July 14, 2021Print | PDF
After an extensive search, Laurier’s Faculty of Music has appointed Anishinaabekwe (Odawa/Ojibwe/Potawatomi; Mnidoo Mnissing, Giniw dodem: Manitoulin Island, Golden Eagle Clan) composer, musician, artistic director and educator Barbara Assiginaak to a tenure-track position as assistant professor of Composition, effective July 1.
Coupled with her international accolades, Assiginaak received the Order of Ontario in 2019 for her extraordinary musical career and held the position of artist-in-residence and cultural consultant for the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in 2019-20.
Since early childhood, Assiginaak has composed traditional Anishinabe music for pipigwan, a wooden flute, and voice. Her portfolio of music for instrumental and vocal soloists, chamber ensembles, orchestras, film, theatre, dance and interdisciplinary performance has premiered in Europe, the UK, Asia, Latin America and across Canada. Her creative work is interconnected with her two decades of experience within environmental outdoor education rooted in traditional Anishinabe teachings and work with Indigenous youth in artistic projects in schools.
“I am delighted to welcome Barbara Assiginaak to the Faculty of Music,” says Cynthia Johnston Turner, dean of the Faculty of Music. “She brings to the community a depth of professional experience that will inspire our students’ musical creativity and imagination. Her work expresses traditions and messages of Indigenous history that are vital to the evolution of music programs in Canada and around the world.”
As the direct descendant of hereditary chiefs who signed major treaties in Ontario, and as a child and grandchild of residential school survivors, Assiginaak addresses the truths of history for Indigenous peoples and plays an active role in the healing process through her artistic projects. Taking part in traditional ceremonies with Elders who have mentored her and provided guidance is the basis of her life purpose and work.
“I am very honoured to join the esteemed Faculty of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University,” says Assiginaak. “I look forward to guiding students on their own individual creative journeys and learning paths, which can lead to diverse career choices that are personally fulfilling, community-connecting and Earth-protecting.”
Traditionally taught and classically trained, Assiginaak holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition from the University of Toronto and graduate diplomas from the Centre Acanthes in France and Hochscule für Musik and Theater München in Germany, in addition to extensive study in piano, composition, music theory, piano accompaniment and chamber music at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto.
Please join us in welcoming Barbara Assiginaak to our Laurier community.
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