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Colleen Renihan

A member of Dan School of Drama & Music

Colleen Renihan

Associate Professor and Queen’s National Scholar (on leave until June 30 2023)


Dr. Colleen Renihan joined the DAN School of Drama and Music as Assistant Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in 2016. She earned a B. Mus. in Vocal Performance from the University of Manitoba, an Artist Diploma in Opera Performance from the Vancouver Academy of Music, and an MA and PhD in Musicology at the University of Toronto in 2011 with generous funding support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Her dissertation Sounding the Pastwas a finalist for the Society for American Music’s Housewright Dissertation Award.

Dr. Renihan’s research considers aspects of contemporary opera and operatic culture in Canada and the United States through various interdisciplinary lenses. Her work considers the intersections of opera and music theatre with cultural politics, popular culture, performance studies, temporality, memory theory, intermediality (specifically film), and historiography. Dr. Renihan has presented her research at academic conferences in Canada, the United States, and Europe, including chapter and national meetings of the American Musicological Society. Her work has been published in a variety of edited collections and journals, including, most recently, the journals twentieth century musicThe Journal of the Society for American Music;Music, Sound, and the Moving Image; and University of Toronto Quarterly. Dr. Renihan has also authored chapters in several edited collections on opera. Dr. Renihan’s monograph, The Operatic Archive: American Opera as History is forthcoming as the newest volume in Ashgate’s Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera series (Routledge, 2020). A second book project examines generic innovation in opera in Canada between 1970-2000.

Dr. Renihan is committed to critical pedagogy and care-full pedagogy. She has taught previously at The University of Toronto, Western University, Mount Allison University, and The University of Guelph. Dr. Renihan was recognized in 2019 with the Queen’s Teaching Award for Music, in 2012 and 2014 by the Mount Allison University Music Student’s Association Council as “Professor of the Year,” and as a 2012 recipient of a Teaching Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from Western University. She has most recently been a participant in the EnLITE certification program at the University of Guelph where she began an ongoing project on the role of affect in the music classroom, and has been exploring enquiry-based learning models in her classes. She has a keen interest in the pedagogical possibilities for digital technology in the classroom, and is a recent graduate of the Digital Storytelling class at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria. She has published on her use of the Twine platform to teach students about the limits and potential of narrative models for music analysis, and uses several other technological interventions in her teaching. Most recently, she was the recipient of a Teaching and Learning Enhancement Grant at Queen’s University, with which she designed and directed a micro-internship component in her Opera Performance course. Dr. Renihan is currently at work on a co-edited collection Sound Pedagogy: Radical Care and Social Justice for Students in Musicwith Dr. John Spilker (Nebraska-Wesleyan University) and Dr. Trudi Wright (Regis University). This collection seeks to explore the multiple dimensions and tensions inherent in a care-based pedagogical approach in the higher education music classroom.

Dr. Renihan is currently at work on two large collaborative research projects. She is co-PI with Dr. Julia Brook on a SSHRC Institutional Grant that explores the work of music graduates in Canada’s eight cultural industries. Drs. Renihan and Brook are also co-PIs on a SSHRC and CFI-funded project that explores accessible and inclusive music theatre creation models for senior citizens and children with exceptionalities.