Music and the Visionary

27-28 September 2019

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore relationships between music and the visionary beyond the notion of the innovative composer as a prophet figure. By examining how the visionary aspect of music relates to performance and social practice and how it is represented or theorised in works from music and other disciplines, this conference invites a broad range of approaches and musical traditions. The questions that the conference will explore include:

  • How is music, as a cultural and social practice, related to the visionary (including prophecy, revelation, altered consciousness, and extended perception)?
  • How do music, ritual, and visions or prophecy interact?
  • How do performers and composers (contemporary and historical) draw on ideas related to the visionary in their musical practice?
  • How do music reception and criticism engage with the visionary?
  • How is the relationship between music and the visionary represented or theorized in works from other disciplines, such as literature, religion, philosophy, or visual art?

This event is supported by: the Department of Music; the University Conference Fund; the Office of the Vice-Dean Research, Scholarly and Artistic Work; the Role Model Speaker Fund; the Saskatchewan Arts Board; and the Strata Festival.

Odawa composer/musician Barbara Croall (Manidoo Mnissing, Giniw dodem) plays, performs, and composes on the pipigwan and for voice in the traditional Anishinaabe way. She also holds degrees and diplomas from Centre Acanthes (France), the Musikhochschule in Munich (Germany), The Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), and the University of Toronto where she received the Glenn Gould Award in Composition (1989). The child of a residential school survivor, Croall is also a direct descendant of hereditary chiefs who signed the major treaties in Ontario and who fought in major battles of the Indian Wars and War of 1812.

Blair Stonechild is a member of the Muscowpetung First Nation, attended Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School and Campion Collegiate, obtained his Bachelor’s degree from McGill, and Master’s and Doctorate degrees from University of Regina. In 1976 Blair joined the First Nations University of Canada, has been Dean of Academics and Executive Director of Development. Major publications include Loyal Till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion; The New Buffalo: Aboriginal Post-secondary Policy in Canada; Buffy Sainte-Marie: It’s My Way and The Knowledge Seeker: Embracing Indigenous Spirituality. He is currently working on Loss of Indigenous Eden and the Fall of Spirituality to be released in 2020.


Online registration for Music and the Visionary is now closed. To register, visit the Department of Music office in Room 1045.2, Education Building or come to the registration desk in the Education Building at the opening of the conference. Please note that we can only accept cash payments in exact change.

Registration fees are $100 for faculty and members of the public and $50 for students or part-time faculty.  



Friday, September 27th

12:45-1:00       Registration (Education 1036)

1:00-1:30         Greetings and Opening Remarks (Education 1033)

1:30-3:00         Embodiment and Apparition (Education 1033)

“Visions of Prayer: The Jewish Hazzan Between Tradition and Modernity,” Rachel Adelstein (Independent Scholar)

“Clavier Chaos: Clara Wieck, Corinne, and Sibylline Performance,” Amanda Lalonde (University of Saskatchewan)

 "Ghostly Transpositions: Post-War Shulammites Ignite the Song of Songs,” Heidi Epstein (St. Thomas More College)

3:00-3:30         Coffee Break (Education 1036)

3:30-5:00        Envisioning (Education 1033)

“Louis Jullien: A Visionary of Nineteenth-Century Conducting,” Jillian McLeod (University of Saskatchewan)

 “Eco-visionary Media: Imagination and Enchantment in Björk’s Biophilia and Utopia,” Laura Hunt (Emory University)

 “Iannis Xenakis and his Polytopes: Visionary Creations of Sound and Place,” James Harley (University of Guelph) 

5:30-7:15         Conference Dinner (University Club)

7:30-9:00         Invited Presentation and Concert (Quance Theatre, Education Building)


(Free and open to the public) 


Saturday, September 28th

9:30-11:15       Program and Absolute (Quance Theatre, Education Building)

Lecture-Recital: “Liszt as Visionary – Mysticism and Prophecy,” Mikolaj Warszynski (Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies, University of Alberta)

Vagues de(s) temps – (re)thinking in and through Debussy’s late chamber sonatas,” Gregory Marion (University of Saskatchewan)

“To Elysium: Tuning, Revelation, and Absolute Music in La Monte Young’s ‘Well-Tuned Piano,’” Nick Miskey (University of Victoria)

11:15-11:45     Coffee Break (Education Lounge 1005)

11:45-12:30     Invited Presentation (Quance Theatre, Education Building)

“Music: A Reflection of Worldview,” Blair Stonechild (First Nations University)

12:30-2:00       Lunch (Education Lounge 1005)

2:00-3:15         Ecstasy and Mysticism (Quance Theatre, Education Building)

“Theorizing Music and Ecstasy in the Later Middle Ages,” Elizabeth Lyon (Cornell University)

Lecture-Recital: “Scriabin’s Seventh Sonata – On the Path to the Mysterium,” Kathleen Solose (University of Saskatchewan)   

3:15-3:45         Coffee Break (Education Lounge 1005)

3:45-5:30         Visions of Nation and Identity (Quance Theatre, Education Building)

Lecture-Recital: “Visionary Anthems,” Morteza Abedinifard (University of Alberta) and Marco Katz Montiel (Editor, Palgrave Studies in Music and Literature)

“To Be Young, Gifted, and Black: A Look at the Visionary Activism Created by Black Female Musicians,” Amanda Eke (Syracuse University)

“Competing Models of Musical Visions: The Case of Louis Riel (1844-1885),” Colette Simonot-Maiello (University of Manitoba)

5:30                 Closing Remarks (Quance Theatre, Education Building)



A block of standard rooms (single- or double-occupancy) is being held at the Delta Bessborough Hotel at the rate of $129/night, plus taxes and parking fees (if applicable). This rate applies to 26-29 September and is available until 27 August. Please follow the link to book at the special conference rate.

Travelling to Saskatoon:

The closest airport to the University of Saskatchewan is Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport (YXE).

Flat rate taxi service is available from the airport to the Delta Bessborough Hotel ($20) and the University of Saskatchewan ($23). There is a taxi stand at the airport.

The Saskatoon Transit Route 11 Bus travels from the airport to downtown every 20-30 minutes during the day and hourly in the evening (less frequent service on weekends). The station on 23rd street is a 650 metre walk from the Delta Bessborough.

Getting Around Saskatoon:

By bus: Several Saskatoon Transit Buses, including the 6 Market Mall, 4/43 Evergreen, 4/44 Willowgrove, and 4/45 Arbor Creek are available near the Delta Bessborough and stop at Place Riel on campus, a 600-metre walk from the Department of Music (located in the Education Building). To return downtown, take the 6 Broadway or 4 City Centre. 

By foot: The walk from the Delta Bessborough Hotel to the Department of Music at the University of Saskatchewan (located in the Education Building) is a mostly scenic 2.5 km (1.6 miles), part of which runs along the Meewasin Trail.

By taxi: Taxi service is available from United Cabs (306-652-2222) and Comfort Cab (306-664-6464).

By car: Parking lot #4 is a pay lot close to the Department of Music (located in the Education Building). You can enter this lot from Education Road or Innovation Boulevard. The daily maximum charge per exit is $15 on weekdays and $5 on weekends. A map of campus parking is available here.

While you're in Saskatoon:

Located at River Landing, the Remai Modern art gallery specializes in contemporary art. You can tour through its eleven galleries or stop at the Canadian cuisine restaurant Shift.

The Meewasin Trail is a great way to take in the riverbank’s habitat while exploring Saskatoon as a pedestrian.

Whether you are looking to do some shopping or wanting to find a local bakery, Broadway is the place for you.  In this five-block district you can find the Broadway Theatre, restaurants, coffee shops, and unique stores.

See Saskatoon from a different perspective by taking a cruise on the Prairie Lily.