David Metzer


Relevant 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.

"The mighty spring tide of Finnish music": nationalism and internationalism in the music of Leevi Madetoja (2018)

No abstract available.

A Canadian opera aria anthology for soprano (2017)

A problem that Canadian opera faces is that once works are premiered, they rarely receive any further performances. Singers must overcome numerous barriers to sing these works due to limited score accessibility and lack of aria adaptations and recordings. Even if singers feel passionately about Canadian opera, such obstacles may impede their motivation to perform Canadian repertoire.This thesis aims to increase the awareness and accessibility of Canadian opera through the creation of a “Canadian Opera Aria Anthology for Soprano.” The anthology includes background information about the operas, composer and librettist biographies, opera synopses, and aria adaptations. In addition, performance and interpretive guides have been formed from the author’s own research in performing these works, available recordings, and from information gathered from the author’s interviews with the composers and librettists.Hopefully the arias within this anthology will not only provide singers with useful arias for auditions, but also give them and their audience a lens through which they may better understand Canadian opera and culture. Ultimately, this research aims to increase the recognition of Canadian opera and to develop a greater interest and appreciation for these works so that one day, they may become a part of the standard operatic repertoire and reach both Canadian and international stages.

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Music in nature, nature in music: sounding the environment in contemporary composition (2017)

No abstract available.

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.

She's ahead of the times: a study of how Buffy Sainte-Marie's music addresses Indigenous rights (2020)

No abstract available.

The parting glass: graduation thesis recital, April 4, 2018 (2018)

No abstract available.

Joan La Barbara's Early Explorations of the Voice (2016)

No abstract available.

Genre and Parody in the Music of the Beatles (2015)

From the earliest outbreak of “Beatlemania” in 1963 to the announcement of their breakup in 1970, The Beatles fulfilled, exceeded, and reformed our conceptions of popular music. They have enjoyed an enduring popularity with critics and audiences and have cemented their position as one of the most celebrated acts in popular culture. Although it would be difficult to attribute their success to a single factor, it could be argued that their eclectic sound ensured their mass appeal. As their careers progressed, The Beatles effortlessly combined and moved between different genres. Many of these genres were atypical for popular music of the 1960s and can be regarded as parody. This thesis approaches parody as an important stylistic trait of The Beatles’ music. Parody is a broad concept that can be found in a number of forms of art and entertainment. By drawing from literary criticism and musicological discourse, this study develops a broader understanding of parody in which popular musicians evoke the music of another genre through borrowing and create a critical distance between their work and the preexisting one. Further investigation reveals how The Beatles applied parody to their music and how it was used by the band to connect with their listeners. In such songs as “Back In The U.S.S.R.” and “Happiness Is A Warm Gun,” The Beatles parody different musical genres in order to evoke social commentary. Genre parody is not exclusive to individual songs. It is one of the unifying threads in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, in which The Beatles parody the English music hall and use genre to connect themes on the album. Despite these instances, parody remains an underexplored practice in their music. Many scholars of the band will acknowledge the musical and critical elements associated with parody; however, they do not use the term, nor identify parody as a recurring practice in The Beatles’ music. This thesis hopes to shed light on this topic and add to our understanding of the rich legacy of The Beatles.

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Gesture and sympathy in the 1969 BBC production of Benjamin Britten's "Peter Grimes" (2014)

Throughout his career, Benjamin Britten was actively involved in the composition of music for television and film, for projects ranging from documentary soundtracks for the General Post Office Film Unit (1935-36) to television adaptations of his operas. This thesis will examine the television production of Peter Grimes, which was shot under Britten’s supervision in 1969 at the Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh. The production has Peter Pears, Britten’s partner and collaborator, in the title role, a role that he also performed in the 1945 premiere of the opera.As in many of his operas, Peter Grimes encourages the audience to sympathetically identify with a character who is an outsider in society. Grimes, for example, is rejected by the people in the local village, yet is made to be a multi-dimensional character who the audience is encouraged to feel sympathy for. The thesis will examine how gesture is used in the production to create a sympathetic connection between Grimes and the audience. It will also pay particular attention to the use of camera techniques to enhance this connection through different shots including close-ups and framing the individual against the crowd. In addition, it examines how the gestures performed relate to and interact with the accompanying score. The gestures used by Grimes in three scenes of the opera will be examined in detail: the Prologue, Interlude IV, and Act III scene ii.This thesis will examine Britten’s perceptions of the character of Grimes, his involvement in the television production process, and his views on acting. Through looking at Pears’s copies of vocal scores, it will also explore his relationship with Grimes and how he approached gesture in his operatic roles.

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The individual of late modernity in Istvan Anhalt's Foci (1969) (2014)

Hungarian-born Canadian composer Istvan Anhalt’s (1919-2012) multimedia work, Foci (1969), was written during a time of rapid technological and social change. Composed for taped and live voices, electronics, and instruments in Montreal amidst the political upheavals of the Quiet Revolution, Foci is a work that exemplifies new directions in musical technique that were being explored in Canada at the time. Foci is also a work that comments on broader cultural developments in a period known as late modernity. Sociologists such as Jock Young and Anthony Giddens have described this period as one that is characterized by an increase in the dissolution of traditional social and personal boundaries, a rise in individual autonomy, and the permeation of anxiety into all spheres of life, which Albert Camus argues is the result of one’s increased awareness of the Absurd.The thesis will explore how Foci can be read as a work that embodies various struggles that the individual of late modernity encounters, including the challenge of creating oneself from a philosophical blank slate (Chapter 2), reconciling traditional notions of religion and faith with late-modern ones (Chapter 3), navigating through interactions with others and groups while balancing the need for individuality and uniqueness (Chapter 4), and finally, confronting the late-modern idea that any singular truth is untenable (Chapter 5). By studying the sociological context of Foci in conjunction with its musical characteristics, an understanding of the work’s place and significance in Canadian music history as well as in the changing social and cultural conditions of the 1960’s is acquired.

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