Alyssa Michaud, PhD (ABD), MA, BA, AA
PhD (ABD): McGill University
MA: University of Ottawa
BA: Ambrose University College
AA: Prairie Bible College
I am a musicologist specializing in the music, technology, and culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
As a researcher who keeps one foot in the world of music-making, my approach to teaching reflects my engagement with both the scholarly study of music and the active practice of performing. In my work within musicology, I study the intersection of live musical performance and automation technology, examining the impact of unpredictable and creative human users on the development of musical technologies such as the player piano, drum machines, and holographic singers. Prior to my arrival at Ambrose, I also served as the choir director at Peoples Church of Montreal for four years, guest directed choir and handbells in the Calgary area, and have maintained an active piano studio for most of my career.
I have recently presented my work on the player piano in the early twentieth century at the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies at Cornell University, and gave a paper on holographic performance media at the most recent congress of the International Musicological Society in Tokyo. My past research projects have centred on Canadian performers and the histories of failed musical instruments in Canada.
At Ambrose, I teach core music history, aural skills, and electives relating to music research. As an instructor, I am committed to equipping students to become versatile, lifelong contributors to their musical communities, whether they are participating in their churches, on concert stages, or as teachers, writers, and arts supporters working in other career fields.
When I set aside work on music-related endeavours, I play squash in the summer and ice hockey in the winter, love to cook, and am an avid sci-fi and tech fan.
Recent Conference Presentations
“Automating Musicianship: Amateur Pianists and the Player Piano, 1898–1920,” American Musicological Society National Conference, Rochester, NY, forthcoming 2017.
“The Amateur Musician in the Age of the Player Piano,” Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies, Ithaca, NY, May 2017.
“No One in the Spotlight: The Rise of Holographic Performance in the East and West,” International Musicological Society Quinquennial Congress, Tokyo, Japan, March 2017.
“`Fiction into Fact’: Uncovering the Lost History of the Robb Wave Organ,” Canadian University Music Society National Conference in conjunction with the Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Calgary, AB, May 2016.
“Listening to Vacuum Tubes: Divergent Reception Histories of Early Electronic Organs,” Columbia Music Scholarship Conference, New York, NY, February 2016.