Patrick Nickleson, PhD, MA, BA

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts - Music Dept

Pronouns: he, him, his;


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts - Music Dept
3–42C Arts Building (Main & Conv Hall)
113 St and 91 Ave
Edmonton AB
T6G 2E6



I joined the University of Alberta as Assistant Professor of Musicology in 2022. Prior to that I had worked as an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Music at University College Dublin, a postdoctoral Research Associate in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University (Kingston), and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music History at Mount Allison University. I completed my PhD in musicology at the University of Toronto in 2017. My research focuses on unfounded claims of authorial propriety on sound recordings, across a number of genres, musical ontologies, and historical periods.


My current research project is “Caring for Our Ancestors,” funded by a SSHRC Connections grant in collaboration with Dylan Robinson (UBC). As a settler historian, I work collectively with several Indigenous artists and performers on projects reconnecting kinship relations with Indigenous life incarcerated in museums and archives. Alongside the performances, research trips, and ancestor visits undertaken by the group, I am working on a book project on experimental music and art within long histories of dispossession under settler-colonial institutions of copyright, authorship, intellectual property, museums, and music schools.

My graduate training and most of my publications to date have focused on musical minimalism, its authorial disputes, its polciing by musicologists, and its indistinct status as an art music. These include my monograph The Names of Minimalism: Authorship, Art Music, and Historiography in Dispute (University of Michigan Press in 2023), and  articles in Twentieth Century Music and Journal of the Royal Musical Association which challenge, through published transcriptions and bootleg tapes respectively, minimalism's status as an art music. I am also closely involved in the work of Jacques Rancière, including as co-editor of Rancière and Music, and as translator of his essays "Afterword: A Distant Sound" (in Rancière and Music) and “Autonomy and Historicism: the False Alternative” (in Perspectives of New Music).


I aspire to entangle my research with my teaching as much as possible. I am very interested in anti-colonial curricular reform in music studies, and in working with non-majors from across disciplines on critical listening and writing practice. I would be very keen to work with graduate students on any areas of contemporary experimental and popular musics, music and philosophy, poetics of (music) history, and in Indigenous, radical, and critical thought in their many relations to sound, art, and music.


MUSIC 284 - Western Art Music, 1800-Present

A study of music history and culture in the West from circa 1800 to the present, exploring social, stylistic, material and intellectual perspectives with attention to listening, score reading, research, critical thinking, and communication skills. Prerequisite: MUSIC 186 or consent of the department. Not available to students with credit in MUSIC 282.

MUSIC 314 - Music in Canada

The history of First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and settler musics in Canada from the sixteenth-century to the present. Prerequisite: One of MUSIC 101, 102, 103, or 186, or consent of the department.

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Featured Publications

Patrick Nickleson

University of Michigan Press. 2023 January;

Patrick Nickleson

Journal of the Royal Musical Association. 2022 October; 147 (2)

Patrick Nickleson

Rancière and Music. 2020 January;

Patrick Nickleson, Jeremy Strachan

University of Toronto Quarterly. 2018 January; 87 (4)

Patrick Nickleson

Twentieth Century Music. 2017 September; 14 (3):361–389

Patrick Nickleson

Intersections. 2016 January; 36 (2):13–26

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