David Buley is Associate Professor of Music Education in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and enjoys his lengthy career of teaching classroom and private lessons in music, conducting choirs, accompanying for ballet companies and playing various instruments. He is a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ as well as Drew University. His career has included work as Music Director of The Windsor Classic Chorale, (Windsor, Ontario) The Couchiching Young Singers (Orillia, Ontario), Saint George’s Round Church (Halifax, Nova Scotia) as well as of the Acadia University Chorus and the Acadia Vocal Ensemble; Ariadne Women’s Chamber Choir of Sudbury, and the Young Sudbury Singers, and Octatonic Decadence— a group dedicated to exploring the widest range of a cappella music. A practitioner of Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Dr. Buley offers workshops in music education, choral music and vocal technique, as well the worship arts, and enjoys numerous adjudicating experiences. He loves making music and spends quite a bit of time singing outdoors with the largest choir on earth.
This interview has been edited for length and concision.
Annie Corrigan: Is your concert Too Sweet For Sleep really at 4:30am?! What will it feel like to play music that early in the morning (or late in the evening, depending on how you organize your day)?
David Buley: Yes, and actually people should arrive just after 4:00am — enjoy the quiet and darkness of the space. We will give the whole concert without any electric lighting, so as the concert unfolds, the cathedral space will simply fill with the natural light of the morning twilight and sunrise. (5:11am that day). By the end of the concert, (5:50am or so) we should all be able to see each other! As for playing music at that hour, I have found it to be the same as playing music at any other hour. I suppose because the music is still central. However, the difference is perhaps that the audience members, players, and also the sounds of the music are present in a somewhat different way — an acoustic and atmospheric way.
AC: What can we expect from your Sound Symposium performance?
DB: Various performers will be situated throughout the space. Some performers may even move through the space as they play. Some of the music will be set, composed works, (I hope that Murray Schafer, who turns 85 this year, will be featured for example), while some of the music will be improvised in connection with the darkness/natural light within the space. Beside the natural light show that will happen, I am keen to make use of this space because of the four-manual Casavant organ that is in the Cathedral. The instrument has some very intriguing acoustic possibilities that I will be exploring during the concert.
AC: Describe to our readers what eurhythmics is and how you use it in your choral conducting.
DB: Dalcroze Eurhythmics is a method of music education that was developed by the Swiss composer and pedagogue, Émile Jaques-Dalcroze. Jaques-Dalcroze wanted his students to deepen their abilities to communicate their music expressively, spontaneously, effectively and evocatively. He developed a comprehensive approach to exploring music through and in movement. Dalcroze practitioners guide their students in free-flowing movement that assists with feeling, hearing and creating music. I find that eurhythmics can assist groups to develop a communal understanding of pieces of music that they have explored through movement. Aspects of phrasing, nuances of dynamics, and articulation as well as tempo and accent can all be more fully understood through eurhythmics work. It’s also really fun!
AC: What role does performance play in your professional and personal life?
DB: I love to share my passions for various musics and am often able to do this through my music education work and play. As part of my ongoing musicianship development, I always want to keep my playing chops in place and creating performance experiences helps me do that. Thirdly, I enjoy, and am ennobled by learning with and from other musicians. And performance experiences with others is simply good for my soul!
David Buley At Sound Symposium XIX*
- Concert, Too Sweet For Sleep — Saturday, July 7 at 4:30am (Anglican Cathedral)
*Times and locations subject to change.