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Jazz and world music with three new professors

The musics of Cuba and Brazil and jazz are ringing out at the Faculty of Music! Discover the jazz and world music major in the company of Luc Boivin, Julián Gutiérrez and Manoel Vieira, new visiting professors.


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An innovative program

Since September 2021, the Faculty of Music has been offering a new jazz and world music major. This specialization allows students to deepen and expand both their knowledge and their performance of styles and genres in Brazilian and Cuban music. Through jazz, students normally come into contact with musics of the world, notably Latin musics. Nevertheless, according to Julián Gutiérrez, Manoel Vieira and Luc Boivin, three new Faculty visiting professors involved in this study discipline, “the contact remains quite superficial, even like a caricature, the more so in that rarely are these musics taught in a university setting.” This program is a wonderful opportunity available to students now, and the birth of this major can only be welcomed with enthusiasm.


At the heart of the program, three artist-educators from Brazil, Canada and Cuba

A graduate of the UdeM Faculty of Music in classical percussion, Luc Boivin studied Latin and Iberian percussions with well-known musicians in the United States, Havana and Spain. Very much a presence on the music scene as a performer, Luc Boivin is music director of a number of stage productions and television programs: Belle et Bum, Beau et chaud, La Symphonie du Nouveau Monde. For over 30 years he has taught Latin percussion at Université du Québec à Montréal, and in 2018 he was honored by the Ralph Angelillo International Drum Fest in recognition of his career as a whole.

Of Cuban origin, Julián Gutiérrez, pianist, guitarist and singer, earned a master’s degree in jazz performance from Université de Sherbrooke and a doctorate in music from Université Laval. Well-versed in different musical styles – Latin music, jazz and traditional Québec music – Julián Gutiérrez composed and conducted the music on the last two albums of the band Habana Café as well as for a number of documentaries, two of which were rewarded with prizes for best music: at the CinePlaza Festival, and the Premio Caracol from UNEAC (National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba). He has lectured and led masterclasses at several Canadian universities.

The holder of a master’s in classical piano from the Federal University of Bahia, in Brazil, Manoel Vieira has also done doctoral studies in jazz piano at Université Laval. On the strength of that double training, he performs as soloist, piano accompanist, arranger and music producer both in Brazil and in Canada. Classical music, jazz and popular music all figure in his repertoire. He has taught piano at different conservatories and universities in his native Brazil. Currently he works in various Québec schools of music.


An outline of the program

Through the major in jazz and world music, students will explore the basic elements of the Cuban and Brazilian musical languages, not only by way of individual and group practice on different instruments but also through analysis of scores – the aim being to assimilate the rhythmic, harmonic and melodic formulas.

Regarding the music of Cuba, Julián Gutiérrez invites students to discover and study such styles as changüí, danzón, cha-cha-cha, rumba and salsa or timba, while Luc Boivin will shape his teaching around the Cuban music son, with a detailed study of its rhythms. As for Manoel Vieira, he hopes to take his students on a trip through the different regions of Brazil thanks to the samba, the choro, the bossa nova, the frevo, the baião, the maracatú and rhythms of African origin from the state of Bahia. In addition, well-known artists in jazz and Latin popular music will be giving masterclasses.

Beyond the practical aspect, an important component of the program is devoted to a sociohistorical approach to the various styles taught, to the cultural context that gave birth to them and to their evolution over time. Additionally, a course on percussion in the world will make it possible to address the migration of rhythms from Africa, the Caribbean, South America and North America – a course that Luc Boivin recommends as much to performers as to students in ethnomusicology.


Solid and diversified credentials

A through knowledge of world music, acquisition of theoretical and practical versatility, and the capacity to perform different musical styles are all undeniable assets. Students will be in a position to assimilate the elements of traditional languages in order to transpose them to a more modern and personal language as part of a composition, an arrangement or an improvisation. Any number of opportunities are offered for learners to stimulate and develop their creativity.

The major in jazz and world music is already attracting the interest of South American performers settled in Montreal. Some of them, who have contacted Luc Boivin, suggest sharing their musical traditions with teachers and students. Productive exchanges are in store!