Desautels Faculty of Music: Leading the field
Source: UofM Desautels Faculty of Music

The faculty at the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music know what it takes to become a successful musician and artist in the 21st– century world.

Whether it is becoming an outstanding music educator or performer, winning national competitions, directing a music festival, or composing a score for a film screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, the Desautels Faculty of Music understands the large spectrum of opportunities available to students. This Faculty is a leader in forging an effective strategy to educate and inspire young talents to be versatile, confident and career-ready. For decades, music graduates from the University of Manitoba have distinguished themselves locally, nationally and internationally in a wide range of music and arts-related professions.

Stimulating curriculum, expert mentorship and guidance

The Desautels Faculty offers four different programs: Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Jazz Studies, Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Performance and Master of Music, appealing to talented students at different levels of study. Central to all programs is the Faculty’s commitment to academic excellence and an outstanding student experience.

Source: UofM Desautels Faculty of Music

It starts with allowing students flexibility. For example, following Desautels’ Bachelor of Music students’ initial two-year core program, they have the choice of completing a General program, or choosing one of four Concentrations:  Composition, History, Music Education, or Performance. Within each Concentration, elective options help students tailor their programs to their aspirations. This mixture of core and elective courses exposes students to a wide and interdisciplinary range of interests and influences.

Steven Webb ‘s experience is proof that the interdisciplinary mindset abounds at the Desautels Faculty. Graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in 2011, he has since premiered an original score for one of the films screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

In addition to being the composer, music supervisor and sound editor for the film Chopin’s Heart, Webb is now a thriving composer, audio engineer and collaborative pianist living in Toronto.

He credits his time at the University of Manitoba as a critical stepping stone to his success today: “Although my undergraduate degree was in piano, my teachers and professors always encouraged my love for composition, and in particular film composition.”

At the Desautels Faculty of Music, Webb is one of countless student to have benefited from the family of passionate musicians making up its outstanding faculty of performers, composers, conductors, theorists, and musicologists. Every student experiences award-winning individuals with a commitment to innovative teaching and a gift for student engagement.

Take the Jazz Studies faculty, for example. Comprised of internationally-renowned artists who are active in today’s jazz music scene, Desautels Faculty jazz students have the luxury of joining them as they continue to perform, compose and regularly record.

Meeting jazz luminaries like Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Regina Carter, Clark Terry and Herlin Reil may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many, but at the Desautels Faculty, this is a frequent occurrence in weekly Master Classes.

The right support can transform lives

Eight years ago, Stuart Sladden was  commuting into the city, working, teaching and trying to fit in his studies. It was a pretty tough time as he struggled to complete his undergraduate degree at another university.

Source: UofM Desautels Faculty of Music

Thanks to generous financial assistance from Desautels, his transition into a Master of Music program at the Desautels Faculty of Music is a complete contrast to that former part of life:

“I’d squeaked by to finish my undergrad, but with my master’s at the University of Manitoba, I felt really engaged. They were vastly different experiences. The Desautels Graduate Scholarship allowed me to focus on my studies and my education,” he said.

Together with expert instruction and abundant opportunities, scholarships and financial support form another key component in how Desautels helps gifted musicians thrive.

The Faculty endowments for student support are among the most generous in Canada. Over 60 percent of students here hold Faculty of Music and/or University scholarships and bursaries, so that their talents and hard work are supported.

Support at Desautels goes far beyond finances. As Sladden discovered, the Desautels Graduate scholarship combined with world-class professors and a supportive environment was inspiring, altering his career trajectory for the better. He is now a doctorate candidate, focused on Canadian composer Alexis Contant.

“The advantage here is the community itself. You receive so much personal contact and attention from faculty,” he says. “There are so many more opportunities for exploration in music creativity.”

“Those opportunities rejuvenated within me a passion for music that had been waning.”

Inspiring students through state-of-the-art facilities

Students at the Desautels Faculty of Music rehearse and learn in the most modern university music facilities in Canada. Over the past decade, the University of Manitoba has renewed Music facilities to provide spaces to advance and inspire students.

The Taché Hall, one of the university’s most iconic buildings, has been renovated and combined with state-of-the-art new construction into an impressive performing arts complex. What used to be a former student residence now houses 40 practice rooms, rehearsal spaces, a multimedia studio, an electro-acoustic composition lab, a Yamaha keyboard lab and a large inventory of new Yamaha pianos, and the list goes on.

Taché Hall. Source: UofM Desautels Faculty of Music

Merging the historic character of Taché Hall and new construction with the contemporary architecture of ARTLab, enable faculty to bring interdisciplinary collaborations to life. Whether you are there to study, teach or attend performances, the new and redeveloped buildings present an empowering environment for all.

A city that celebrates performing arts

Winnipeg, Manitoba is a city for musicians. Though it is home to just 2.25 percent of Canada’s population, approximately 12 percent of the country’s professional musicians live in Winnipeg.

Studying music at the Desautels Faculty means immersion into one of Canada’s most vibrant cultural communities. There are more than 250 performances annually with faculty, community players, and several of Winnipeg’s leading performing arts organizations, including the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

With such deep opportunities for collaboration, Desautels students get real-world professional experience from the outset. It is no surprise that Desautels’ list of alumni can be found in places from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, to the San Francisco Opera, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Canadian Opera Company, Los Angeles Opera and beyond.

The Desautels Faculty’s reputation for excellence in blending traditional training with innovation precedes its graduates, as first-year student Colleen Zwarych found out on her own:

“This faculty is so dedicated to our art and to building community. People see ‘U of M Desautels Faculty of Music grad’ on a resume and they know this person has worked hard and is focused beyond themselves. They’ll know I’ve been greatly supported here, that I understand what that support can do, and that I’m ready to offer it to my own students. My learning will become the next generation’s learning.”

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