Session/Séance 7g: MusCan Panel 1 Canadian Modern

Session/Séance 7g: MusCan Panel 1. Saturday/samedi 27 May 2017. 9:00AM - 10:30AM, EJB224.
Canadian Modern. 
     Chair: JEREMY STRACHAN (Cornell University)


1. Marshall McLuhan and Higher Music Education
     Glen Carruthers, Wilfrid Laurier University

R. Murray Schafer studied at the University of Toronto from 1952 to 1955. He left the university disillusioned and maintained that he had learned little from his formal studies. Schafer acknowledged, however, that the individual at U of T who influenced his views most was Marshall McLuhan. McLuhan was maligned by the academic community of his own day. Since that time, interest in McLuhan has been keen and debates concerning his prescient theories cross multiple disciplines. The way in which McLuhan’s theories relate to teaching and learning broadly has garnered scholarly attention and, of course, he is cited frequently in studies of educational technology. It is surprising, though, given his impact on Schafer, that there exists scant critical commentary on the implications of McLuhan’s theories for either mass or higher music education. The present study is a step towards redressing this gap. The intersections between cultural identity and community in higher music education are viewed through the lens of McLuhan’s theories. Beginning with a review of McLuhan’s writings on music and education, the present study interrogates the role, relevance and means of music teaching and learning in universities today. The study concludes that McLuhan’s iconoclastic views have direct bearing on formal learning environments, like music schools, that struggle with notions of inclusivity and exclusivity, community music and concert music, improvisation and textual interpretation, as they embrace timely and sweeping curricular reform.

2. Radical Socialism and Accessible Serialism in John Weinzweig’s Work for CBC Wartime Radio Drama
     Carolyne Sumner, University of Toronto

Radio drama was a quintessential source of entertainment for Canadian audiences during the Second World War, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) used the art form to distribute propaganda and garner support for the Canadian war effort. Similarly, CBC radio drama became an essential artistic outlet for artists and composers to articulate their political beliefs to a national audience. This paper frames Canadian composer John Weinzweig’s works for the CBC radio drama series New Homes for Old (1941) within the socio-political climate of the 1930s and 1940s, and suggests that radio drama provided Weinzweig with a national soapbox for his radical socialist ideals during a time of political upheaval. My research draws on archival materials from Library and Archives Canada, the CBC Music Library Archives, and Concordia’s Centre for Broadcasting and Journalism Studies to build upon the biographical work of Elaine Keillor and Brian Cherney (Keillor, 1994; Cherney, 2011). I establish Weinzweig’s socialist ties and argue that his political leanings prompted him to simplify his serial language in favour of a simplified modernist aesthetic which appealed to Canada’s conservative wartime audiences. Specifically, this study of Weinzweig’s radio works reveals how the composer desired to make serial compositions accessible and palatable, and shows how he incorporated vernacular idioms such as folk songs and national anthems as foils to the elitist European serial aesthetic. In doing so, Weinzweig uses a powerful and pervasive medium to promote his unique compositional style, and also to reflect the cultural, political, and aesthetic ideals of leftist socialism.

3. Canadian Cultural Policy in the 1970s: Beyond the Cold War Paradigm
     Valentina Bertolani, University of Calgary

The scholarship on cultural diplomacy after World War II is strongly focused on the Cold War paradigm. Namely, most contributions investigate to what extent various American private and public actors created a global network of cultural exchanges. Even though this framework is ubiquitous in the scholarship, it is not exhaustive. Indeed, Canada represents an interesting counterexample. In the 1970s Canada was the destination of many international artists. Many of them became Canadian citizens and identified as Canadian artists. Also, many Canadian music students and young professionals were travelling to complete their studies abroad. However, at least two influential figures, namely Maryvonne Kendergi – an advocate for contemporary music at CBC and founder of the Quebec Contemporary Music Society – and Arnold Walter – a professor at the University of Toronto and first president of the Canadian Association of University Schools of Music – unequivocally expressed their worries for a brain drain of young music professionals, and articulated complex and thought-provoking ideas on the internationalization process in music. Taking the cue from them, this paper, which draws on an ongoing research project, will explore the role of Canadian public funding strategy. Differently from the USA, Canada carefully balanced the effort to promote Canadian artists abroad with the core mission of reinforcing and promoting the infrastructural and identity development within Canada. Therefore, the examination of the Canadian strategy offers the chance to see how paradigms other than the Cold War one (e.g. the post-colonial one) might add to our understanding of global cultural strategies after World War II.



Saturday Schedule | Programme - samedi
(Session 7 | Séance 7)

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