Award-winning composer Melody McKiver will teach at School of Music

August 6, 2021

A person wearing sunglasses plays a viola with a body of water behind them
Melody McKiver is the new Assistant Professor of Composition in BU's School of Music.

Award-winning musician and composer Melody McKiver (they/them pronouns) has been hired on a tenure-track appointment as Assistant Professor of Composition in Brandon University’s (BU’s) School of Music.

Starting this fall, McKiver will teach undergraduate and graduate courses in Composition. From Sioux Lookout, Ont., Treaty #3, within their homelands of Wemitigoozhiiwitigwaaning/Lac Seul First Nation, McKiver is an Anishinaabe (Ojibwe/Lithuanian/Scottish; Mashkode Bizhiki dodem/Buffalo clan) violist and recipient of the 2020 Robert Fleming Prize, awarded annually by the Canada Council of the Arts to an exceptionally talented young Canadian composer. Their work expands on traditional Anishinaabe composition by integrating electronics and Western classical music.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know the faculty and students at such a highly-regarded School of Music,” McKiver said.

“I hope to encourage students to develop their own creative voices while reflecting critically upon the wider social context of our musical works.”

McKiver holds a Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology from Memorial University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from York University. They were also a participant in the Banff Centre of the Arts’ inaugural Indigenous Classical Music Gathering.  As a collaborative violist, McKiver has shared stages with Polaris Prize winners Lido Pimienta, Tanya Tagaq, and Jeremy Dutcher, and performed with acclaimed filmmaker and musician Alanis Obomsawin. Recent composition commissions have included a chamber trio for Carnegie Mellon University, a string quartet for Soundstreams and Jumblies Theatre, and a sound piece for MaerzMuzik — Festival for Time in Berlin. Currently, McKiver is working in the studio developing their next solo album.

A person dances in ceremonial Indigenous dress

Melody McKiver was the 2020 recipient of the Robert Fleming Prize for young Canadian composers.

The quality of McKiver’s artistry is already well known in the School of Music. Their performances and compositions were featured at the BU Indigenous New Music Festival in 2020.

“Melody is a rising star in Canadian music, and we are thrilled to have them join us at Brandon University,” said Greg Gatien, BU’s Dean of Music. “Melody’s knowledge of traditional Indigenous and Western music, as well as current trends in new music, is going to be a fantastic resource for our students. I think they’re going to enjoy getting to know Melody and learning from the experiences that they have to share.”