Current Student Profiles

Originally from London, Ontario, Rebecca Draisey-Collishaw began her post-secondary study of music at Western University where she obtained a bachelor's degree in music education and master's in performance (oboe). With the support of a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, Rebecca began her doctoral studies in 2009. Her research focuses on the relationship between public policy, arts broadcasting at the CBC, and intercultural communications between musicians. Rebecca currently lives in Dublin where she is completing work on her dissertation and performing with the contemporary classical trio, Sióga.

Joshua Green grew up in northwestern New Brunswick. He has been playing the guitar since early childhood, later adding the banjo. Before commencing his PhD studies at Memorial, Joshua studied Anthropology at St. Thomas University where he completed an Honours Bachelor's thesis on the a cappella singing tradition of the Miramichi region. His Master's research, at the University of Alberta, focused on popular music of the Faroe Islands, particularly on the construction of Faroese musical identities and meaning in genres such as heavy metal and country music. In his doctoral work, Josh will pick up this thread, examining music in relation to broad-scale social changes in Faroese society.

In 2013, Josh published Music-making in the Faroes. Based on three months of research in Tórshavn and around the rest of the Faroes, this book examines contemporary Faroese popular music and focuses particularly on the experience of being a musician in the Faroes. Josh also explores the relationship between aspects of the islands' musical history and more recent developments in the Faroes' music scene. Drawing on extensive interviews with prominent and up-and-coming figures in a variety of genres from country music to heavy metal, this book presents a snapshot and analysis of several areas of Faroese musical life as it existed in late 2011. It is currently available as a physical book on the Sprotin website.

Jennifer Hartmann comes from Nova Scotia and holds a BMus from Dalhousie and an MA (Musicology) from McGill. She is currently completing her Ph.D. dissertation, which is an ethnographic look at the marketing of wedding string quartets. Her interests also include cultural sustainability, occupational folklife, and the relationship between music and social capital. While living and studying in St. John's, Jennifer was the manager of the Terra Nova String Quartet (which she also founded) and played viola with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.

Since arriving in St. John's from Peterborough, Ontario, Mathias Kom has been a busy participant in the city's independent music and arts scene. His Ph.D. work examines the do-it-yourself networks in New York and Berlin's "anti-folk" scenes. Mathias is interested in how the transnational relationships of participants in this scene affect their music and their understandings of place. When he's not wrapped up in books, Mathias performs with the band The Burning Hell. 

Aubrey Maks has been playing the guitar since the age of twelve, and has been singing in choirs since her school years in Pennsylvania. While pursuing a Bachelor's in Music Education and Composition at the Westminster Choir College, she performed as a chorister with both national and international orchestras in New York City and Philadelphia. During a year of studies in Graz, Austria, she had the opportunity to sing with KUG Kammerchor as well as hone her German skills. Aubrey decided to continue her studies in the Master's program in Ethnomusicology at Memorial, shifting the focus of her research from Balinese gamelan to Maori popular music.

Toshio Tatsu Oki started taking violin lessons under the Suzuki method at the age of four, and has been playing the piano since he was ten. He attended an Engineering program at the University of Western Ontario for three years. After discovering the world of social sciences, he undertook an Honours Bachelor's degree in International Development at York University. It was not until he moved to Japan that he discovered Irish music and started playing his violin again with more passion. The desire to pursue his passion for Irish music led him to the Master's program in Ethnomusicology at Memorial. His research interests lie in hybrid musical processes with a focus on the phenomenon of Irish music in Japan.

Glenn Patterson picked up his first instrument, the electric guitar, at the age of seven. As his interest in bluegrass and traditional fiddle music grew, Glenn started playing the old-time banjo and fiddle—this while pursuing an undergraduate degree at Queen's University (Canada). While pursuing a Master's in Electrical Engineering at Concordia, he hosted a weekly bluegrass and old-time jam session and organized square dances. His passion for fiddling encouraged him to pursue a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at Memorial with a focus on the traditional musics of English-speaking Quebeckers.

Alongside his studies, Glenn keeps a blog documenting fiddle repertoires and is working on a CD project of archival recordings of Gaspesian fiddlers with local collaborators in the Gaspé region of Quebec. Listen here to a radio documentary Glenn produced in June 2013, featuring the voices of local Gaspesian musicians.

Michelle Robertson is from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her musical life began with piano duets played alongside her mother, and by the age of seven, she was composing her own songs. During her high school years, she started learning the clarinet and later the alto saxophone. In 2003, Michelle received a joint diploma in Music Industry and Performance and Recording Arts at the College of North Atlantic in Stephenville, Newfoundland. In 2010, she entered Memorial University to complete her Bachelor's in Folklore with a minor in Music and Culture. Among her many research interests are North American popular music, the music industry, sound production and identity, urban ethnomusicology, women and song, and Canadiana.

Damien Laframboise is a PhD student in ethnomusicology at Memorial University. He holds a double-concentration honours BA from Laurentian University in music and Italian studies and an MMus from Western University in solo piano performance and literature. His present research interests include the role of music in relation to issues of cultural identity and authenticity, and the uses of music in ethnic integration and dissemination of Canada's immigrant groups, with specific interest in Ontario's Italian-Canadian communities.

Vanessa Shalton is from Timmins, Ontario. She has completed a BA in humanities with concentration in music at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. Her studies focused primarily on piano performance, folklore, and religious studies. Currently a first-year MA student in ethnomusicology, her research interests include French-Canadian folk music, specifically the state of transmission of the Franco-Ontarian folk song.

Before making his way to Memorial University Dave Ewenson played an active role in Halifax, Nova Scotia's vibrant music scene as a performer, radio show host, and recording engineer. His research interests stem from recent work with neo-traditional musicians in northern Ghana and north African asylum seekers in south Tel Aviv, Israel. Dave wants to continue exploring the potential for music in development and empowerment projects while also focusing on the recording studio's place in the music making process.

Carolyn Chong’s research interests include the role of the arts in Indigenous resurgence, decolonization, health, and social justice movements. Living in northern Norway for two years inspired her to pursue a multi-sited doctoral research project examining pan-Indigenous musical performance and arts festivals (northern Canada and Norway) and their role in redefining Indigenous-settler relationships. Before returning to the field of ethnomusicology, Carolyn worked in mental health as an Occupational Therapist in London, England.

Daniel Neill is a first year Phd student in ethnomusicology from Toronto, Ontario. Previous to his studies at Memorial University, he completed a B.Mus in jazz studies through Humber College and an M.A. in musicology at York University while maintaining a busy schedule as a professional drummer and drum instructor. Currently, Daniel’s research is focused on the pedal steel guitar, an instrument that he became interested in through his work as a drummer with various country, blues and Americana artists. His current research is concerned with the roles of gender, social class, and the politics of labour in the instrument maker’s workshop. In addition to his activities as a musician, his interest in riding and maintaining vintage motorcycles has greatly influenced his research interests.

Jane Rutherford is a dancer focusing on traditional Newfoundland set dancing for her graduate studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She has been collecting, performing and teaching traditional dances from various countries for more than 25 years. She was the principal author and dance consultant for a teaching resource for Newfoundland and Labrador schools and has presented papers and workshops at national and international traditional dance and music conferences. Jane recently retired from a career with the Government of Canada as an international trade commissioner specializing in technology innovation.

Sara Pun is a music therapist, music educator, and ethnomusicologist in training. Her passion is in the performance of world music traditions, including Indonesian gamelan, Japanese taiko drumming, improvisation, and piano classical music. Her doctoral thesis is about how the participation in a community gamelan ensemble can facilitate intercultural dialogue. Sara is an advocate for social justice and equal access to arts education. She has published two books in music therapy and writes for the National Music Centre. You can find out more here:

Jing Xia used to be a professional guzheng player and teacher in China, and her articles have been published in the Chinese journals Cultural Study and Music Space. She also acted as concert host and chairman secretary of Hunan Symphony Orchestra. Since she moved to St. John's, she has focused her research on fusion music, especially the fusion of guzheng and improvised music. Her research interests also cover the transformation of traditional music, including instrument structures, performance styles and compositions.