Hussein Janmohamed is a dynamic choral conductor, composer and community music educator. He has performed with some of Canada's finest choirs including Chor Leoni Men's Choir, Laudate Singers, and the National Youth Choir of Canada. Hussein is recognized as a leader in choral music for community building, cultural development and inspirational leadership. He is the co-founder of the Vancouver & Canadian Ismaili Muslim Youth Choirs. He has conducted choirs for audiences across Canada and in the presence of His Highness the Aga Khan and Governor General Adrienne Clarkson. Hussein's choral compositions, which have been premiered by eminent choirs, reflect a diversity of expression inspired by the Muslim world.
November 5th, 2011. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Filmed by Craig Ross: Video edited by David Ng
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
American Sign Language may soon be obsolete if these motion-sensing gloves come to market. For now, a UBC team are the only ones to enjoy harmonizing with their own themselves.
The gloves, designed by a team at the University of British Columbia led by Professor Sidney Fels, recognize their position in three-dimensional space and modulate an associated audible frequency. The right hand controls the basic sounds—an open hand creates vowels, closing it creates consonants while the pitch of the hand commands the pitch of the sound. The left hand controls "stops" for letters like B and P.
The team currently uses the device as a high-tech synthesizer allowing soloists to sing duet with themselves and have already put on multiple public performances with the help of electrical/computer engineering masters student and classical pianist, Johnty Wang. They also hope to adapt the system to control heavy machinery remotely. The worn device could also find use among the deaf, who could use it to communicate directly with the non-deaf using a series of hand gestures but without having to find an interpreter.
Matthew Emery pulls a stack of sheet music out of a leather case and unfolds it over the keyboard.
“Last week, I came in with this mess of paper,” he says, his fingers wandering over the keys as he scans the page. On it are lines of music staffs, covered with little pencil scratches. He’s been workshopping the piece with his professor and mentor, Dr Stephen Chapman. Scraps of paper are taped over sections that needed tightening up. “He said ‘okay, let’s sit down and play this together and work this out.’ I came this week and it’s a million times better. The lines are clearer, the harmonies. Every thing’s not cluttered. It’s organized.”
After a few finishing touches, Emery will send the piece of to a group of musicians who will perform it live for violin and piano in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto. It won’t be the first time the 20 year old composition student has heard his music performed live. He’s won numerous national awards for his work, which has been performed by the Vancouver Chamber Choir.
Emery started playing music early in life. His mother, a French horn player, introduced him to classical music. He started singing in choir at an early age, before turning to piano. Composition became a way to break the monotony of practice. “Like most kids I didn’t like practicing,” he says. “So I just started fooling around, and one day started writing down what I was fooling around with.”
When Emery was 14, his first composition was performed by a youth choir in his hometown of London, Ontario. It was an existential shift.
“You spend months in your room, writing these notes down, and then you hear them live for the first time, and you hear what’s been inside your head,” he says “Your heart either stops completely or it beats 1000 beats per minute and you get sweaty and everything just melts away, and you’re in this room, you can’t see any audience and it’s just this wall of sound that’s been inside your head that’s now coming out of someone else and going into your ears.”
“And so from there, it’s like a drug. You want to hear your music.”
That drive got him to UBC, where he is now studying under Dr Chapman—the head of the music composition department, considered by some to be Canada’s premier composer.
Emery studies mainly theory and composition—two pursuits that often find themselves at odds.
“You get bombarded all the time with form and structure. There’s form in music, but it’s also about learning to be expressive, about being creative,” he says. “You’re playing music that breaks all these rules, and you’re trying to understand that ‘Okay, this is what Beethoven is saying, but in order to do this justice, you have to throw all the rules you learned an hour ago in theory class, and break free of this mold that the school is in to be an artist.’”
The life of a composer is an ascetic one. Emery wakes up at six every morning and writes for an hour before heading off to class. It’s admittedly all he does. He runs in the same circles as other music students, who not surprisingly talk a lot of music. It’s an opinionated bunch. There are disagreements over everything–between self-described purists like Emery and more experimental composers who try to break the form. And most of them don’t really know much about popular music (the only modern artist Emery could name was Adele).
But in the dark of the theatre, Emery still gets that same thrill.
“You’re just sitting in the audience, and what’s been trapped inside your head you’re now hearing,” he says. “And the whole world just stops.”
From heroes and villains to laughter and heartache, opera offers timeless tales. For soprano Simone Osborne (DMPS ‘09), the universal stories that connect artists and audiences motivate her to perform, night after night.
“Seeing and hearing these stories about real people and real emotions remind us that we’re all equal,” says Simone, who recently debuted as Pamina in The Magic Flute, a production by the nation’s largest opera ensemble, the Canadian Opera Company (COC).
“There’s a certain amount of understanding that comes with being in a theatre—and that these feelings and states of mind are universal.”
Drawn to what she calls “an extremely intimate art form,” Simone believes that singing can have a positive influence in people’s lives.
“When people are really touched after a night at the theatre, they feel changed by that experience. I think the world needs a little bit more of that.”
Simone first appeared on stage in Europe at the age of 18. At 21, she won the prestigious opera competition—the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions—in New York City. She attributes her success to the training she received at UBC.
“The reason that I am an opera singer is because of UBC,” says Simone, who had performed 24 roles by the time she turned 24. “The UBC Opera program gave me opportunities to perform on stage right from the very beginning.”
Supported by the late patron of the performing arts, David Spencer, and founded on the belief that experience is crucial to success, the UBC Opera program offers students invaluable experiences: to perform in three productions every season; to sing in a variety of community engagements; and to tour in Europe, China and Canada during the summer.
“All of this, coupled with the incredible teaching faculty and the top-level courses, not only in Music but also in Arts—the great language classes, diction lessons and coaching—is unlike any other training program in Canada,” Simone says.
Established in 1997, the David Spencer Endowment has supported many young artists who have moved on to successful careers in North America, Europe and beyond. Simone is on her way to joining the ranks of illustrious alumni including Canadian tenor Ben Heppner (BMus ‘79, LLD ‘97) and mezzo-soprano Judith Forst (BMus ‘65, DLitt ‘91).
“There has never been a civilized society without the performing arts and without arts and culture,” adds Simone, whose next role is as Gilda in Rigoletto with the COC. “I think it’s our responsibility to take people out of their daily lives, engage with them, and remind them about some of the more important things in life.”
source: faculty of arts
The UBC Faculty of Arts has jumped on the popular ‘big ideas’ concept and given it a decidedly Arts-focused bent. Six professors have just 10 minutes each to present an idea that changed their world. Everything from Music to Economics, Philosophy to Political Science and First Nations Studies to Psychology are included in this thought-provoking forum.
Place: Buchanan Block A, Lecture Hall 101 1866 Main Mall
Time: 6 – 7 pm Doors open at 5:30 pm
Free. Everyone welcome.
Patrick Francois – Economics
“Markets and Morality: What effect does market competition have on people’s pro-sociality?”
Historically, social scientists have argued for both good and bad effects of markets on individual behaviour. But only recently have we been able to bring evidence to bear on it. I’ll explore a bit of that evidence, and discuss what it implies.
Joe Henrich – Economics, Psychology
“How Culture Drove Human Evolution.”
Explaining the origins of human nature, from our fancy brains to our altruistic sentiments, requires understanding culture. Deep in our species’ evolutionary history, cultural evolution created novel selection pressures that began to built our minds and bodies in unique ways, gradually producing the only ultra-cultural species. Biology shaped culture, and then culture shaped our biology.
Kathryn Harrison – Political Science
“The green invisible hand: Using markets to solve today’s environmental challenges.”
Climate change represents a failure of free markets on a global scale. When buyers and sellers engage in financial transactions that increase their welfare, they neglect the associated costs imposed on the rest of society and on future generations. While some would argue that capitalism is the problem, an alternative solution is to rely on self-interest and market mechanisms to fix the failures of the market. Policies such as cap and trade and carbon taxes create a “green invisible hand” that may provide the solution to our environmental problems.
Rena Sharon – Music
“Art Song – Rescuing an Endangered Musical Species”
The urge to fuse words to musical pitches – to sing a song – is universal. Our stories are captured and passed through generations of song. But what if a global archive of songs was at risk of disappearing? What is lost when a whole species of song vanishes?
Andrew Irvine – Philosophy
“Thinking the Impossible”
Intellectual advances often come by discovering that something once thought impossible turns out to be possible. But how do we distinguish between things merely thought to be impossible and things that really are impossible? Or is there a difference? Is it possible to think rationally about impossible things? (It turns out that the answer is Yes.)
Sheryl Lightfoot – First Nations Studies Program, Political Science
“Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, passed by the United Nations in 2007 and endorsed by Canada and the US in 2010, is intended to serve as a guiding framework for fair and just relationships between governments and Indigenous peoples. Implementing the Declaration in North America, however, will require significant changes in current Canadian and American policies and practices.
An audio podcast of this talk is now available below.
Date: May 31, 2011
Magdalena, BMUS '07 & MMUS '11, shares about her love of piano, her experience at UBC, her advice to current students and her next steps.
Read the full article here.
Gabor, composed by Gusti Gdé Raka Saba, Gusti Madé Putu Griya, and
Wayan Beratha, based on traditional sources.
Danced by Putu Widiantini, Shoko Yamamuro, Dewa Ayu Eka Putri, and
Recorded on April 20, 2011 in the Auditorium on the Vancouver campus
of the University of British Columbia.
Music performed by the STSI Conservatory Gamelan, Denpasar, Bali,
produced and recorded by Wayne Vitale. Vital Records VR 401; used by
UBC music professor and concert pianist Jane Coop speaks at Sam Sullivan's Feb. 2011 Public Salon