Prof. William Thomas Conducting

Robert Bowman


Associate Professor

Professor Bowman has pioneered popular music studies at York at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  He regularly authors or advises on major documentary and compact disc reissue projects for record companies in Europe and North America and is a frequent contributor to a variety of publications.


Karen Burke

Associate Professor

Professor Burke is a gospel music composer/arranger and choral conductor with an international performing and recording career.  Her research interests include all aspects of Gospel music and music education and she is the co-founder and Artistic Director of the Juno Award-winning Toronto Mass Choir.  Professor Burke is a busy guest speaker and clinician offering gospel music workshops both in Canada for organizations such as the Amabile Choirs of London and overseas in countries such as Poland.

Lisette Canton


Associate Professor

Dr. Canton is a choral and orchestral conductor, vocal coach and early music specialist.  She is the Founder and Artistic Director of the internationally acclaimed Ottawa Bach Choir and has also taught at Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, McGill University and the University of Illinois.  She has recorded for CBC Radio and Television and Radio-Canada, and been the guest conductor of numerous ensembles in Canada and the United States.

Mark Chambers

MarkChambers2 chamber1@yorku.ca
Assistant Professor

Dr. Chambers is a conductor, cellist and early music specialist.  Prior to his appointment at York University, Professor Chambers was the Director of Orchestral Activities and Cello/Bass Instructor for nine years at Eastern Kentucky University.  He has authored several articles for the American String Teachers Journal and is a contributor to the 2001 New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.  He is also very active as a clinician and adjudicator.

Michael Coghlan

MichaelCoghlan2 mcoghlan@yorku.ca
Associate Professor

Michael Coghlan is a composer, pianist,and digital instrumentalist who works in a wide variety of styles.  His research interests include music and computers, jazz and popular music structures, tuning systems, Schenkerian analysis, and recording/production theory and practice. He has numerous internationally distributed publications (Thompson, Leslie, Federick Harris, Warner, Alfred) and has received a large number of commissions, recordings, performances, and broadcasts.

Professor Coghlan has served as the Chair of the Department of Music for eight years.

Alan Henderson


Assistant Professor

Prof. Henderson is a jazz composer/arranger/acoustic bassist and bandleader.  Over sixty of his compositions appear on recordings by a number of groups.  He is co-leader of the group Time Warp and leader of the
Al Henderson Quintet.  As a side-musician, he has performed with many acclaimed jazz artists including Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Sonny Fortune, Jane Bunnett, Diana Krall, Slim Gaillard and Jimmy Knepper.

Amy Hillis



Assistant Professor

As a music scholar and arts educator, Amy pursues projects which build relationships inside and outside the concert hall. She is the founding member and manager of the prairie-based Horizon String Quartet with whom she presents concert tours of interactive performances for schools across western Canada. At McGill University, Amy established a course titled "Chamber Music and Engaging New Audiences” for the purpose of developing undergraduates’ communication skills within a performance context.

As a performing violinist, Amy has commissioned and premiered new Canadian works by Jocelyn Morlock, Nicole Lizée, Carmen Braden, Randolph Peters and Jordan Pal. Her debut album titled Roots demonstrates the connections between select Canadian compositions and works from the traditional canon of classical repertoire. As part of the meagan&amy duo, Amy performed this repertoire in ten Canadian provinces during the inaugural "Pan-Canadian Partnership” Recital Tour. As a soloist, she also toured Canada as winner of the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition and she studied ties between French and Québécois repertoire as artist-in-residence at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.

Amy’s university degrees in Violin Performance include a Doctor of Music and a Bachelor of Music from McGill University and a Master of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Sherry Johnson

Associate Professor

Sherry Johnson is a step dancer, fiddler, choreographer, educator and researcher. She is interested in the interrelationships between music and dance in a wide variety of contexts, as well as gender in performance and issues of globalization and technology in relation to vernacular music and dance. She is currently working on a SSHRC-funded project that examines the links between step dancing in various regions in Canada with its antecedents in Britain and Ireland. Her writing has been published in the Canadian Journal for Traditional Music, American Anthropologist,Ethnologies, Ethnomusicology, and the British Journal of Music Education.
Professor Johnson recently produced Bellows and Bows: Historic Recordings of Traditional Fiddle and Accordion Music Across Canada, a double CD compilation of distinguished fiddlers and accordion players from a wide variety of ethnocultural communities across Canada. The accompanying 156-page book includes overviews of the social and historical contexts for the music in different regions, detailed maps, tune notes, musician biographies, and archival photographs.

Dr. Johnson is an active member of numerous scholarly societies that support her research in ethnomusicology and ethnochoreology, including the Society for Ethnomusicology, International Council for Traditional Music, and the Study Group for Ethnochoreology. She is a past-president of the Canadian Society for Traditional Music.

Professor Johnson joined the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University in 2007. Previously she taught courses in music, dance, music education and anthropology at York, University of Toronto, Ryerson University and Nipissing University.

Noam Lemish


Assistant Professor

Dr. Noam Lemish is a pianist, composer, educator and scholar. He has appeared in numerous performances and conducted workshops across Canada, the US, Europe, Israel, and in Bhutan and has released multiple albums, including most recently Pardes (2018) and Sonic Truffles (2018). His compositions include jazz works for small and large ensembles, chamber, choral, piano, and “The People’s King”: a commissioned transcultural suite in celebration the King of Bhutan’s 30th birthday composed while teaching music in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan in 2010. His research focuses primarily on transcultural jazz practices and improvisation pedagogy. His teaching interests cover a wide variety of areas within jazz studies, as well as composition, Jewish music, polyidiomatic improvisation and the practice of Deep Listening. Professor Lemish holds a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Jazz Performance and a Masters degree in Composition from the University of Toronto. He joined York University’s Department of Music as Assistant Professor of Jazz Instruction and Pedagogy in 2020.

Irene Markoff


Adjunct Professor

photo of Irene Markoff

Irene Markoff is an ethnomusicologist and performer whose research interests involve aspects of traditional and popular music of Bulgaria and Turkey such as vocal and instrumental performance practice, folk music theory, and musical hybridities and syncretisms, in transnational perspective. She has a strong interest in Islamic mysticism and has published widely concerning the expressive culture (the dynamics of rituals and the role and training of ritual music specialists; sacred musical and kinetic genres; saint veneration, and the socio-political implications of revivalist movements) of the mystically-inclined Alevi religious minority in Turkey and Canada, and more recently, Alevi-related communities in Bulgaria.

Dr. Markoff contributed to the Middle East volume of the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music as a consulting editor and with articles on Turkish folk music theory and Alevi expressive culture.  Her chapter “Deconstructing Haydar: Lineage, Ownership, and Innovation in the Creation of an Alevi Classic,” in Ethnomusicological Encounters with Music and Musicians: Essays in Honor of Robert Garfias (Ashgate, 2011), provides an in-depth transcription and analysis in socio-cultural context of Haydar, the Alevi classic by Alevi bağlama (folk lute) virtuoso and vocalist Ali Ekber Çiçek. Irene’s most recent publication is the chapter “Articulating Otherness in the Construction of Alevi-Bektashi Rituals and Ritual Space in Transnational Perspective” (Music, Sound, and Architecture in Islam, University of Texas Press, 2018). Her articles have appeared in Asian Music, Edebiyat, The World of Music, Bulgarian Musicology, and Yearbook for Traditional Music, and she has refereed manuscripts for publishers such as The University if Chicago Press, the Mellon Press, the Scarecrow Press, Oxford University Press, and Ashgate.

Irene is a longstanding member of the Society for Ethnomusicology, The International Council for Traditional Music, and the Middle East Studies Association. She has taught at the University of Washington, Oregon State University, and Brock University. Aside from directing York University’s Balkan Music Ensemble and teaching private lessons in Balkan singing and the Turkish bağlama, Irene also directs and performs with the Toronto-based, Balkans and Beyond band, Meden Glas, the Bulgarian women’s folk choir Ot Izvora, and the Turkish folk music ensemble Ezgi

Stephanie Martin

Associate Professor

Recipient of the 2020 AMPD Research Award, Stephanie Martin is a composer of opera, choral music and oratorio. Her practice as conductor and organist leads to research interests in sacred music, historical performance & culture, and the works of Canadian composer Healey Willan.

Stephanie Martin is the Graduate Program Director from July 2019 - July 2022.

Visit her website at www.stephaniemartinmusic.com

Randolph Peters

Assistant Professor

Professor Peters is a composer who works with a wide range of art forms and music media. As well as many symphonic, choral and chamber music works, he has composed for opera, theatre, and dance, and has created more than 100 film and television scores for feature, documentary and animated productions.

Jay Rahn

JayRahn2 jayrahn@yorku.ca

Professor Rahn’s teaching and research interests span a wide range of topics in music theory, musicology, ethnomusicology and music cognition. His publications include numerous articles and two books: A Family Heritage: The Story and Songs of LaRena Clark, co-authored with Edith Fowke (University of Calgary Press 1994) and A Theory for All Music: Problems and Solutions in the Analysis of Non-Western Forms (University of Toronto Press, 1983). A former editor of the Canadian Journal for Traditional Music, Dr. Rahn currently serves on the Editorial Board of Analytical Approaches to World Music and as Contributing Editor to The Open Space Magazine.

William Thomas

Associate Professor

William Thomas had served as the Chair of the Department of Music and conductor of the York University Wind Symphony. A former Drum Corps International adjudicator, he has arranged music for more than 40 marching bands and drum & bugle corps in Canada and the US. He has served on the board of the Ontario Music Educators’ Association and is much in demand as an adjudicator and clinician.
Prior to joining York University’s Department of Music, Professor Thomas taught for more than two decades with the York Region District School Board, principally as head of the music department at Markham District High School. His performing groups have won many accolades and awards including the 1999 Jazz Report Award for High School Program of the Year. He was awarded an Ontario Band Association award for conducting excellence in 2008.

Rob van der Bliek

Associate Professor

As an associate faculty member of the Graduate Program in Music at York, I teach in the research methods and theoretical perspectives courses, supervise directed readings, and serve on thesis and dissertation committees.

Research interests include jazz, blues and popular music analysis and history and problems in the philosophy and aesthetics of music as they relate to recorded music.
I have been studying the music of Jimi Hendrix in the context of composition, performance, and production of popular music through(1) an examination of improvised variations and how they contribute towards the shaping of a piece, demonstrated through a tabulation and analysis of over 60 performances by Hendrix of his slow blues "Red House"; (2) thinking about the sound of the electric guitar through an analysis of the components that make up Hendrix's characteristic sound, in particular as exemplified in "Machine Gun"; (3) considering aspects of blues tonality through a study of Hendrix's use of the dominant seventh sharp ninth chord; (4) speculating on the nature of the musical work in the context of recorded music, facilitated through an examination of about 80 cover versions of "Purple Haze."

A second area of investigation is blues historiography. What we think of as the history of the blues is fraught with inconsistencies and logical fallacies, a result of general disagreement and confusion about the actual subject matter, its relation to other kinds of music, and a misunderstanding of the causal relations that contribute towards the development of a musical style. We can couch the musical evidence in peripherally related socio-economic evidence but the connections we need to establish in order to construct a coherent narrative can only go so far; there is simply too much evidence missing and too little agreement as to what the actual subject matter is. And this really is a problem endemic to the writing of a history of North American vernacular music in general, where marketing labels, media representations, and socio-economic barriers have obfuscated whatever historical narratives there might be.

Doug Van Nort


Professor Van Nort is a composer and improviser operating at the intersection of  electroacoustic, experimental and computer music. He has performed and presented his work widely across Europe and North America, collaborating with major figures from the world of avant-garde music. A certified instructor of Deep Listening, Van Nort’s scholarly research-creation work spans a focus on listening and sonic perception, soundscape and environmental sound art, interactive composition, telematic music, and collective improvisation, often involving AI systems as improvising partners. Van Nort is Canada Research Chair in Digital Performance at York, where he runs the DisPerSion Lab and the Electro-Acoustic Orchestra, which serve as incubators for collaborative research and creative projects that integrate a diverse range of students and professionals.

Matt Vander Woude

Associate Chair

A practicing guitarist, Professor Vander Woude is currently researching the improvisational practices of jazz guitar players in the immediate post-World War II era. Professor Vander Woude has taught courses on European Art Music and on Popular Music at York University, the University of Guelph, and at the
University of Waterloo.

Sundar Viswanathan

SundarViswanathan2 sundarv@yorku.ca
Associate Professor

Professor Viswanathan is a jazz woodwind performer and vocalist who has appeared on stage with acclaimed jazz artists such as Jim McNeely and Billy Hart, and in venues like the Lincoln Center and the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City.  His scholarly research interests include the music of tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson and his composition is informed by Brasilian and Indian musical styles.

Ron Westray

Westray rwestray@yorku.ca
Assistant Professor

Jazz musician and composer Ron Westray is best known for his work as lead trombonist with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra directed by Wynton Marsalis and his collaborations with Wycliffe Gordon. He is a standing member of the Mingus Big Band and has appeared on BET and Live from Lincoln Centre. He joined York University's Music Department in 2009 as the Oscar Peterson Chair In Jazz Performance, a position endowed by the Government of Ontario to commemorate legendary Canadian jazz artist Oscar Peterson.

Louise Wrazen

photo of Louise Wrazenlwrazen@yorku.ca
Associate Professor

Louise Wrazen is an ethnomusicologist with a background in musicology and education. Her research concerns music and dance in transnational contexts and global networks; music and gender; music, place and memory — with a focus on the Tatra mountain region of southern Poland. New research projects include music and (dis)ability; discourses of musical diversity in Toronto; humour and music of the Tatras in transitions to a new Europe. She is currently working on a monograph on ethnographic and narrative interventions in music life stories.

She has co–edited the volume Performing Gender, Place, and Emotion (University of Rochester Press, 2013). Her articles have appeared in the journals Ethnomusicology, Yearbook for Traditional Music, Intersections, The Anthropology of East Europe Review, Canadian Journal for Traditional Music (now MUSICultures), and Asian Music, and she has contributed to the edited volume Women Singers in Global Contexts and The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, among others.

Active with international and national scholarly music societies (including the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), the International Council for Traditional Music, the Canadian Society for Traditional Music), she has chaired the SEM 21st Century Fellowship committee, which recognizes exceptional dissertation fieldwork and is currently a member of the SEM Council. In addition to previous teaching at Queen’s University, the University of Toronto, and the Ontario College of Art (now OCADU), she also has taught in Toronto’s public school system and been involved in programming for children with special needs. Trained in classical piano, she has performed Balkan and Polish Tatra music with Toronto–based groups.

Professors Emeritus (retired faculty)

Dorothy de Val

DorothydeVal2 ddeval@yorku.ca
Associate Professor

Professor de Val is a musicologist and pianist whose research interests include Scots Gaelic song, the first English folk revival, pianos and pianism, and Haydn reception in England. Her book, In Search of Song: The Life and Times of Lucy Broadwood, was published last summer by Ashgate, and her present research engages with Scots Gaelic song and collectors in the early 20th century. She has also published on Percy Grainger and Muzio Clementi, while more recent articles include work on the pianist Fanny Davies and her circle. She is also interested in Dance history, particularly social dance, and plays regularly for English country dances in Toronto with her group Playford's Pleasure. She is a member of the Dalcroze Society of Canada.

Barry Elmes

BarryElmes2 belmes@yorku.ca
Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar

Professor Elmes is a jazz percussionist, composer and bandleader.  A mainstay of the Canadian jazz scene since the early 1980's, his work is documented on over sixty CD recordings.  He has toured internationally with his own quintet and co-led groups such as Time Warp and jazz trio D.E.W. East.  As a side-musician, he has performed or recorded with a who’s who of the jazz world, including Charlie Haden, Dizzy Gillespie, Diana Krall, Tommy Flanagan, John Abercrombie, Joe Henderson, Ray Bryant, to name only a few.

Christina Petrowska Quilico

ChristinaPetrowska2 cquilico@yorku.ca

CHRISTINA PETROWSKA QUILICO, C.M. was appointed to the Order of Canada for her celebrated career as a classical and contemporary pianist, and for championing Canadian music. She is one of 2021’s esteemed winners of the York U’s annual research awards. She received the 2007 Friends of Canadian Music Award from the Canadian Music Centre (CMC) and Canadian League of Composers and was selected as one of the CMC’s Ambassadors of Canadian music. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation named her one of “20 Can’t-Miss Classical Pianists” one of “Canada’s 25 best classical pianists” and inducted her into CBC’s “In Concert Hall of Fame”. Four of her 50 plus CDs have earned JUNO Awards nominations. Concerts have taken her across the U.S. and Canada, as well as to Taiwan, the Middle East, France, England, Germany, Greece and Ukraine. She has performed 45 piano concertos in US and Canada.


Catherine Robbin

Associate Professor Emerita

Catherine Robbin was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2011 and is the president of the Art Song Foundation of Canada.

Professor Robbin is a mezzo‑soprano with an international performing and recording career in oratorio, opera and recital repertoire.  An award winner of three international voice competitions, she has also won a Juno award, a Grand Prix du Disque, a Grammy nomination and a Gramophone Record of the Year. She is also very active as an adjudicator and clinician.

Casey Sokol

CaseySokol2 kcsokol@yorku.ca
Associate Professor

Professor Sokol is a pianist and specialist in contemporary improvisation.  He has performed as a soloist, in chamber groups, and has toured Europe, North America and Japan.  He is a founding member of Toronto's Music Gallery and the CCMC (Canadian Contemporary Music Collective). He was awarded the 2002 OCUFA (Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations) Teaching Award, presented to professors who inspire and inform through their teaching, course development and research.

Robert E. Witmer

Details to come