Uvic’s School of Music celebrates 50th anniversary

Uvic’s School of Music celebrates 50th anniversary

Uvic’s School of Music celebrates 50th anniversary

By Kyle Wells

The University of Victoria’s School of Music is marking its 50th anniversary and is inviting everyone, from alumni to faculty to the public to join in the celebrations.

The department started in 1967, a few years after the university itself had opened. Part of a push for fine arts, the department started small but grew dramatically in 1969 when a number of faculty were hired from the United States to come up and improve the program.

That same year the department’s current director, Christopher Butterfield, entered university at UVic, eventually ending up in the music department, studying harpsichord and composition.

“I spent four very happy years playing and learning and composing,” Butterfield said. “It was a good time.”

After graduating, Butterfield spent many years in the United States and Toronto, before making his way back to the West Coast in 1992 to teach in the department he had graduated from. Now he is at the helm of the department, full circle from where he started and excited to be part of the 50th celebration.

“It’s a very strong community and always has been,” Butterfield said. “That spirit’s never changed.”

To celebrate this community and the history of the department, the School of Music has put together a packed fall/winter lineup of performances, workshops, talks and events for current students, faculty, alumni and the public at large.

“I have to say, I’ve been doing this for a long time, but [the lineup] is the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen us put out,” said Butterfield. “There’s a lot of major people and major events.”

The signature event of the anniversary season will be the Gala Concert on Saturday, Dec. 2, which will see guest Timothy Vernon, founding artistic director of Pacific Opera Victoria, conduct the UVic Chorus and Orchestra through a series of pieces by Handel, Hindemith and Beethoven. School of Music faculty pianist Arthur Rowe and trumpeter Merrie Klazek will also appear as soloists for a work by Shostakovich. Plus, of course, there will be cake.

“That’s a major event that’s part of a whole alumni gala weekend for people to come and revisit the school,” said Butterfield.

On Friday, Sept. 29, violinist James Ehnes will lead a free masterclass with School of Music string sections in the MacLaurin Building. Ehnes has performed in over 35 countries on five continents and is one of Canada’s most beloved violinists.

“That’s a major coup, to bring somebody like him in,” said Butterfield.

CBC Radio’s On the Island host Gregor Craigie will add his voice as narrator during a Faculty Chamber Concert and Dinner: French Connections on Saturday, Oct. 14, featuring such entrees as Poulenc, Stravinsky and Saint-Saens. For this night, Owen Underhill, School of Music conductor, will join faculty and alumni on stage, with special guests, for this celebratory concert of stories and songs.

Polaris Prize winner Tanya Tagaq will be joined by Element Choir director Christine Duncan for a guest talk and workshop on Tuesday, Oct. 17. Tagaq is a Canadian Inuk experimental vocalist who blends throat singing with electronic, punk and rock music, and has played to packed festivals and concert halls all over the world.

For more information and a full lineup of events visit https://finearts.uvic.ca/music/.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Michael Demers, performing here as a member of The Lonely, died May 1 after a year-long battle with leukemia. (Photo by Benji Duke)
Victoria music community mourning Michael Demers

Veteran singer-songwriter, co-founder of The Lonely dies at 63 due to leukemia

The Royal B.C. Museum has added a tamba dining set, used by a Punjabi man on his voyage to Canada in 1927, to its ‘100 Objects of Interest’ online collection. (Courtesy of Royal B.C. Museum)
Punjabi dining set added to Royal B.C. Museum’s ‘100 Objects of Interest’ collection

Set used by Indar Singh Gill on his voyage from Punjab to Canada in 1927

Victoria-born musician Bryce Dane Soderberg took to Instagram Monday to call out the Greater Victoria School District on its proposed cuts to elementary and middle school music programs. (Bryce Dane Soderberg/Instagram)
Victoria-born Lifehouse vocalist calls out SD61 on proposed music cuts

‘It will be a big loss to future generations’ Bryce Dane Soderberg posted to his Instagram

Musqueam and Qualicum First Nations artist, Mathew Andreatta, next to several of his ongoing projects, including carvings and illustrations. (Submitted photo)
Island artist considers art a means to reconnect with his Indigenous identity

Andreatta thought of TOSH as a space of learning and creation

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong are presenting an online reading on May 9. (Photos courtesy Joni Marcolin/Heather Armstrong)
Nanaimo playwrights present online Mother’s Day script readings

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong to read from in-progress plays

Marianne Turley is one of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners for Honour in Culture. (Bulletin file photo)
Longtime Vancouver Island Symphony board member gets posthumous culture award

Marianne Turley receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

A writer studying in England drew from her roots growing up in Sooke for a story that’s been short-listed for a prestigious international prize.
Former Sooke resident up for prestigious writing award

Cara Marks earns nomination for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Most Read