beaming Rogers took to the stage and said, “To speak in a very non-chancellorian way, I’m thrilled out of my bean.” The genuine laughter and applause with which this statement was greeted was a strong indication of the popularity of the announcement. “I feel like over the last little while I’ve been dating UVic,” Rogers qiupped. “I’m glad now to be in a relationship with you.”

Click here to listen to her interview on CBC Radio’s All Points West with 2013 Southam professor Jo-Ann Roberts.

A longtime associate of the Department of Writing and friend to the Faculty of Fine Arts, Rogers will assume the office for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2015. As the titular head of UVic, the chancellor is the chair of convocation, confers all degrees and is a member of the university’s board of governors, as well as the senate (which governs the university’s academic affairs). The position carries no remuneration.

Rogers hosting the Litereary Celebration of Lorna Crozier in November 2013

“As UVic’s chancellor, Shelagh Rogers will enhance the excellence of our university. She will bring tremendous energy and great insight to her new role. Her national reputation as an advocate for Canadian arts and culture will serve the university well,” write nominators Dr. Sarah Blackstone, Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, and Dr. Lynne Van Luven, Associate Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts. “Shelagh has a deep commitment to higher education and to the Aboriginal reconciliation process. She has the ability to ask the right questions and to tell the whole story so that others can understand complex and urgent issues and ideas. UVic could not ask for a better ambassador as we build on our reputation for excellence in teaching, research, and community engagement.”

Speaking at the event, UVic President Jamie Cassels noted that Rogers “exemplifies the values that characterize our university. She is deeply connected with communities across Canada; her cultural contributions and ability to reach into people’s everyday lives as a well-known broadcaster and as an advocate for public awareness on important societal issues will make her an outstanding ambassador for the university. On campus, her trademark warmth, compassion and enthusiasm will help inspire our students and connect with them on a very authentic level.”

Chancellor-designate Shelagh Rogers meets the media. Credit: UVic Photo Services

Chancellor-designate Shelagh Rogers meets the media. Credit: UVic Photo Services

A veteran broadcast journalist, Rogers is currently the host and a producer of The Next Chapter, a CBC Radio program about Canadian writers and songwriters. She moved to BC in 2003 after 23 years working on CBC news and current affairs radio programs. In 2011, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions as a promoter of Canadian culture, and for her volunteer work in the fields of mental health and literacy. She has committed herself to working toward reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people from coast to coast to coast, and was inducted as an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in June 2011. As Shelley Ambrose, co-publisher of The Walrus Magazine, has said, “Think of her as Canada’s ear. Then add a brain, a heart . . . and a very recognizable voice. That’s Shelagh Rogers.”

Rogers hosting the 2011 Southam Lecture

Rogers hosting the 2011 Southam Lecture

No stranger to UVic events, Rogers recently hosted the Department of Writing scholarship fundraiser A Literary Celebration of Lorna Crozier in November 2103, as well as the Harvey S. Southam Lecture by Richard Wagamese in February 2011. Better still, it turns out that Writing professor Lynne Van Luven was the person who first thought of nominating Rogers.

“I remembered all the great interviews I had had with her over the years, how she always gets right to the heart of a book, and responds so warmly and honestly to her subject, whoever they are,” says Van Luven. “Then I remembered what a great time we had when she hosted the Lorna Crozier Scholarship fundraiser.  She seemed to be just the best person I could think of because of her wide range of interests, her great interviewing and communication skills and her obvious curiosity about the world around her.  I thought, ‘If I were convocating, I’d like someone like Shelagh presiding at the ceremonies.’”

While Rogers will be UVic’s second female chancellor, she is the first from the world of the arts. We congratulate her, and look forward with to her tenure great anticipation.

More Writing prizes & nominations

There’s never a slow season, it seems, when it comes to honouring faculty, students and alumni of the Writing department.

Newly minted Writing MFA Erin Frances Fisher was announced as the winner of the 20th annual $5,000 Writers’ Trust RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers on May 27, with the jury praising her as “a writer you will see again.” Fellow top-three finalist and $1,000 winner Leah Jane Esau is also a former Writing student. Both were selected by the jury from a field of 133 blind submissions. The winning and nominated stories can be downloaded free at iTunes.com/BronwenWallace.

Erin Frances Fisher

Erin Frances Fisher

Fisher (who also holds a BFA from the Department of Writing) has had her stories been shortlisted and won prizes from The Malahat Review and PRISM international. Her work has also been published in Riddle Fence, Little Fiction, and Granta; she is also a pianist and a faculty member at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

The Bronwen Wallace jury was quick to praise for her entry, “Girl,” as “a visceral tale guaranteed to make you shiver, ‘Girl’ reminds us of the truth that humans are more than blood and bone,” notes the jury. “With a surprising and perfect ending, flawless sentences throughout, and a consistently realistic tone, this short story is as vast and satisfying as a great novel.”

Leah Jane Esau

Leah Jane Esau

Former student Esau is a playwright and fiction writer based in Montreal, where she recently graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada. Her play Disappeared won the 2012 Pam Dunn Award as well as the 2012 Tom Hendry Award, and she holds an MA in drama from the University of Toronto. Her story Dream Interpretation” was singled out as being “Compressed and expansive at the same time, ‘Dream Interpretation’ is a story that will leave you both completely satisfied and wanting more. Each new revelation is surprising and disturbing, as Leah Jane Esau skilfully doles out the backstory and brings her characters to life. Nothing is what it seems, least of all dreams.”

Writing MFA alumnus Garth Martens was the 2011 poetry winner in the Bronwen Wallace Awards, and alumna Marjorie Celona won for fiction in 2008. The RBC Bronwen Wallace Award rewards writers who are under age 35 and unpublished in book form, and alternates between poetry and fiction each year.

Madeline Sonik

Madeline Sonik

Meanwhile, longtime Writing instructor Madeline Sonik and current student K’ari Fisher are both on the 12-writer shortlist for the Exile Quarterly $15,000 Carter V. Cooper short fiction prize.  Regardless of where they place in the contest, both will als be included in the forthcoming CVC4 Anthology. The winner of the  Carter V. Cooper short fiction prize will be announced at the end of May.

Congratulations also go out to Writing alum Ashley Little for her pair of wins at the BC Book Prizes in May: her book The New Normal won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize while her other book Anatomy of a Girl Gang picked up the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize!

FH259Also in the “recent winner” category is alumna Kayla Czaga, who won first the $2,000 first-place prize in The Fiddlehead‘s 23rd annual Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize for her piece, “That Great Burgundy-Upholstered Beacon of Dependability.” Honourable mention in that same category also went to MFA alumna Kyeren Regehr for her poem, “Dorm Room 214, who picked up $250.

Two Writing department playwrights were also recently announced as winners of Theatre BC’s 2013 Playwriting Competition.

Sheldon Seigel (left) with Writing professor Maureen Bradley

Sheldon Seigel (left) with Writing professor Maureen Bradley

Congratulations to current undergrad Shedon Seigel and MFA grad Peter Boychuk. Siegel’s play Last Fall was selected as the winner of the One Act competition from a field of 23 entries, while Boychuk’s one-act play Gamergrlz was awarded the Special Merit prize. (Interesting side-note: Seigel’s play emerged from WR203, the second-year playwriting workshop, and was presented as a SATCO workshop production in the Department of Theatre in 2013.)

Seigel was also recently in the news as one of the final five finalists in the infamous Three-Day Novel Writing Contest.  And Boychuk garnered media attention with a full production of his play Shelter from the Storm by Touchstone Theatre at Vancouver’s fabled Firehall Arts Centre in 2012.

Peter Boychuk

Peter Boychuk

The winning playwrights will have their plays read by volunteer actors during the week of Theatre BC’s Annual Provincial Theatre Festival “Destination Mainstage”  led by host, jury member and Writing grad Michael Armstrong, July 8-10 at the Thompson Rivers University Actors Workshop Theatre in Kamloops BC.  The Playwrights will also be honored  at the Theatre BC “Destination Mainstage” Awards Ceremony on July 12. Seigel wins $750 and a trophy, while Boychuk receives $500 and a trophy.

Finally, Writing MFA alumna and busy playwright Sally Stubbs will be at Calgary’s Lunchbox Theatre in June, where her script Spinning You Home has been selected for the Suncor Energy Stage One Festival. After a week-long workshop process the play will be presented to the public in a staged reading.

Sally Stubbs

Sally Stubbs

Stubbs’ play Centurions was also selected from 75 cross-Canada submissions to be featured in Nightwood Theatre’s National Play Reading Series, part of the New Groundswell Festival which runs in September in Toronto. The script will receive a workshop and a public reading. Centurionshas also been shortlisted for the 2015 Women Playwrights International Conference in Cape Town.

And, after an intense period of rewrites, Stubbs’ revised script And Bella Sang with Us received a workshop and a very successful public reading at the Firehall Arts Centre’s BC Buds in May 11, and there will be a Winnipeg launch of the published script in October, sponsored by publisher Scirocco Drama.