Strong, intelligent voice is recognized
Naomi Barrettara came to Laurier to study Music Education and develop her singing. Now, she leaves with an Honours Bachelor degree in Music with a double major in Music Ed and Music History; this September, she will begin a PhD in Musicology at City University of New York (CUNY), one of America’s best institutions in that subject.
Each year, CUNY accepts about five doctoral students in each academic field; Barrettara wants to continue exploring the academic interests she discovered at Laurier: interpretation of opera (portrayal of gender, themes of fidelity, and social context), ideas of musical ownership, and the connection between intellectual property law and the development of music (from both a historic and current perspective). Barrettara is especially interested in this latter topic, not just because of the contemporary practice of file-sharing, but also because of the role “borrowing” plays in the way classical music has developed through history. The technological developments of both the printing press and digitally recorded music have significantly impacted the development of music. Music historically developed by composers borrowing musical ideas from one another, expanding and building upon the ideas of their colleges and predecessors. “It really wasn't until the romantic era that composers became more aware of their right to own musical ideas, and it is not until the 20th century that society has embraced and cultivated the concept of intellectual thoughts as a commodity, and ideas being their personal property.That shift in societal philosophy has significantly affected the development of music.” Barrettara says.
Dr. Jane Sugarman, a faculty member at CUNY, has looked at developing countries and places of political unrest such as the former Yugoslavia, studying how the absence of stable government and centuries of civil conflict has affected the role of music in both the formation of cultural identity, as well as the creation and distribution of music. Barrettara speaks of Sugarman’s research with fascination, as she is excited to see how her own interests connect with Sugarman's work, indicating that her curiosity will be shaped by the faculty at CUNY just as it was by her profs at Laurier.
"In my first year at Laurier, I took a Music History course with Dr. Alma Santosuosso. I didn’t know anything about the subject before I took the course, but I took to it like a duck to water,” Barrettara says. “I was absolutely fascinated by the research she was doing, the traveling she had done, and the academic demands and opportunities of her field. I decided I wanted to do that, as well.” Barrettara also credits Laurier’s Dr. Kirsten Yri for her success. “Both Dr. Santosuosso and Dr.Yri have been major influences, editing my writing, pushing me to expand my boundaries, helping me sort through options, affirming my choices, encouraging me to travel abroad, and helping me look for people whom I want to work with. Both have challenged me time and again to run the extra mile in order to surpass expectations, both have mentored me throughout my years at Laurier, and both have become my friends through this process.”
A native of Whitby, Barrettara is excited that soon she will be studying in a building opposite the Empire State Building. In the coming years, she will know New York City well as CUNY’s program has partnerships with Columbia, New York University, and Princeton.
This past year, as Barrettara finished her undergrad, she worked in Laurier’s Faculty of Music and Learning Services as an academic mentor, advising undergrads how to succeed scholastically. Hoping someday to be a recognized as an established professor and researcher, she hopes to teach in the University classroom and contribute to a generation of musicians who think critically about the multi-faceted role of music in society. Barrettara is eager to begin her studies in New York, having found a voice in academic writing that has brought acclaim and wonderful opportunities.