Paul Sanden

Associate Professor
Faculty of Fine Arts

Fine Arts

Research expertise

While his primary teaching area is the history of art music, Dr. Sanden has also taught several courses on theory and performance topics, and on the history and analysis of popular music.

This diversity in the classroom is reflective of Dr. Sanden's scholarship, which draws from several disciplines and musical traditions. A foundational basis in the practices of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and particularly in issues of contemporary performance, has led to a research approach that incorporates aspects of traditional Western musicology, popular music studies, performance studies, and media theory, among other disciplines. Much of his work examines the concept of live music, and the various ways that concept has been reconfigured by recent employments of electronic technologies in several musical practices. This research has been presented in a book titled Liveness in Modern Music: Musicians, Technology, and the Perception of Performance (Routledge, 2013), and most recently in a chapter on liveness in The Cambridge Companion to Music in Digital Culture (Cambridge UP, 2019).

A recent SSHRC Insight Development Grant allowed him to begin work on his newest large-scale research project, which examines the role of recording and broadcast technologies in the career of Glenn Gould, with a special focus on the relationship between Gould and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Two book chapters on Gould’s radio documentaries will be published from this work in the coming months, one in a book dedicated to the career and legacy of longtime CBC Radio producer John P.L. Roberts (Cambridge Scholars Press), and another in a book dedicated to Gould’s The Idea of North (publisher tbd).

As his academic career has developed, Paul has also maintained a close connection to his performance roots. He has performed as principal flutist of the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra and was a founding member of the University of Lethbridge Faculty Wind Quintet. For three years (2008-2011), he was also the conductor of the McMaster University Flute Ensemble. As a performer, as in his scholarship, he has a deep interest in music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and has been involved in the premiere performances of several new works.


Music History, Music in Digital Culture, Glenn Gould