Photo of James McGowan

James McGowan

Associate Professor; Supervisor of Performance Studies

Degrees:B.Mus. (Composition, Toronto), M.Mus. (Composition, Toronto), M.M. (Music Theory, North Texas), Ph.D. (Theory, Eastman), A.R.C.T. (Piano Performance)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 3735
Office:A818 Loeb Building

James McGowan is a music theorist, pianist, choral conductor, and composer. Dr. McGowan teaches music theory, musicianship, composition, and community music. He was the recipient of Favourite Faculty awards (including 2017 and 2018), Carleton New Faculty Excellence in University Teaching Award (2013), a Carleton Teaching Achievement Award (2013), a Carleton University Student Association Teaching Excellence Award (2012), and MSU Teaching Award for Humanities (2007, McMaster University).

His primary research and research creation involve the theory, and analysis of tonal jazz and popular music, as well as 18th- and 19th-century art music. His work has been published in Jazz Perspectives, Journal of Jazz Studies, Intégral, Discourses in Music, Proceedings of The Phenomenon of Singing International Symposium V and CAML Review, with other research forthcoming. He was accepted as a Fellow of the prestigious Mannes Institute for the Advanced Study of Music Theory (2008). He is currently the editor of the Jazz Theory Bibliography, searchable online database, affiliated with the Society for Music Theory, Jazz-Interest Group.

As a pianist, he specializes in improvised musics, and has performed in Canada, the United States, and Europe. In recent years, he has released three albums as co-leader: Two Intents with Modasaurus (a jazz-fusion quartet that performs Dr. McGowan’s compositions and includes Carleton performance instructors and alumni, the HML Trio), Songs from the Bridge with EvenSong (a jazz-gospel quintet, funded in part by a grant from the United Church of Canada), and Over the Mountain (improvised music with percussionist Dong-Won Kim, who performs with Yo-yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble). He also performs throughout Ottawa as a jazz and collaborative pianist.

As a choral conductor, Dr. McGowan has directed several choirs including the Carleton University Choir, Carleton Advanced Choral Ensemble, Trinity United Choir (Ottawa), Laurentian University Choir, and McMaster Vocal Ensemble. He is an award-winning composer and songwriter for voice, choir, chamber ensemble, orchestra, electronic music, and jazz combos. He has also collaborated as a choral arranger for many artists including Ian Tamblyn, Allister MacGillivray, Jeff Wiseman, and Kalle Mattson.

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