Jonathan Girard

Associate Professor

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.

From "a doubtful privilege" to "the solo in every concert" : the oboist's tuning-A in John Corigliano's "Tuning Game" (2023)

In the modern symphony orchestra, it is common practice for the musicians to tune to the principal oboist’s note A– known as the “tuning-A”– at the beginning of a concert. Although tuning the orchestra is widely accepted by orchestral musicians and audiences as an important part of the oboist’s job, there is a lack of academic research on the practice. We do not yet have a clear understanding of why the oboist gives the tuning-A– a practice whose origins Geoffrey Burgess and Bruce Haynes call a “mystery” in their well-researched history of the instrument, The Oboe (2004). Further, because the practical knowledge required to successfully play the A has mainly been passed aurally from oboist to oboist, there is little written documentation of the practice. In this dissertation, I begin to document the oboist’s relationship to the orchestral tuning-A from three different perspectives. In Chapter One, using primary historical sources from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, I trace the emergence of the oboist as the orchestral tuner around 1800 in Paris and the continued debates surrounding the oboe’s suitability for tuning into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In Chapter Two, I discuss the findings of my original online survey of practicing principal oboists in Canadian professional orchestras, including evidence that oboists see the tuning-A not only as a practical tool, but as an expressive solo. I also address possible reasons for the oboe’s continued role in modern orchestral tuning, including the instrument’s unique timbre and oboists’ ability to adjust pitch. In Chapter Three, I present my analysis of the first movement of acclaimed American composer John Corigliano’s (1938- ) Oboe Concerto (1975), called “Tuning Game,” which the composer describes as “an extension of the preperformance tuning rite into a virtuosic game.” Using Hepokoski and Darcy’s Sonata Theory (2006) as a starting point, my original analysis shows the ingenuity of Corigliano’s use of the tuning-A as a defining compositional feature of “Tuning Game”—a perspective that no scholar has contributed before. Ultimately, I argue that the oboist’s tuning-A is a musical object with rich aesthetic value.

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Canadian Clarinet Music as Multicultural Action (2016)

Despite the wealth of Canadian clarinet repertoire, most of the existing studies focus only on pedagogy for student performers. Its significance and merit can better be understood, however, by considering its cultural context, especially through the perspective of Canadian identity. Canada’s social framework directly impacts its musical output and reflects Canada’s core values, especially multiculturalism, which became government policy in 1971. Using multiculturalism as a focal point for examining Canadian clarinet repertoire, this study explores the ways in which music performance is a multicultural action rather than simply stating the fact of social pluralism. From a list of Canadian clarinet works reflecting multiculturalism, selected works have been chosen for detailed study. Empty Sky by Elliot Weisgarber, Sitpatsimoyi by Robert Rosen, Anerca II by Milton Barnes, and Between the Shore and the Ships by Derek Charke are four Canadian works which use the clarinet as a solo instrument and reflect the ethnocultural groups the Canadian Multiculturalism Act accommodates: immigrants, First Nations, and French-speaking people. Selected works are examined from contextual and musical perspectives for representations of ethnocultural identity. Likewise, performance decisions are discussed revealing how performance is a multicultural gesture requiring musical, contextual, and social analysis. The evaluation of these factors are consolidated into performance which musically illustrates an understanding and sensitivity to ethnocultural accommodation and comments on social issues making each performance a multicultural action.

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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 recitals (2023)

No abstract available.

Graduate recitals (2022)

No abstract available.

Graduate recitals (2020)

No abstract available.

Graduate recital (2019)

No abstract available.

Graduate Recitals (2017)

No abstract available.

Graduate Recitals (2015)

No abstract available.

Laser-Induced Thermoelectric Energy Generation Using Carbon Nanotube Forests (2015)

Although there has been extensive research on the thermoelectric effect, there have only been some reports on the photo-thermoelectric effect in carbon nanotubes, i.e. the conversion of light to heat to electricity. A device capable of producing a thermoelectric voltage by light irradiation on a forest of aligned multi-walled carbon nanotubes has not yet been reported. The work presented in this thesis first outlines the growth conditions by which millimetre-long CNTs were grown by catalytic chemical vapour deposition (CVD). Two novel thermoelectric devices were fabricated based on two intrinsic properties of CNT forests. (1) Using the “Heat Trap” effect (light-induced heat localization), the first device induced a potential difference (few hundred μV) from low incident laser power. The temporal dynamics of the induced voltage were understood to be due to a competition of the temperature gradients within the device materials. A finite element analysis model was simulated the thermal and electrical characteristics. The temperature-dependent thermal conductivity of CNTs was derived based on the experimental induced voltage and was seen to fall-off with temperature, confirming a previously-suggested mechanism for the effect. (2) Since the thermal conductivity of CNTs can be 1-2 orders of magnitude smaller in the direction perpendicular to the nanotube axis, a second device was fabricated to achieve a higher temperature gradient. Under a few hundred mW of laser power, a few mV of potential difference was induced, indicating power conversion efficiencies in the 10ˉ⁵ % range. A finite element analysis model was created, which by using the experimentally-derived thermal conductivity from the previous device, predicted the induced voltage to within 10% at high laser powers. Calculation of the room temperature figure-of-merit ZT was low (10ˉ⁶ range), however no device optimization had been performed in these proof-of-concept prototypes. If CNT-based thermoelectric devices are to be used at higher temperatures, the three temperature-dependent material parameters enhance ZT and the efficiency. CNTs can be a promising material choice if cost and low toxicity are concerns, since the CVD process is fairly inexpensive and carbon-containing precursors are abundant. Moreover, CNTs have a high power-to-weight ratio and CNT forests are sparse.

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News Releases

This list shows a selection of news releases by UBC Media Relations over the last 5 years.

Membership Status

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