Music at Memorial University of Newfoundland

Memorial University of Newfoundland. Non-denominational university in St John's. Memorial University evolved from Memorial University College, founded in 1925 as a memorial to Newfoundlanders killed in World War I. It gained university status in 1949 and moved to a new campus in the city in 1961. A department of music was established in 1975 and was granted independent status as the Memorial University School of Music in 1985.

Music Instruction

Beginning in 1925, non-credit music appreciation courses and choral singing were offered sporadically. With the part-time appointment of Ignatius A. Rumboldt in 1952, a 100-voice student glee club was organized and performed on a regular basis. In 1960, Rumboldt was appointed full-time music specialist with the university and music consultant with its extension service. For the latter, Rumboldt developed community choirs in Newfoundland and Labrador and orchestras in St John's and Corner Brook. The St John's orchestra detached itself from the university in 1969 to become the St John's Symphony Orchestra (later Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra). R. Murray Schafer was artist-in-residence 1963-5 at Memorial U.

Donald F. Cook joined Rumboldt as a specialist in music under the Faculty of Arts in 1968 and the following year established the first of several credit courses in music history and music education. In order to accommodate the demand for these courses, H. Doreen Coultas (b 1926) was appointed to teach music education in 1972.

The Department of Music was established in 1975 under the Faculty of Arts with Cook as head, and registered its first students in September 1976. At the same time, the new department assumed responsibility for a summer instrumental camp for young musicians (established in 1972 under Cook's direction by the university's extension service) and also established a music preparatory school (from which developed the St John's Suzuki Talent Education Programme).

At Memorial University's Sir Wilfred Grenfell College campus in Corner Brook, Ignatius Rumboldt established a college/community choir during his term as director of music 1975-7. He was succeeded by B. Wayne Rogers. Though the college offers no courses toward the music degree, it has had first-year arts courses in music appreciation and music rudiments, and has offered an elementary school music methods course under the Bachelor of Education program.

Student Enrolment, Faculty, Degree Programs

In 1990 the School had 120 students and 22 teachers (12 full- and 10 part-time) but did not have a graduate program. In 2009 the School had 200 students and 60 teachers. Programs have included the four-year B MUS (majors in performance, history, composition), and the five-year B MUS ED. In 2002 an M MUS was introduced, with specializations in performance, pedagogy and conducting, followed by the addition of MA and Ph D programs in ethnomusicology in 2005. Directors of the School have been Donald F. Cook 1985-90, Maureen Volk 1990-2000, and Tom Gordon beginning in 2000.

Facilities and Performing Ensembles

A new music building was opened in October 1985. The new facility, named in honour of university president emeritus M.O. Morgan, included a 300-seat recital hall (named the D.F. Cook Recital Hall in 1993) with adjustable acoustics and a 43-rank Casavant organ, an electronic music studio, rehearsal rooms, library, 30 practice rooms, and 22 teaching studios. Petro-Canada Hall, a 124-seat performance venue, was opened in 2005, and has recording and web-casting capabilities. Additional facilities include the Charles W. Hutton Choral Room and the Eleanor Mews Jerrett Instrumental Room. Other organizations that have used the music building include the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, the international music festivals Sound Symposium and Festival 500, and the Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival.

Performing ensembles have included the Memorial U Festival Choir, Chamber Choir, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Chamber Orchestra, Brass Choir, World Music Ensemble, Opera Workshop, and the Scruncheons Percussion Ensemble. The NewFound Music Festival has been held annually at the School beginning in 2004.

Research Affiliations

Memorial University's Department of Folklore was founded by Herbert Halpert in 1968 and was directed by him until 1973. His successors have included Kenneth S. Goldstein, David D. Buchan, Gerald Thomas, Paul Smith, Diane Goldstein, Martin Lovelace, and Diane Tye. It is the only anglophone department in the Commonwealth offering undergraduate, MA, and PH D degrees in folklore. The department's important Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA) possesses a remarkably rich collection of field-tapes and manuscripts relating to a broad cross-section of Newfoundland and Labrador traditional cultures, including music, dance, and drama. MUNFLA houses hundreds of archival collections, including the MacEdward Leach Fonds, the Kenneth Peacock Fonds, the Maud Karpeles Fonds, the Elisabeth Greenleaf Fonds, and the Kenneth S. Goldstein Fonds.

The Centre for the Study of Music, Media and Place (MMaP), affiliated with the School of Music and the Department of Folklore, was founded by Beverley Diamond in 2002. International conferences held by the centre have included "Post-Colonial Distances: The Study of Popular Music in Canada and Australia" (2005) and the "North Atlantic Fiddle Convention" (2008).

Honorary Degrees

Honorary degrees have been granted to the English folklorist Maud Karpeles (1970), Ignatius Rumboldt (LLD 1980), Mavor Moore (D LITT 1984), Andreas Barban (LLD 1985), Malcolm Troup (LLD 1985), Émile Benoit (LLD 1988), Rosemarie Landry (D LITT 1996), Donald F. Cook (LLD 1999), Anton Kuerti (D LITT 2001), Peter Gardner (D LITT 2001), Ben Heppner (D LITT 2003), David Willcocks (D LITT 2003), Sister Katherine Bellamy (LLD 2006), Bruce Cockburn (D LITT 2007), Pamela Morgan (D LITT 2007), and Anita Best (D LITT 2009).

See also Archives; Bibliography; Ethnomusicology.