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Music to our ears: Memorial University awarded new Canada Research Chair in traditional music/ethnomusicology

Ref. No. 120

DATE:     Mar. 28, 2002
SUBJECT:     Music to our ears: Memorial University awarded new Canada Research Chair in traditional music/ethnomusicology

Allan Rock, federal Minister of Industry announced the approval of a new Canada Research Chair position for Memorial University earlier today. The chair in traditional music/ethnomusicology, tier I (senior chair) was awarded to Dr. Beverly Diamond. "The Canada Research Chairs Program supports the Government of Canada's efforts to promote higher education, research and innovation. Making our economy more innovative will reap significant social and economic benefits for all Canadians," said Minister Rock. Dr. Diamond, an internationally renowned ethnomusicologist, will direct and stimulate activity in the further development of the already-rich musical collections of the Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archives (MUNFLA) and will serve as mentor to colleagues and graduate students in Memorial. She will also assume a leadership role in the development of graduate studies in ethnomusicology in Memorial's School of Music. Dr. Diamond, currently a professor at York University, Ontario, received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. She has co-authored and co-edited several publications on ethnomusicology and indigenous Canadian music, including, Visions of Sound: Musical Instruments of First Nations Communities in Northeastern America, Canadian Perspectives in Ethnomusicology, and Canadian Music: Issues of Hegemony and Identity. She has received major research funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Her ethnomusicological fieldwork has taken her to the high Canadian arctic, to the Innu communities of Labrador and recently, to the Saami people of Finland.

"We are delighted to welcome Dr. Diamond to Memorial. Her exceptional scholarship in the study of traditional music will enhance the development of the traditional and commercial practices of the music of our province, and further strengthen our connection with the community," said Dr. Christopher Loomis, Memorial's vice-president (Research and International Relations). Dr. Tom Gordon, director of the university's School of Music enthused, "Dr. Diamond's arrival at Memorial will facilitate the building of a bridge between scholars and tradition-bearers. The university is elated to participate in the development of a greater understanding of the rich musical heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador, while at the same time encouraging its future development." "Dr. Diamond's appointment marks a new era for traditional music in Newfoundland and Labrador; an era heralded by the progressive thinking of Dr. Tom Gordon at the School of Music," said Ms. Anita Best, traditional singer and president of Newfoundland Voices, a company that presents the music and writing of Newfoundland and Labrador artists in unusual locations. "Having this scholarly attention focused on our musical traditions and tradition-bearers will create greater public awareness and appreciation of what many of us consider to be the backbone of our rich and diverse culture."

The Canada Research Chairs program was established by the Government of Canada to enable Canadian universities to achieve the highest levels of research excellence. In its 2000 budget, the federal government provided $900 million to support the establishment of 2000 Canada Research Chairs in universities across the country by 2003-4. The program is designed to enable Canadian universities to create outstanding research opportunities that will attract researchers with international reputations. Memorial is currently searching for 10 more Canada Research Chairs positions. It is expected that over the five-year life span of the CRC program, Memorial will be eligible for approximately twenty-one positions. A research chair is faculty position created to focus on research in a particular academic area. The chair includes a $200,000 grant to be used for research support and salary.

For more information on the Canada Research Chair Program, please consult the web site at: www.chairs.gc.ca.


Editors please note: a photo of Dr. Beverly Diamond is available at: http://www.mun.ca/univrel/photos.html

For more information, contact: Deborah Inkpen, information officer (research), Memorial University at (709) 737-4073 or e-mail inkpend@mun.ca


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