Corey Hamm


Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Ferruccio Busoni's use of the sostenuto pedal: expansion of the pedalling technique (2021)

This dissertation is a comprehensive examination of the use of the sostenuto pedal by Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) in the first Appendix of his edition of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (1894) and Mit Anwendung des III. Pedals (Steinway & Sons Sustaining-Pedal) (1923). Although Busoni notated the use of the sostenuto pedal in these two works, scholars have largely overlooked the significance of his groundbreaking pedalling techniques. To contextualize the historical significance of Busoni’s use of the sostenuto pedal in the history of the piano repertoire, I analyze the use of the sostenuto pedal in Consolation No. 3 and Danse des Sylphes by Franz Liszt (1811-1886), for Liszt was the only major composer who notated his use of the sostenuto pedal before Busoni. I then use these findings to discuss Busoni’s first Appendix and Mit Anwendung des III. Pedals (Steinway & Sons Sustaining-Pedal), which represent Busoni’s extensive use of the sostenuto pedal but has not been discussed fully in scholarly literature. To illustrate Busoni’s impact, I demonstrate that his use of the sostenuto pedal pre-dated similar pedalling techniques employed by twentieth-century composers, including Percy Grainger (1882-1961), Luciano Berio (1925-2003), and George Crumb (1929-). My research findings provide a contextualized explanation of Busoni’s pedalling techniques and identify his contributions to the development of piano playing. Grounded in the most up-to-date and authoritative research, I show that Busoni found new ways to prolong and release tones by using the sostenuto pedal. He developed the use of the sostenuto pedal from merely prolonging a pedal point, as Liszt did, to devising four new pedalling techniques: 1) he altered the customary sequence of sound production of the piano: attack, sustain, and release; 2) he enabled the performance of contrasting articulations and dynamics in multi-layered textures; 3) he prolonged pedal points and increased the clarity of individual layers within multi-layered textures; 4) he formed polychords. Busoni’s use of the sostenuto pedal, I argue, expanded the pedalling technique of the piano.

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The political pianist: protest, commissions, and programming for the twenty-first century (2021)

Politics touches many aspects of modern life, from the food we eat to the products we buy and the sports we watch—as well as the music we listen to, study, and perform. Classical musicians are generally more cautious about entering political debates than popular musicians and celebrities. This caution is attributable, in part, to the historical suppression and censorship of classical musicians and composers. But classical musicians today are affected by—and are often implicated in—the systemic forces of racism, sexism, inequality, and other sociopolitical problems. In this dissertation I argue that classical pianists can and should engage in political speech and action.This study begins with a working definition of political music and surveys the history of political interference with classical music and musicians. I then outline three basic categories of political pianism: protest, commissioning, and programming. An exploration of protest highlights four notable pianists who engaged in political activism and speech. My discussion of commissions and programming critiques classical music’s structural and institutional biases towards white and male composers and contends that collaborations with composers and repertoire choices can function as political statements. The document also introduces two new piano works written by Joel Thompson and Peter S. Shin, commissioned with funding from the University of British Columbia’s Public Scholars Initiative. This dissertation is intended as a guide for pianists who wish to integrate their personal politics into their professional pursuits.

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Serving two masters: Hummel's arrangements of Mozart's Piano Concerto in C major, K. 503 (ca. 1828) (2019)

Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837), once a pupil of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), made seven arrangements of Mozart’s Piano Concertos. Most studies of Hummel’s arrangements of Mozart’s Piano Concertos have focused on their reception history and Mozart’s performance practice. However, few have studied Hummel’s approach to piano arrangement, particularly his arrangement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C major, K. 503 (ca. 1828). To better understand Hummel’s approach to arrangement, I borrow concepts from translation theories. In this thesis, I adopt the concept “to serve two masters” from philosopher Franz Rosenzweig’s theory of translation. Similar to a translator who serves two masters (i.e., the original author and readers in the target language), an arranger who serves two masters pays equal attention to the composer of the original and the target audience of the arrangement. Using K. 503 as a case study, I investigate in this thesis how Hummel mediated between Mozart and the early nineteenth-century audience. I discover that Hummel added ornamentation to select themes and reinforced select closing passages. While he made the original more virtuosic in his arrangement, his ornamentation and modifications stay close to Mozart’s original thematic materials. As he used these techniques to satisfy the nineteenth-century audience’s need for piano virtuosity while adhering closely to Mozart’s intent, I argue that he served two masters. The implication of this thesis is that performers can take Hummel’s arrangement as a model that seeks not only to serve the composer but also to serve the target audience.

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A performer's perspective on three works for pianist and moving images : analysis with performance and practice strategies for Michel van der Aa's 'Transit', Nicole Lizée's 'Hitchcock Études', and 'Surface Tension' by Eve Egoyan and David Rokeby (2017)

Interest in audio-visual works of art that are performed by a live pianist while integrating projected moving visual images has waxed and waned over a period of almost 300 years. The past twenty years or so has seen a re-emergence of this genre of classical music composition which places extra demands on the pianist performing these works. This dissertation explores the history of this genre, proposes a framework for analysis of these pieces, and examines from both analytical and performance perspectives three contrasting works for this medium: Michel van der Aa’s 'Transit', Nicole Lizée’s 'Hitchcock Études', and 'Surface Tension' by Eve Egoyan and David Rokeby. This research was conducted by examining sources on the history of this genre, investigating analytical methods for discussing works of multimedia (including the texts of film sound theorists), and through live, phone, and/or e-mail interviews with the composers of the works studied, performers of these works, sound and video technicians, and a concert producer. It is the goal of this research to provide a comprehensive overview of this genre for pianists who are interested in exploring works for this medium, while highlighting the difficulties in preparing and mounting these works in performance.

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Kurtag's Jatekok as lessons in musical expression (2016)

Teaching students to play the piano with more expression is one of the fundamental goals of piano pedagogy. The purpose of this study is to show how to help students develop careful and thoughtful articulation and interpretation, to gain experience performing contemporary piano works, as well as to improve their expression in the Classical and Romantic repertoire by having them learn selected pieces from Kurtág’s Játékok. Chapter 1 summarizes how musical “expression” has been defined by a number of philosophers, theorists, musicologists, and performers; it finds general agreement that four aspects of piano playing are especially important: tempo and flexible rhythm, dynamics, articulation, and sonority. Through analysis and discussion of many short pieces from Játékok Volume I – III, V – VII (Volumes IV and VIII are for piano duet and two pianos), Chapter 2 discusses how students can practice these aspects, learn a new music language through Kurtág’s notation, open their minds to accept new sound, and gain a complete knowledge of the music’s elaborate dynamic and expressive markings. The final chapter provides and discusses a progressive lesson plan, focusing on the major components that are demonstrated in Chapter 2. Kurtág’s Játékok is an excellent model for teaching, and it should be recognized and used as an important contribution to contemporary piano pedagogy.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Graduate recital (2024)

No abstract available.

Graduation recital : Schubert, Haydn, Medtner, Scriabin and Schumann (2023)

No abstract available.

Graduate recitals (2021)

No abstract available.

Graduate recital (2020)

No abstract available.

Graduation Recital (2016)

No abstract available.

Graduate Recital (2015)

No abstract available.

Graduate recitals (2013)

No abstract available.

Graduate Recitals (2012)

No abstract available.

Current Students & Alumni

This is a small sample of students and/or alumni that have been supervised by this researcher. It is not meant as a comprehensive list.

Membership Status

Member of G+PS
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Program Affiliations

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