Contributor Biographies


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Paul Aitken earned his B.F.A. from York University with additional studies at the University of Western Ontario, Dalhousie University, and The University of York in England. His major research area is the Internet and music culture. Music kills him.

Melissa K. Avdeeff graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from Augustana University College in 2004. She is currently in her second year of the M.A. Music Criticism program at McMaster University where her research interests lie in the representations of women in mainstream popular music magazines. She hopes to continue her studies with doctoral research in the fields of musicology and sociology. In the brief moments spent away from music, Melissa enjoys hiking, snowboarding and creating art.

Claire Marie Blaustein is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Music, with a degree in Violin Performance. After that time spent trying to craft a performing career, she decided to get smart and go into the far more lucrative field of musicological study. Now a second year student at McMaster University, she is working on her Critical Portfolio, addressing issues of genre and authority in the field of music criticism. She hopes to pursue a real career in a journalistic setting, and stay as far away from PhD programs for as long as she can stand to be out of school.

Nan Coolsma began her formal study of music later in life, and in 1990, received her ARCT in vocal performance. Retiring in 2000 from thirty years in the classroom as an English and Media Studies teacher, Nan decided she still had not had enough of school. She headed back to McMaster, from which she had graduated in 1966 with a BA in English and Latin, and obtained her B Mus in 2004. Her interest for her thesis is musicís ability to cross cultural lines, especially how Native communities have adapted Western forms to create a music that is part of their cultural identity. Nan lives in Ancaster with her husband Bob, and loves visiting her grandchildren, reading, knitting, gardening, photography, cycling, hiking, camping, the Rockies, chocolate, cats and thunderstorms.

Christopher Dawes is a Toronto-based freelance musician, writer and consultant. Following twelve years as organist to Toronto's St. James' Cathedral, he continues as one of the city's most sought-after choral accompanists, directs Canada's Summer Institute of Church Music and the Organ Academy at Stratford Summer Music, and performs and composes on a freelance basis and in adjunct capacity to both the Choral programs of the Faculty of Music and the Department of Theatre and Drama Studies of the University of Toronto. He lives with his wife Marcia and sons Nathaniel and Simon in Georgetown.

Sarah Funke was home-schooled through primary and secondary school. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in both music and philosophy at Covenant College in Georgia (2004). Last spring (Apr.-Jun í05), she spent one term in Oxford as a visiting student examining issues in music and narrativity. She is currently in her first year of the Masters of Arts in Music Criticism program at McMaster University, pursuing the portfolio option. Reading is Sarahís favorite pastime, and her family has occasional hinted that used bookstore addiction therapy might be in order. In addition to the music of Steve Reich, Sarah enjoys listening to Bach, Glass, and, of course, the Beatles.

Mihaela Irina studied music at the Art High School in her hometown of Brasov, Romania, graduating as a violinist. In 2002, she obtained her License in Philosophy (BA equivalent) from the University of Bucharest, Department of Philosophy, with a specialization in History of Philosophy and Philosophy of Culture. Currently, she is enrolled in her 2nd year of the MA program in Music Criticism at McMaster University, working on a thesis that deals with the mutual influences between 19th century music criticism and aesthetics. She is also interested in studying the live performance phenomenon and its impact on the social role of music.

Sean Luyk graduated from McMaster University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Music and Diploma in Music Performance. He is currently in his first year of the Master of Arts in Music Criticism program. Seanís main research interest is in the decentralization of musical culture through technology. Upon completion of his MA degree, Sean intends to pursue a PhD in critical musicology.

Snow Qin received her bachelorís degree in musical performance in China, and then worked for three years as an Entertainment program editor for CCTV, the largest national TV station in China (equivalent to the CBC in Canada). She started school early at four yearsí old, and jumped grade six at middle school. She is the first, and hopes to not be the last, Asian student in the Master of Arts in music criticism program at McMaster University. Family is always first for Snow; she never says no to herself and will never disappoint those people who love her.

Dr. William Renwick completed Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees at the University of British Columbia. He continued his education with Master of Philosophy and PhD degrees in Music Theory at the City University of New York, where he specialized in Schenkerian studies. His research interests include studies in tonal counterpoint and analysis, as well as computer applications in music research. William Renwick is also an organist, composer, and choral director. In addition to his position as Professor of Music at McMaster University, he is the Music Director at Saint John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Hamilton Ontario.