About Jeff

My blog remains on this site, but my personal website has moved here.

I am Professor of Music and Humanities at Quest University Canada in Squamish, British Columbia. My book, Music and Ethical Responsibility, is published by Cambridge University Press. The book examines how musical experience creates encounters with other people that leads to ethical responsibilities. My main research interests include music and ethics, musical improvisation, meaning in music, soundscape, modern European philosophy, and psychology. I also do creative work including jazz composition, performance on double bass, and sound installations. One of my current research projects is called The Ethics of Timbre, which is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Other recent work includes a sound sculpture commissioned for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. I have also done consulting in interdisciplinary and general education curriculum design. My PhD is in music and philosophy from Royal Holloway, University of London. Before moving to Quest in 2013, I spent nine years at Trinity Western University, where I continue with the title of Adjunct Professor of Music and Interdisciplinary Arts.

2013 headshot

I’ve taught all sorts of different courses, including: popular music history, 20th century art music history and analysis, ear training, foundational and capstone courses in interdisciplinary issues in the arts, jazz combo, and travel studies to London and Paris. In my tenure in TWU’s School of the Arts, Media and Culture I ran annual interdisciplinary conferences and was the founding editor of the academic journal “Verge: A jounal of the arts and Christian faith”.

I grew up in Ottawa, ON. Music was a part of my life early on, and my dad sang in a semi-professional choral group. After mixed experiences with the piano and trumpet, I picked up the bass guitar at age 15 for the reason most bass players get started: I wanted to start a band and I was the worst guitar player among my friends. That band eventually found its way on to a record small label in Kingston, ON. That group’s future was cut short for schooling, as I traveled across the country to study the double bass at Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C. I also played varsity volleyball, and after receiving his BA, I was offered to come and play a fifth year of volleyball. During that year I started an interdisciplinary MA in Religion, Culture, and Ethics. After completing that degree, I had the opportunity to teach and remained at TWU for nine years. Once I figured out that I enjoyed researching and writing about music as much as playing it, I decided to do a PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London in music and philosophy. I studied with Andrew Bowie and Nicholas Cook and my thesis title was “Musical Experience and Human Relationships: Meaning, Improvisation, and Ethics in Music”.

My applied musical work is quite varied, from studio session work to a new country band to the West Coast Symphony the nuevo flamenco group De La Terra. Jazz is the genre I perform most at present. At TWU I built and directed the jazz combo program. In the past few years I have spent more time on creating sound installations for art galleries. Details of my recent work are on my website. Over the past ten years I have also taught private lessons in my home studio, TWU, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University on double and electric bass, guitar, music theory, history, and composition.

Jeff in one of my few gigs on the guitar

I currently reside in Squamish, British Columbia with my wife, two daughters, and a little dog. I like to pretend I surf, but it is hard to really be a surfer when you only go a couple times a year. I broke my board the last time I surfed. Now that I live in Squamish I’m learning to mountain bike, an apparent requisite of living here.

You can take a look at a short version of my curriculum vitae here. There are also links to some of my publications.

You can view my Quest University faculty bio here.

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2 thoughts on “About Jeff

  1. Felicia Kruse Alexander (Visiting Scholar, Department of Philosophy, Southern Illinois University Carbondale) says:

    I just received notice of your new book from CUP and am looking forward to reading it. My own current research is in philosophy of music–I work on issues pertaining to musical meaning and emotion, and I’ve just begun to write on performance practice issues (so I’m familiar with some of Nicholas Cook’s writings. My work is rooted mostly in John Dewey’s aesthetics and Peirce’s semiotic theory. Your appropriation of Levinas sounds very promising. Are you familiar with Kathleen Higgins’ two books–_The Music of Our Lives_ (Lexington Books, 2nd ed. 2011) and _The Music Between Us_ (U of Chicago Press, 2012)? If not, I think you may find in them a kindred spirit.

    1. Thanks for your message and your interest in my book. Your research areas sound interesting. As for Higgins, I interact with a bit of her work briefly in a couple sections of the book.

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