Student Ambassadors Fall 2019

2021-22 Academic Year Events Listing

September 30, 2021: National Day of Truth and Reconciliation 

Natl Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Lament Bearing Witness EJB Lobby 30 Sept 2021-Nolan Hildebrand, edited by Eliot Britton
Lament: Bearing Witness, photo by Nolan Hildebrand with Eliot Britton, editing

On September 30, as we recognize and honour the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, The Faculty of Music hosted Lament: Bearing Witness, an art installation in the EJB lobby (please visit the project website for details, originally released on July 1, 2021, in collaboration with The Aga Khan Museum), and Drum for the Children, a gathering, for the U of T Music community.

With thanks to Music Education’s Professor Dolloff, Hussein Janmohamed, Michael Denomme, Lauren Levorson-Wong and their collaborators for organizing and sharing.

From the Lament: Bearing Witness project description:
“This is a call to recognize, to bear witness, and to move forward across differences to make this a better world. Through joining our voices in solidarity in the spirit of pluralism which sees our human diversity as an asset, we hope that this project can spark healing, understanding, inclusion, and societal evolution.”

From the Drum for the Children website:
“On this very first –Canadian–National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is calling upon people around the world to gather –safely– to drum and sing for the missing children of Indian Residential Schools.”


All items listed below relate to work done in the 2020-21 academic year.

2020-21 Academic Year Events listing

Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office at the University of Toronto
Visit the ARCDO website frequently for details on upcoming events including Race, Equity & Action Speaker Series, Restore @ U of T Program, and feature workshops.

Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Training at the Faculty of Music
The Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Committee at the Faculty of Music invites and encourages all students, faculty, staff to show your support by attending the following important events:

  1. Informal Conversation about LGBTQ2S+ identities, communities and experiences:

Friday, February 5, 2021 from 10:10–11:00am led by Allison Burgess, Director, Sexual & Gender Diversity Office

  1. Anti-Racism Training Workshop:

Thursday, February 25 from 12:10–2:00pm, for Faculty of Music faculty and staff only. Keynote and Q & A with Rania El Mugammar

  1. Sexual and Gender Diversity Workshop:

Thursday, March 25, 2021 from 12:10–2:00pm led by Allison Burgess and David Pereira.

This workshop is for faculty and staff only. A separate STUDENT ONLY Sexual and Gender Diversity “listening session” with Allison Burgess was scheduled in April.


MacMillan Singers 2018

2020-21 Academic Year Actions by Academic Area

Note: There have been discussions, changes, and actions in every academic area at the Faculty of Music following the Calls to Action. Actions listed here are not necessarily meant to track every single change made. We wish to list as many as we can to show examples and give ideas/opportunities for learning and change for those within the faculty, and the public.

Historical Performance
For the academic year, Historical Performance added the Amplified Series with the 4 artists of the Amplified Opera: Teiya Kasahara, Marion Newman, Asitha Tennekoon and Aria Umezawa working alongside Jonathon Adams, Alexandra Delle Donne and DMA students Ryan McDonald and Camille Rogers.

Jazz Studies
In August 2020, a Jazz Area Working Group on Anti-Racism, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (AREDI) was formed. Members of this group are Associate Dean Ryan McClelland, Jazz Area Chair Mike Murley, Performance Office Administrator Eddy Aitken, SL2 faculty Andrew Downing, SL1 faculty Jacqueline Teh, DMA student representative Meghan Gilhespy and undergraduate student representative Jennifer Co-Yee Lo.

In October 2020, The Jazz Area AREDI working group approved a U of T Jazz Area statement acknowledging Black American Music posted on This statement and a separate statement on anti-racism, diversity and inclusion link to a document outlining and providing updates on AREDI actions taken by U of T Jazz.

The working group proposes that the above statements be included in syllabi for all courses specific to the Jazz Area. Syllabi should also acknowledge the Black artists whose music will be referenced and studied in these courses.

Beginning in the 2021-22 academic year, the working group proposes the creation of a number of small jazz ensembles focused on the music or style of particular Black artists, eg, Mingus ensemble, Strayhorn ensemble, or Shorter ensemble. The mandate is not to necessarily limit these ensembles exclusively to this repertoire but rather to provide a focus for a performing situation in which the students will gain a deeper understanding of some of the most influential Black artists in the history of jazz music. Students in these ensembles will be encouraged to arrange repertoire for the ensemble and/or possibly compose in the style of the artist(s) whom they are studying.

In a joint venture led by #thisisartschool in November and December, Jazz Studies and the Faculty of Music Alumni Relations Office supported a survey of Jazz Studies Alumni. A report is scheduled to be released at the end of February 2021.

Music Education
The Music Education program has historically had numerous courses that address anti-racism policies and anti-oppression approaches. An outline of undergraduate and graduate courses that address that be found here: UofT Music Mus Ed ARAO approaches

With Prof Bina John, Music Education is joining work by the Marigold Music Program to develop a course on Civic Engagement and Community Co-op.

Music and Health
Professor Amy Clements-Cortes has incorporated instruction on anti-oppressive practices and a final paper of “Building an Anti-Oppressive Practice” as part of course MU7415 Topics in Music & Health.

Music Technology and Digital Media
In the required 2nd year course, Digital Media Distribution, Prof Catherine Moore has added a section on “Cultural Variety as Digital Media Strategy”.

The musicology area is committed to highlighting issues of racist, gender- and sexuality-related oppression in our teaching. While we recognise that we are in the early stages of a long process of dismantling oppressive discourses, we have held many discussions with students and with each other over the past several months, and revised the content of many of our core and elective courses.

Some of the revised content and commitments include:
• adding units in courses at all levels on institutional racism in music, on the role of western art music and opera in disseminating toxic ideologies of race, on the effect of colonialism on Indigenous musics, and on the ways that white supremacy has historically been embedded in the academic study of music (for example, the course Music, Power, and Politics (HMU 322) began with discussions of institutional racism in music – centering on Philip Ewell’s “Music Theory and the White Racial Frame,” Music Theory Online 26/2 (Sept, 2020) and Denise Dalphond “Black Detroit: Sonic Distortion Fuels Social Distortion,” Chapter 5 in Black Lives Matter and Music Maultsby, Orejuela and Shonekan ed. (I U Press, 2018).
• in lecture demonstrations, in all cases where it is possible, opting for performances that feature BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ+ artists, and making clear that the all-white-male orchestras that were common until the late 20th century had discriminatory policies (for example, in Music in North America (HMU340), approximately half of the music studied is by BIPOC musicians).
• ensuring that diversity is reflected in supplementary online materials, including study and research guides provided by the Music Library
• shedding light on oppressive social structures where these underpin or feed into traditions we discuss (i.e., institutions funded by slavery or colonial exploitation, instrumental or sound reproduction technologies that exploit labour and natural resources of colonies)
• shifting emphasis of historical courses away from the model of the white genius composer, toward aspects of musical life that have always been more diverse (i.e. performance, listening, reception)
• studying music by composers from underrepresented groups, making clear that the sometimes-peripheral status of these composers is reflective not of their music but of the social structures that disempowered them (for example, now in Western Art Music History, 1750 to the Present (HMU126) a minimum ten of the twelve weeks include music by women composers, and ten weeks include music by people of colour)
• engaging with academics from underrepresented groups in every course syllabus
• using our platforms, including courses, seminars, visitorships, and colloquium series, to amplify voices of persons from underrepresented groups, including as guest speakers, performers, panelists, and seminar leaders
• designing large TA groups (i.e. for survey courses) with diversity in mind
• attending faculty equity training sessions
• sharing resources and training for instructors and TAs to deal with discriminatory statements in class discussions

Completed two ARCDO sessions (Faculty & Students attended) with one more session planned for the winter semester.
1) November 17th – Understanding Racial Discrimination & Harassment
2) December 9th – Addressing Micro-aggressions

Opera brought on Korin Thomas-Smith as a Diversity Coach this year and he is currently working on creating a program for our typical spotlight on opera (historically features our 2nd mainstage opera). This performance has changed to a Spotlight on Diversity. Korin is curating a diverse range in repertoire for students to explore.

Opera started a partnership with Opera InReach. We have four seminars with the facilitators of Opera InReach. They will cover a range of topics which will include: Teaching Artistry, Community Engagement, Canadian Identity in Opera (breakdown of structures and demographics), Opera & Spoken word,  and a Panel Session with Opera InReach mentors on equity diversity, inclusion, access, and justice.

Vocal coach Andrea Grant has completed program to receive a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from eCornell.

In May 2021, Prof Sandra Horst issued a message to Opera students and related faculty and staff affirming the need for safe learning spaces and links to campus resources, including the U of T Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre.


In response to students’ inquiry about learning more about the history and evolution of the percussion instruments that they play, Prof Bev Johnston included these lectures in her Instrumental Performance class:

‘Rhythm in Music Theory: The 5% Quandary’. Lecture by professor emeritus Russell Hartenberger. (December 3, 2020)

‘The Evolution of the Marimba’ with special guests…SK Kakraba (Ghana/USA, Lester Godinez (Guatemala), Fernando Meza (Costa Rica/USA), William Moersch (USA). This class was on January 14, 2021


Voice Studies
This summer, Voice Studies commissioned Resource on Vocal Works by BIPOC Composers by alumna Alexandra Smither. Released in September 2020, this resource is currently licensed for use by the faculty, students and staff of the Faculty of Music.

Guests: Voice Studies hosted Lawrence Brownlee and Denyce Graves as visiting artists this academic year. Voice Studies also invited Beau Dixon to give a master class called “The Song as Monologue”; Beau is returning this semester to coach all students who are participating in this year’s pre-recorded An Evening of Broadway Concert. In September and October alumna Dr. Melissa Morgan had three lectures for voice students to: discuss the past social and artistic climate for BIPOC artists, discuss select BIPOC performers and their significance in the broader community, and an Interactive discussion and Q and A, with emphasis on respectful performance practice and repertoire choices.

Concert: the annual “Celebrating Our Diversity” concert was, this year, featured in the Thursdays at Noon series, and organized by a wonderful concert committee: Leandra Dahm, Ineza Mugisha and Gabrielle Turgeon.

Curricular changes in the Voice Area: the following requirements were added to the Voice Jury and Recital requirement (added in August 2020).

• Voice students should include works in at least two languages other than English. In consultation with applied instructor, voice students are strongly encouraged to consider diversity and cultural inclusion in their repertoire choices by presenting works by BIPOC and other historically overlooked composers/ poets.

• It is required that a minimum of 8 minutes of repertoire by *BIPOC and/or other historically overlooked composers/ poets be presented on either the 3rd or 4th year recital; inclusion of this repertoire on both recitals is strongly encouraged.
• Students are required to include a work from the 21st Century on one or both recitals. It is required that a minimum of 8 minutes of repertoire by BIPOC and/or other historically overlooked composers/poets be presented on either the first or second year recital; inclusion of this repertoire on both recitals is strongly encouraged.

In our many repertoire courses (including Lieder, Mélodie, Topics in Performance and English Art Song), instructors are including an increasingly diverse array of composers and repertoire in the students’ assigned repertoire. For example, collaborative pianist and vocal coach instructor Dr. Kathryn Tremills has added numerous new elements to  lieder and vocal repertoire courses including a final project that requires students to find a composer from an underrepresented group to research, present and perform their music.

Auditions: to open the door a little wider to prospective applicants, the following line was added to the repertoire requirements for all undergraduate voice auditions:
• Applicants are welcome to include one additional selection, in any language or style, which is relevant to their heritage or musical background.

In May 2021, Prof Monica Whicher issued a message to Voice Studies students and related faculty and staff affirming the need for safe learning spaces and links to campus resources, including the U of T Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre.

Prof Eliot Britton with student in the EMS

Additional 2020-21 Academic Year Faculty Actions

Library Update

As submitted to U of T Music Faculty Council meeting on Tuesday, September 29 by Head Librarian Jan Guise:

Identifying collection gaps
-A sub-set of our student library workers volunteered to search known lists of works by BIPOC composers against our library holdings
-When they identify gaps they send titles to Trevor Deck to purchase
-Help please! If you know of lists of works in your area by BIPOC composers that we could search, please send them to us!

Digital Exhibit (in collaboration with FoMARA)
-Rebecca Shaw (Music Archivist) and Elizabeth Robinson (music library intern) are collaborating with FoMARA to create a digital exhibit to highlight the existing diversity in our library  collections and foster conversations about anti-racism in our musical communities

Guide to BIPOC musicians and related literature
-This guide supports research on the musical traditions and scholarship of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) individuals and groups.
– Created by grad student Tegan Niziol with Tim Neufeldt

Additional update from the Library from January 21, 2021: A Call to Action: The University of Toronto Music Library’s Response to Support BIPOC Music Studies and Anti-Racist Programming

Last updated: October 19 2021