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James Gifford

Voice

james giffordFrom 1993–95, I studied voice (bass) with Dale Throness as part of the first cohort of students in Music at Kwantlen. I also played recorders in chamber ensembles. While a Kwantlen student, I wrote a fanfare to commemorate the granting of University status in 1995 and arranged a "Christmas Suite" for chamber orchestra, choir, and soloists – I remember most that Kwantlen allowed me to try out new ideas and discover how my studies in Music related to my other work.

After completing a BA in English, I went on to UBC to study recorder and voice for a year in the performance program then left to do an MA in Humanities (Literature & Music). That led to a PhD in Literature, but most of my doctoral coursework was in Music again, for chamber ensembles and opera. I completed six terms in the opera studio at the Victoria Conservatory and twelve terms in the opera workshop at the University of Alberta – about a dozen opera productions overall, mostly in the Mozart repertoire.

I'm now Associate Professor in the School of the Humanities at Fairleigh Dickinson University and teach HUMN 3220 "Social & Political History of Music" in my regular course rotation. I still publish on Music but haven't performed actively for a few years. My article "Dramatic Text, Music Text: Competing Nationalist Styles in Restoration Opera" first began with my studies at Kwantlen when I was interested in the role of Aeneas in Purcell's /Dido & Aeneas/ for my voice lessons. Eventually, it also led to my current research on Marxist and anarchist responses to Wagner's operas in critical theory. I wouldn't have gone on to any of those things without the outstanding teachers I had at KPU back when the Music Department first opened its doors and took in a young kid from out in the valley.

I'm on Twitter at @GiffordJames

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