Past U of A Bachelor of Music Alumnus named Dean of Schulich School of Music

Department of Music alumnus Prof. Sean Ferguson has been appointed Dean of McGill's Schulick School of Music for a five-year term beginning May 1, 2011.

by McGill Reporter Staff - 06 May 2011

Prof. Sean Ferguson has been appointed Dean of McGill's Schulich School of Music for a five-year term beginning May 1, 2011.

Ferguson, a composer whose work bridges the areas of musical creation and scientific and technological research, is the Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT).

Ferguson said he is "honoured and delighted to be given this opportunity to contribute" to the Schulich School. "I have known and loved McGill both as a student and a professor, from the time that I began my graduate studies in composition with Professor John Rea in 1990. To become the Dean of one of the world's leading schools of music is a humbling responsibility. To work with the many talented, energetic and dedicated staff and students for whom I have immense respect and admiration is a joy. McGill has changed my life, and I know that our school will continue to have a huge impact on our students, colleagues and the community. I look forward to exciting times ahead."

A native of Alberta, Ferguson earned his Bachelor of Music at the University of Alberta and both a Master's and Doctorate of Music in Composition at McGill. He joined the McGill faculty as an Assistant Professor of Composition and Director of the Digital Composition Studios in 2003, and was named Associate Professor in 2009.

Ferguson's catalogue includes works for live performers with real-time technologies including Ex Asperis for cello, chamber orchestra and multi-channel audio (2008), Duo pour un violoncelle et un danseur for cello, dancer, gestural controllers and live electronics (2008) and Éan agus madraí for ensemble and multi-channel live electronics (2011). His compositions have been performed by ensembles such as the Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, and Les Temps modernes de Lyon, among others.

Ferguson's research focuses on the areas of computer-assisted composition, psychoacoustics applied to musical harmony, live electronics, and digital musical instruments. His work benefits from collaborations with colleagues in music technology, performance, and sound recording at McGill as well as other collaborations in Quebec and throughout Europe. Ferguson has held, or still holds, research grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Fonds québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture.

"Prof. Ferguson's record combines cutting-edge research and extraordinary outreach to the Quebec community," Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum said in announcing the appointment. "He is the best person to ensure that the Schulich School remains Canada's leading Faculty of Music and continues to be recognized locally, nationally and internationally as a world-class hub of collaborative and innovative music training, performance, and research."

Prof. Munroe-Blum also expressed gratitude to Interim Dean Gordon Foote for his "consummate leadership and dedicated service throughout the 2010-11 academic year."

As published in the McGill Reporter on Thursday, May 5, 2011.