I studied English literature, music, and German at the undergraduate level (University of Regina, Canada); linguistics at the graduate level (University of Toronto); classical ballet at the National Ballet School (Toronto); and “Baroque dance” under Elaine Biagi-Turner (Toronto).
I am an author of literary fiction, with a love of satire, rich plot, and linguistic invention. The latter are prominent features in my novel Outlaws (2017), a fast-paced coming-of-age tale in a picaresque vein set during the English Civil War. I have begun two further works: to wit, The Dwarf’s Head, a “multi-media” novel on the life of Ermanaric, the fourth-century Gothic king; and A Bone to Pick, a satiric novella set in tenth-century Anglo-Saxon England, dealing with a monk’s compromised attempt to buy a bone relic on behalf of a faltering monastery.
I am also a composer of mainly vocal music (song and chamber opera) in a style that has strong ties to music before 1800. I am working on a chamber opera based on the Grimms’ folktale Rumpelstiltskin, and have created a number of Gothic-language songs and orchestral miniatures for my novel in progress The Dwarf’s Head. A two-part a cappella version of one of these songs, “Baris Standiþ,” was recorded by Donna Greenberg (2017), and is the first of a number of musical pieces that will make up the projected CD album Music from The Dwarf’s Head.
I was an early-dance consultant for the Toronto-based company Ballet Espressivo 2003-2008, and was appointed Adjunct Professor of Dance at York University (Toronto) in 2005, in recognition of my contribution to early-dance research (The Styles of Eighteenth-Century Ballet 2003). My extensive research into early-ballet technique will ultimately be published in a projected multi-volume work The Technique of Eighteenth-Century Ballet.
I am keenly interested in early Germanic languages (esp. Gothic and Old English) and blog mostly about aspects of Old English. I have had published both scholarly articles on elder-futhark runology, as well as Gothic-language translations of children’s stories. I am particularly interested in the literary use of a “constructed” form of English employing words of mainly Germanic origin, either living or resuscitated, or coinages based on the same (cf. the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and the linguistic invention of William Barnes).
Most Beloved Works
LITERATURE: Das Nibelungenlied, Grettis saga, Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Gulliver’s Travels, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Hamlet, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Lady of Shalott.
OPERA: Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, M.A. Charpentier’s Actéon, Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Rameau’s Les Indes galantes, John Blow’s Venus and Adonis, Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera.
INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC: “Nimrod” from Elgar’s The Enigma Variations, Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll and overture to Die Meistersinger, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Rebel’s Les caractères de la danse, Dauvergne’s Concerts de simphonies.