David Schroeder Music & Culture Lecture Series

This series hosts guest speakers in public lectures. All lectures are free and open to the public and are held in Room 406 (MacAloney Room) of the Dalhousie Arts Centre beginning at 12:00 noon.

For a list of speakers from past years, click here.

The Fountain School of Performing Arts will require masks for all audience members attending any of our performances, masterclasses, or workshops.


We respect Dalhousie University's current Covid protocols in educational spaces intended to create a safe and welcoming environment for all students.


Mark Burford, Reed College

Mark Burford

September 29, 2022

A Good Musical Education: Mahalia Jackson and the Legibility of Black Women’s Voices

Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson regularly cited blues diva Bessie Smith as a decisive influence, though she also acknowledged her debt to concert contralto Marian Anderson. In doing so, she summoned two African American vocalists whose recordings she studied but who are not often thought of in conjunction with each other. Triangulating discourse on the voices of these three women—hearing the voices of Smith and Anderson through the reception of Jackson—invites us to consider how we imagine, assess, and racialize “trained” and “natural” voices, while raising questions about the ways Black women’s voices are heard, understood and generate meaning.

Mary I. Ingraham, Saint Mary’s University with Bert Crowfoot, CEO Aboriginal Multi-media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)

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October 27, 2022

Digitizing the Ancestors: Communications sovereignty and contemporary cultural resurgence

Communications technologies are vital to Indigenous communities’ efforts to reinforce self-determination and intervene in a largely negative national imagination. The opportunities and outputs of Indigenous techno-sovereignty originated across Canada in the late 1960s, sustaining radio and film production for the Alberta Native Communications Society to 1983 and print and radio productions of the Aboriginal Multi-Media Association of Alberta since then. Through these media organizations, Aboriginal leaders have operationalized extensive social, political, and cultural sovereignty across urban and rural communities.

The Digitizing the Ancestors Project preserves and makes accessible these long-silent archives, re-sounding the voices of Elders and culture bearers.  It revitalizes traditional teachings and lost, silenced, or otherwise forgotten practices. Powwow events, interviews with Elders, politicians, and artists, and sharing of traditional knowledge reflect the richness of the archive. As living communications, these recordings carry messages of well-being across generations, revealing their echoes within contemporary society.

Donald Grieg, Baritone, Orlando Consort

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November 17, 2022

Giving Voice to Joan of Arc: a silent film classic and musical veneration

Like other silent film classics, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc has inspired diverse scores, from medieval music to rock, pop, and all points in between. Though Dreyer initially wanted his film to be watched in chaste silence, he later welcomed musical solutions, though he left few clues as to what his ideal score might have been. This talk examines the film’s history through the prism of music, tracing Dreyer’s approach to his subject and addressing questions of how music has shaped the reception of the film since its original release.