Catching up at the (virtual) service desk with Professor Stephen McAdams

This series features Schulich School of Music faculty presenting a selection
of books and music that they are exploring – for edification, inspiration, or
distraction – during these long months of social isolation. These short
interviews seek to emulate the spontaneous interactions that our patrons
enjoyed in the Music Library discussing their current reads or the recordings
that they had recently discovered (or rediscovered!). Tune in to learn about
new works and old favourites, and let us know what you are reading and
listening to!

Our eighth post in this series features Stephen McAdams, Professor in the Department of Music Research at the Schulich School of Music, and Director of the Analysis, Creation and Teaching of Orchestration (ACTOR) Project.

Image from: Mackesy, Charlie. 2019. The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse. Ebury Press.

Q. What are you currently reading?

A. Charlie Mackesy’s illustrated book The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse (although I’m reading the French translation sent to me for Christmas by my eldest daughter in Paris). It’s about friendship and helping each other out. It has beautiful pen and water-colour illustrations and a hand-written font. A taste: “Sometimes I feel lost,” said the boy. “Me too,” said the mole, “but we love you, and love, it’s like a home” (with a drawing of the boy, the mole and the fox sitting on a tree branch looking out over a valley).

Q: What have you been listening to these days?

A. A lot of music for modern Chinese orchestra by Chinese composers. Notably “Tremors of a memory chord” by Lei Liang and “Dong Hai Yu Ge” originally written for the Guzheng by Zhang Yan and orchestrated for mixed orchestra of Western and Chinese instruments by Ma Sheng Long and Gu Guan Ren. Completely new to me. It’s part of a diversity effort in the ACTOR project led globally by Bob Hasegawa and locally for East Asian music by Interdisciplinary Music Studies PhD Lena Heng. 

Q. Have you attended any concerts or events lately?

A. I followed the series of Beethoven symphonies done virtually through Deutsche Grammaphon Stage by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestre Métropolitain. They were all recorded under pandemic conditions in the Salle Bourgie with the orchestra spread throughout the whole space. Some great video footage and surprisingly good sound recording over internet.

Q. What are you most looking forward to post-Covid?

A. Being with my lab members in person. I really miss hanging out with them all.

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