Meet our Graduate Students

Anton Achondoa

Anton Achondoa

DMus

Piano
achondoa@ualberta.ca
antonachondoa.com

Hailing from California, Anton Achondoa studied with Hans Boepple at Santa Clara University where graduated in 2013 with a B.A. in Music. He grew up in Sunnyvale, exposed to so much music as both his parents were enthusiastic listeners. In his youth, he studied piano with Nina Kouchnir who inspired him to eventually pursue a career in music. In the last several years Anton has performed with the Santa Clara University Orchestra and Choir, and has played piano for events throughout the Silicon Valley. In 2016, he began his M.M. in Keyboard Studies at San Jose State University, working with Frank Lévy. During this time he served as a pianist for Catholic Parishes in the Diocese of San Jose and managed his own private piano studio. Anton relocated to Canada in 2018 to pursue his DMus at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Jacques Després. His research is centered on the study of early piano recordings and how they represent a style of playing characterized by more flexible and personal readings of musical scores. Anton hopes that stimulating a new appreciation for these idiosyncratic historical recordings can breathe new life into modern piano interpretation which, in his view, tends to be constrained and homogenized by a globally prevalent academic viewpoint. Anton’s recent performances at the UofA include solo works by Mozart, Liszt, Prokofiev, Debussy, and Chopin as well as chamber works by Rachmaninoff and Brahms.

Meijun Chen

Meijun Chen

DMus

Wind Band Conducting
meijun@ualberta.ca

Meijun Chen received her Bachelor of Arts (Music major, Economics minor) with Distinction (2018), and double Master of Music degrees in Clarinet Performance and Wind Band Conducting (2020), at the University of Alberta (UofA). She is currently a third year Doctor of Music student in Wind Band Conducting, under the supervision of Dr. Angela Schroeder. Her research interests include wind band music education in Canada and China, and the historical developments of university band pedagogies, repertoires and composers.

She is an active guest conductor of UofA Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Summer Band, University Symphony Orchestra and community choirs. She is the Chief Conductor of UofA Brass Choir, and Edmonton Youth Orchestra’s Conducting Intern. Meijun is an award-winning clarinetist with 18 years of international wind ensemble and orchestra performances and competitions experiences in over 13 countries in Europe, Asia and North America. She won the 2019/20 UofA Concerto Competition, and held various Principal Clarinet positions. She is a guest clarinetist with the Royal Canadian Artillery Band.

She is an experienced clinician at Alberta’s public schools. Her clarinet, piano and music theory students won gold medals at national level, and the acceptance to Canadian universities’ Performance and Music Therapy programs. Meijun strives to study more in this field, to inspire younger generations, bring the joy of music to connect people and encourage community engagement.

Serena Chen

Serena Chen

MMus

Voice
xinyin12@ualberta.ca
Serena Chen is a mezzo-soprano studying with Canadian Tenor John Tessier in her graduate program. She has had a great interest in music since she was a child, so she travelled from China to Canada to learn music. She enjoys singing and wants to spread oriental culture by singing Chinese repertories at U of A.

Mari Alice Conrad

Mari Alice Conrad

MMus

Composition
mari@ualberta.ca
MariAliceConrad.com

Mari Alice Conrad is an emerging, award-winning composer currently completing a MMus in composition at the University of Alberta. Her compositions have been performed across Canada, USA, and Europe at Ottawa Chamberfest, Vancouver’s Allegra Chamber Orchestra FestivELLE, Été musical de Barachois in New Brunswick, in the Žofín Palace for the World Wind Music Festival and WASBE Conference in Prague, Czech Republic, Toronto’s East Chamber Music Festival, the Banff Centre for the Arts EvoFest, New Music Edmonton Summer Solstice Festival, the Canadian League of Composers 2022 PIVOT program, the GroundSwell Series (Manitoba), Modulus Festival (Vancouver), and the Music Concert Series (Toronto). She has mentored young composers with the Tuckamore Festival Widening the Circle Program (Newfoundland), Contemporary Showcase Edmonton, and is a sessional instructor at MacEwan University in composition.

Mari Alice’s current research focuses on composing accessible contemporary chamber music for developing musicians that promote inclusivity and self-expression. Her work suggests that ensemble music can be a participatory way of knowing that empowers youth to express their ideas and critically consider and engage with the world around them. Her compositional practice shines an exceptional light on the human condition and fosters curiosity, authenticity, connection, and collaboration. Several of her scores have been published and commercially recorded and can be found on her website.

Catherine Daniel

Catherine Daniel

MMus

Voice
cadaniel@ualberta.ca
catherinedaniel.com

Career highlights for Ms. Catherine Daniel include: singing Emelda Griffiths in Grammy award-winner Terence Blanchard’s opera ‘Champion’ with l’Opéra de Montréal, debuting Klytemnestra in Edmonton Opera’s production of Elektra, singing Elisabetta in Knoxville Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, and debuting at Carnegie Hall as a soloist in Haydyn’s Mass in Time of war. Ms. Daniel made her Opera Tampa debut in Carmen singing the title role in 2020.

Ms. Daniel studied voice with Coluratura soprano Tracy Dahl at the University of Manitoba. She was a member of the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, and later became a member of the Opera Studio Nederlands in Amsterdam. Ms. Daniel is currently completing a Master’s in Vocal performance with prof. John Tessier and the University of Alberta.

Elvin Do

Elvin Do

DMus

Choral Conducting
edo1@ualberta.ca
Elvin Do – YouTube
Elvin Do (he/him) is a Canadian Bass/Baritone with a Hons. BMus with distinction from Wilfrid Laurier University (Ont. Canada) and a MMus in Choral Conducting from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC). He has worked in educational and workshop settings with some of Canada’s leading choral figures such as Drs. Timothy Shantz, Laurier Fagnan, Graeme Langager, Mark Vuorinen, Lee Willingham, Gerard Yun, and Karen Burke. He has directed choirs of varying sizes and ability at both secondary and collegiate levels across Canada. He is currently the assistant director of the University of Alberta's mixed chorus and a TA for first year theory. His doctoral thesis seeks to explore the modes in which choral music can be used as a conduit to promote and engage language learning (specifically French), and also the inherent biases of choral programming at anglophone-Canadian post-secondary institutions as they pertain to the subversion of the French Language.

Subash Giri

Subash Giri

PhD

Ethnomusicology
sgiri@ualberta.ca
subashgiri.com

Subash Giri is a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology at the Department of Music, University of Alberta. His research focuses on South Asian diaspora in North America, particularly Canada and the United States, and South Asia, particularly in Nepal and India. His research interests include music and minority; music, human rights, and social justice; music sustainability; music and community well-being; community-based and collaborative research; applied ethnomusicology; participatory ethnomusicology; music and diasporic identity; and music business, music industry, and copyright. His research articles have been published in several international journals.

Subash is the winner of the ICTM Best Student Paper Prize 2022. His doctoral research project has received the prestigious Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) 21st Century Fellowship Award 2021 and the Society for Asian Music (SAM) Graduate Student Small Grant Award 2021.

Shawn Grenke

Shawn Grenke

DMus

Choral Conducting
sgrenke@ualberta.ca

Conductor, Pianist and Organist Shawn Grenke is Director of Music at Eglinton St. George’s United Church in Toronto, Accompanist to the Elmer Iseler Singers of Toronto, and Artistic Director of the 80-voice Achill Choral Society in Orangeville, Ontario.

Shawn began his musical training as a chorister and pianist with the Hastings County Board of Education Concert Choir under the Direction of Rudolf Heijdens in his hometown of Belleville.

He has a Bachelor of Music degree (2000) from Mount Allison University (New Brunswick), and a Master of Music degree (2002) from the University of Toronto. Shawn has made international appearances in concerts inPoland, at the ‘Let the Future Sing’ Choral Festival in Sweden, the ‘LeMondial Choral Loto-Québec World Choral Competition’ in Laval, Québec, ‘Xinghai Choral Competition’ in China, Seoul, Roy Thomson Hall (Toronto), Winspear Centre, (Edmonton), CBC Radio, and other various festivals, concert series and recitals throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.

Shawn is currently in his second year of a DMus program in Choral Conducting at the University of Alberta where he studies with Dr. Timothy Shantz.

Uthpala Herath is a PhD Student in Ethnomusicology. She has received her Bachelor of Arts (Special) and Master of Philosophy in Fine Arts from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. She also obtained Upadhi of Visharadh (Instrumental-Violin) at the age of sixteen from Bhathkande Sangeeth Vidyapit, Lucknow, India. Her research interests involve a multifaceted understanding of music in relation to politics, social class, popular culture and iconography of Sri Lanka. She has presented her research works at a number of national and international research conferences and her current research intends to focus on ideological underpinnings and social class representations of Sri Lankan popular music sub-genre, popularly known as Mal sindhu. Uthpala is also a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Performing Arts, Sri Palee Campus of the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Derek Horemans

Derek Horemans

DMus

Composition
dhoreman@ualberta.ca
Derek Horemans Music
Derek Horemans is an experimental composer and free improviser based in the Ottawa area. His personal composition practice focuses on non-standard scores and performance, especially text and graphic scores, as well as system-level composition and indeterminate music more broadly. He is also involved in multi-media, multi-disciplinary, and integrated artistic works, including staged works and simultaneous creation. His secondary academic pursuits include ludomusicology (study of video game music) as well as intersectional humanities, including geographical musicology, women's studies, and disability studies. He is an experienced and passionate teacher, teaching a wide range of courses as a primary instructor, from introductory music theory to leading improvisation ensembles at the graduate level.

Erin James

Erin James

DMus

Strings
ekjames1@ualberta.ca
Erin James is a multidisciplinary artist who seeks to dance the intersection between music, visual art and text through her work combining textiles and the violin. She is as passionate about transforming garbage into art as she is about transfiguring works from the classical music repertoire so that they are more vibrant and accessible. Erin holds a Masters degree from the Royal College of Music in London, has performed on CBC Radio, at the Music By the Sea festival, with the Vancouver and Edmonton Symphonies and with the Vancouver Opera, Hamilton Philharmonic and Allegra Chamber Orchestras. She is pursuing her doctorate in violin performance, has completed a degree in fashion design and her thesis work combining textiles and music has been fully funded by a Bombardier Social Sciences and Humanities grant. Erin has recently presented to Arts at Google, performed a Pocket Concert in Toronto, completed a residency at Banff and been awarded a Johann Strauss Foundation scholarship to pursue studies in Austria.

Kaleb Koslowski

Kaleb Koslowski

PhD

Musicology
koslowsk@ualberta.ca
Kaleb Koslowski is a PhD student in Musicology at the University of Alberta. He holds a Bachelor of Music (2013) from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Master of Arts in Musicology (2015) from the University of Toronto. He specializes broadly in musical and cultural history of the early modern period, especially questions about global networks and connections, the mobility of music and musicians, cultural mobility and translation, historical modes of listening, early modern subjectivity, and musical meaning and expression. His dissertation examines the operatic culture that flourished at the Hanseatic city of Hamburg’s Oper am Gänsemarkt during the first decades of the eighteenth century, specifically, how productions there both reified and informed discourses of civic patriotism and “global citizenship” that circulated among the city’s operagoing publics during this period. This research is supported by a Joseph Armand Bombardier CGS-Doctoral Fellowship (SSHRC). Kaleb has contributed entries to Grove Music Online and Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, has provided translations for the Schenker Documents Online project, and serves on the editorial board of Intonations, the University of Alberta Faculty of Arts’ transdisciplinary graduate-student journal. He is an avid performer, having studied as an organist and historical keyboardist. He has previously maintained his own piano studio and served as the musical director for a children’s musical theatre company.

Brendan McGrath

Brendan McGrath

MMus

Piano
bmcgrath@ualberta.ca
brendanmcgrath.info
I work as a performer/composer both professionally and academically. My research focuses on learning didactic repertoire by composers like Bach and Bartók, and composing original pieces that use elements from those works.

Shruti Nair

Shruti Nair

PhD

Ethnomusicology
shrutish@ualberta.ca

Shruti Nair is a PhD student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta. She is an Indian classical vocalist who is actively teaching and performing in Edmonton. Her dissertation focuses on 'Pedagogy and Performance Practices of North Indian Classical Music in the Digital Era' and this research is supported by Canada Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral (SSHRC).

Shruti was the Featured Artist by Edmonton Arts Council in 2020 and the Guest Performing Artist of Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 2018. She is passionate about music collaborations and is an active member of the Edmonton TransCultural Orchestra.

Behrang Nikaeen

Behrang Nikaeen

PhD

Ethnomusicology, Popular Music
nikaeen@ualberta.ca
Behrang Nikaeen – Google Scholar

I am a Ph.D. student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta. I earned my Bachelor of Engineering from the Karaj Azad University (2011) and my Master’s degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of Tehran (2017). I started my PhD program at the University of Alberta in fall 2020 and have been serving on the editorial board of the online peer-reviewed graduate journal of Intonations. I have been researching the Azerbaijani ashiq bardic genre in Iranian Azerbaijan since 2015. My research outcomes are reflected in some articles, book reviews, and translations primarily about the ashiq tradition in some Persian- and English-language journals, such as Journal of Folklore Research, Musicologist, Mahoor Music Quarterly, and The Journal of Fine Arts at the University of Tehran. Currently I am working on my PhD project’s proposal about popular music and identity in the transnational region of Azerbaijan. In addition to Azerbaijani music, my interests and research projects include Iranian new popular music, music and fandom, and youth culture in Iran. My most recent publication is a book review in Popular Music.

As a musician and music teacher, I teach Iranian music theory, history, and some instruments, especially the tar and the Kurdish daf drum. I have had several performances with the Avaz, Delshodegan, and Anadolu Sesi ensembles (all established by Hadi Sepehri) in Iran and Turkey between 2010 and 2020.

Jude Nwankwo

Jude Nwankwo

DMus

Choral Conducting, Composition
jnwankwo@ualberta.ca
Jude Nwankwo – You Tube
Jude Nwankwo is a DMus student of choral conducting at the University of Alberta. His research interest is in the similarities/differences between the performance of Nigerian choral art music and classical music of Europe and America. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Arts degree in Theory and Composition from the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) in 2008 and 2013, respectively; and a Master of Sacred Music in choral conducting from the University of Notre Dame, USA in 2021. He is the inaugural recipient (2017) of the Sub-Saharan Africa Commissioning Project of the Morehouse College Department of Music, Atlanta, GA, USA; and the receiver of the 2021 Academic Achievement Award of the Department of Sacred Music at Notre Dame. He is the founder of the J Clef Chorale, a choir devoted to teaching choral music enthusiasts in Nsukka-Nigeria the art of choral music.

Deepak Paramashivan

Deepak Paramashivan

PhD

Composition, Theory, Music Theory, Composition and Artificial Intelligence
paramash@ualberta.ca
deepakparamashivan.com
Dr. Deepak Paramashivan is a composer, singer, Sarangi player, actor, and a scholar based out of Canada. He has acted and composed music for Indian films, Western Theater, Dance Ballets, Documentaries and Short Films. He has toured Europe, USA, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea both as a soloist and collaborating with Oscar winning composer A R Rehman , Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, Pandit Nayan Ghosh, Pandit Yogesh Samsi, Pandit Birju Maharaj, and the Hollywood composer Rick Boston. Deepak has conducted master class on Indian music, cross cultural composition and music theories of the world at various universities including Berklee college of music and New England conservatory. Deepak has a PhD in energy and climate engineering, with a gold medal, from the Indian Institute of Science. He received his second doctorate in Ethnomusicology from the university of Alberta, Canada under the supervision of Prof Michael Frishkopf, Dr Julia Byl and Prof Regula Qureshi. He is a recipient of SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2021-2023) and Killam Fellowship (2016-2017). His research interests include Application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in generating Cross Cultural Soundscapes, Music Theories and Composition, Ethnomusicology, Indian Theater, Sanskrit Language, Translation of Music Treatises in Sanskrit.

Jodi Penner

Jodi Penner

DMus

Choral Conducting, Voice
jbpenner@ualberta.ca
jodipenner.weebly.com

Jodi Penner, MMus (University of Alberta, 2011) and is currently working on her Doctorate of Music in Choral Conducting and Voice Performance at the University of Alberta focusing on Bolivian Baroque music. She is the Director of Voces Alegres, a bilingual Spanish choir in Edmonton as well as Choir Teaching artist with YONA-Sistema in Edmonton.

Her experience in opera, musical theatre, solo recitals, two solo albums, as well as BBC radio dramas and TV has taken her around the world including the United States, Canada, Scotland, Russia, Italy, Austria, and Bolivia.

Ms. Penner has sung the National Anthem for the Giants in 1992-93 and was featured as young artist with the Redwood Symphony in California singing Chants d' Auvergne. She has performed roles with Opera Roanoke, Operafestival di Roma, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Rosebud Theatre, and has sung with Canadian Chamber Choir, Edmonton Opera Chorus, i Coristi, Pro Coro, Richard Eaton Singers, Entrecantos, Orquesta Filarmónica, Trio Internaciónal and Bachfest in Bolivia. Recently, Jodi had guest conducting appearances with Edmonton Youth Choirs and Pro Cor Canada as emerging conductor. Ms. Penner teaches voice privately and is the Vice-President of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Edmonton chapter and is an invited adjudicator for many local Alberta music festivals.

Annie Randall

Anne-Marie Randall

MMus

Voice
annemar1@ualberta.ca
Annie Randall is a first year Masters of Music student in voice performance. She returned to study in 2018 after having had a previous career and a family. To follow her passion, Annie completed her BA in music/theatre at Concordia University of Edmonton with distinction under soprano, Jolaine Kerley. She is honored to be currently studying with the incredibly talented Miriam Khalil. Annie is excited to be presenting her Winter recital in November 2023.

Mehdi Rezania

Mehdi Rezania

PhD

Ethnomusicology
rezania@ualberta.ca
rezania.com

Mehdi Rezania, born in Abadeh, Iran is a composer, santur player, and researcher. He started music at age 13 and studied the advanced method of santur playing under Ardavan Kamkar in Tehran. He co-founded Baarbad music in Toronto with Toloe Roushenas and has performed numerously with many local and international musicians including Salar Aghili, Keivan Saket, Hossein Behroozinia, Sinfonia Toronto. His music projects have been supported by grants from Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Edmonton Arts Council and Canada Arts Council. He has been music advisor to Iranian Heritage Day at the Royal Ontario Museum and artistic advisor to Tirgan Festival in Toronto.

He has a BFA and MA in music composition from York University and an MA in ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta. He is pursuing his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta supported by Social Science and Humanities Research Council. His interest is in contemporary classical music of Iran inside and abroad the country; the impact of politics, migration and globalization on its theory, performance, composition, and dissemination.

Sarah Rossi

Sarah Rossi

MMus

Wind Band Conducting
sbilson@ualberta.ca
Sarah Rossi is a graduate student in Wind Band Conducting. She received her Bachelor of Music at the University of Calgary in 2021. Her interests include the development of the musical marching arts within her communities and create new ensembles to allow for individuals to gain valuable performance experience. As a clarinettist and conductor, she looks to become an exciting educator, performer, and ensemble director to her future musicals endeavours.

Diana Tayler

Diana Tayler

MMus

Composition
drattai@ualberta.ca
midwintermuse.com
Diana Tayler is a composer, arranger, performer (harp) and musical educator based on Treaty 6 Territory in Edmonton, Alberta. Diana turned to composition as a medium for her artistic expression after spending many years travelling across the country and abroad, engaging and performing with diverse musical communities in Asia and Eastern Europe. She composes choral, chamber, solo and acousmatic works. In her compositions, she uses extended techniques and deconstructs sound to explore resonance and tonal colour and bring the listener inside the sound worlds she creates. Diana completed a Master of Arts degree in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies (Specialisation in Slavic Linguistics) at the University of Alberta, an Associate diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT), and is currently pursuing an MMus (composition) at the University of Alberta supported by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. She serves on the boards of directors for University of Alberta Madrigal Singers, New Music Edmonton and Ukrainian Shumka Dancers, and is active in Edmonton’s vibrant choral community.
Ka Yuk Yam (Rose) is a Mmus student in Piano Performance at the University of Alberta, studying under Dr. Viktoria Reiswich-Dapp. She was selected in the Concerto Competition in the University of Alberta (2022) and will be playing Mozart Concerto KV. 414 as a soloist with the University Symphony Orchestra in 2023 Spring. She got the highest score in the piano department in the final piano exam (2022). She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Rose is also an active piano teacher and piano accompanist. She particularly has a great passion for piano teaching. Serendipity Music Studio was set up by Rose and another partner for nurturing musicians in the new generations. She reads a lot about piano pedagogy during her free time. Having an urge to pay back to society with her music, she is devoted to piano teaching, and she volunteered a couple of times in the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre, to play pop music for the senior citizens.
Jin Yu is a doctoral student in Prof. John Tessier's Voice Studio. He is singing internationally in the US, Canada, Israel, Austria, and China; appearing in opera, concert, and oratorio; soloist at Carnegie Hall, dramatic baritone Jin Yu has brought his musical, vocal and dramatic skill, thrilling audiences and critics alike. From Bluebeard and Sparafucile to Don Alfonso and Count Almaviva, from Escamillo and Marcello to Gianni Schicchi, Jin Yu has sung over thirty roles; his dramatic interpretation and vocal agility make him equally at home as the villain, the romantic lead and the comic anti-hero. A towering presence in Handel and sacred music, to Mozart and Verismo, Jin Yu’s vocal and theatrical versatility is only matched by the Herculean size of his voice. With appearances operas in Chinese as well, Jin Yu is the face of the new internationalism and versatility of the lyric art.

Tangmuyang Zhang

Tangmuyang (Krystal) Zhang

PhD

Musicology
tangmuya@ualberta.ca
I am a third-year doctoral student in Musicology, receiving 4-year full funding from China Scholarship Council since 2020. My current research focuses on two Chinese composers (Tan Dun and Zhao Jiping) and their film music compositions. In 2015 and 2019, I received my B.F.A in Music Performance and M.A in Musicology from Chinese Culture University (Taipei, Taiwan) and Dalhousie University (Halifax, NS) respectively. My M.A. thesis, Diegetic Music and Identity in Hou Hsiao-hsien's A City of Sadness (1989), discusses the function of diegetic music and the issue of identity in late nineteenth century Taiwan through the film. I am also a performer and teacher of Zheng (a traditional Chinese 21-string instrument) and piano.