Rena Sharon

School of Music

Rena Sharon is a pianist who is one of Canada’s leading collaborative performing artists and piano chamber musicians. She also stands out as one who is deeply interested in knowing what science can offer to an understanding of creative processes and her personal commitment to the relevance of music to the widest range of human conditions and endeavours. She is collaborating with lawyers to explore the keys found in music making that open doors to better interactions between people dealing with differences that require mediation and conciliation. Dr. Sharon is also working with neuroscientists on the theory that what is being learned in the study of the brain gains much from how the process of music making can be tracked to reveal unusual combinations of neural pathways. 

Recently she founded and now directs the Vancouver International Song Institute, a multidisciplinary entity with an annual festival committed to exploring all aspects of texts and musics of the song literature, and how the study and performance of song literature serves the human need to connect one to another.

Dr. Sharon received her undergraduate degree in Music from the Eastman School of Music and her Master of Music in Piano Performance at Indiana University. She taught at the Department of Music, Oklahoma State University, and at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, where she was Head of Collaborative Music before taking up her UBC appointment in 1982. In 2007, she led a Wall Exploratory Workshop, Art Song Anima.

Primary Recipient Awards

Distinguished Scholars in Residence, Rena Sharon, 2011

Rena Sharon

Dr. Sharon is planning a series of meetings at the Institute to begin identifying problems of image, perception, translation, and communication within the ranks of artist faculty. She hopes this will lead to a more formal workshop to consider ways of including artists in the expanding global interdisciplinary dialogue.

Her Scholar in Residence presentation, "Art Song - An Endangered Species?" was given on January 25, 2012.

Exploratory Workshops, Rena Sharon, 2007

Rena Sharon

This workshop was held Jun 20-23, 2007.

Song, the joining of verbal language with the language of pitched frequencies, is a fundamental mode of human expressivity and experiential archive. Its ubiquity suggests a primeval universal instinct with an enigmatic purposefulness. The familiarity of song as part of the social fabric is so natural as to appear unremarkable, and its diminutive structure can suggest insubstantiality. Rather, it comprises an immense store of information in a densely concentrated package: its role as aural chronicle is self-evident, with avenues for humanities studies from philosophy to anthropology, but song is also a container for information about human communication, cognition and neuroscience. Documented therapeutic applications in healthcare scenarios with Alzheimers patients offer intriguing examples of its efficacy and raise questions as to its deeper structure of meaning and usefulness to the brain and well-being.

Co-principal Investigator Awards

International Visiting Research Scholars, William Thompson, 2019

William Thompson