Laboratoire d'acoustique vocale


Laurier Fagnan (Director)

Laurier Fagnan holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from the University of Alberta and a Master's degree in vocal pedagogy from Université Laval. He recently completed his doctoral studies in choral conducting with Leonard Ratzlaff and Xavier Rodet (U of A/IRCAM, Paris), specializing in vocal technique for choirs. Further studies have brought him to the Mozarteum in Salzburg and to New York and Portland, where he studied with renowned bel canto masters Richard Miller and Dan Marek. Mr. Fagnan has given over three hundred workshops in the area of bel canto vocal technique for choirs from Whitehorse to Newfoundland to Paris.

Dr. Fagnan is Associate Professor of music responsible for the vocal/choral program at Campus Saint-Jean in Edmonton where he has directed the dynamic Chorale Saint-Jean for the past 15 years. For seven years he was also artistic director of the acclaimed ensemble Da Camera Singers which enjoyed regular collaborations with Edmonton’s professional orchestras. His recent area of research, choral acoustics, has led to collaborations and presentations at international conferences in Stockholm, Sofia, Miami and Paris. His thesis entitled “The Acoustical Effects of the Core Principles of the Bel Canto Method on Choral Singing” was recently awarded both Canadian and American National dissertation prizes.  He is a fellow of the Fondation Baxter et Alma Ricard, which enabled him to conduct advanced research in choral acoustics at IRCAM in Paris. The recent awarding of a generous grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation led to the opening of Canada’s first vocal acoustics laboratory at Campus Saint-Jean of the U of A in 2006. He has served as vocal coach for the largest choral festival in North America and in July of 2008, was honoured to conduct a choir of 1400 voices amassed to celebrate Québec City’s 400th anniversary. In 2009 he presented several sessions at the Québec Choral Conductors’ Symposium and was keynote presenter at Festival 500, an international choral festival in Newfoundland. During his 2009-2010 sabbatical year, he will produce a new DVD on vocal technique for choirs. He presented his research with two sessions at the International Conference on the Physiology and Acoustics of Singing in Stockholm in August of 2010 as well as delivering the the keynote address at the General Assembly of the European Choral Federation in Sofia, Bulgaria in November of 2009. He is an invited speaker at  the World Choral Symposium in Argentina in 2011 where he will launch the above-mentioned DVD. Laurier lives in Edmonton with his wife Jane and their three children Alicia, Matthieu and Stéphane.

Garth Hobden (Technical Facilitator)

Garth Hobden received a Bachelor of Music specializing in electro-acoustic composition from the University of Alberta in 1981. Further studies earned him a Diploma from Aspen Audio Recording Institute in Aspen, Colorado, with John Eargle and Dan Craik as well as a diploma in jazz studies from Grant McEwan College.

He was the Electronics Technician at the University of Alberta’s Department of Music from 1982-1992 where he has also been a sessional instructor of Electro-acoustic Music since 1988. He founded Arktos Recordings Limited in 1991, which became one of Western Canada’s largest classical record labels, publishing over 100 titles promoting Canaian composers and performers. In 2003 it was awarded the City of Edmonton Mayor’s Award for sustained support of the Arts. Garth has also recorded for many other record labels, including Naxos, Lyrichord, and ATMA, and his recordings can often be heard on both National and International broadcasts. His audio engineering skills are highly prized and sought after by many of Alberta’s finest musicians.

Garth is also an accomplished composer and has had works commissioned by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, ECCS, and the Ernest MacMillan Foundation. These compositions have also received international broadcasts and awards (ACREQ, 1993)

Garth is currently working as the technical facilitator for the Vocal Acoustics Laboratory at the Campus Saint-Jean of the University of Alberta. Another of his passions often finds him collecting images and environmental sounds from his kayak on Canada’s West Coast.