Retired Faculty

Retired faculty from SFU School for the Contemporary Arts.

Santa Aloi

Professor Emerita, Dance

Areas: Dance, choreography.

Santa Aloi’s career as a contemporary dance choreographer, performer and teacher, began in New York City with Gus Solomons Company and Zena Rommett. It continued for 30 years in Canada where, with Iris Garland, she was co-designer of the Dance Major program at Simon Fraser University. She directed Transitions Dance Company at the Laban Centre in London, and has choreographed and performed as Artist in Residence in England, France, China, and throughout North America. Her collaborative work with fellow School for the Contemporary Arts faculty characterized much of her career at SFU.

As Professor Emerita she continues to teach and to choreograph in the community, with particular interest in combining tap, contemporary dance and theatre. Santa Aloi’s long service to dance and the community includes her present position as member of the Dancer Transition Resource Centre’s national Board of Directors, six years as Chair of the Vancouver Dance Centre Board, service as a director of the Dance Foundation Board among others, teaching seniors movement at the Roundhouse in Vancouver and on Pender Island, as well as advising community groups and individuals.

Colin Browne

Professor Emeritus, Film

Areas: Documentary and innovative film production, poetry, writing for the screen, poetics, critical writing, art history, Surrealism, the ceremonial art of the NW Coast and Alaska, opera, fiction, interdisciplinary performance, British Columbia and Canadian film history, documentary film history, archival film and film archives.

Colin Browne's films have been invited to national and international festivals. His has been nominated for the Governor-General's Award for Poetry; his recent books include Ground Water, The Shovel and The Properties, all from Talonbooks. He has made films for the NFB, is co-founder of the Praxis Centre for Screenwriters and is active in the preservation and conservation of archival film. He serves on the boards of B.C. Film, the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Kootenay School of Writing and The Capilano Review. He taught production, screenwriting, critical writing and courses in Canadian and documentary cinema.

Martin Gotfrit

Professor Emeritus


Areas: Music (improvisation, performance, electro-acoustics), Film (soundtrack related), Theatre (sound design, music), New Media (Interactive systems, installations, theatre).

Often collaborates with other musicians as well as artists from other disciplines such as dance, theatre, film/video, new media and installation art. His work has been presented both locally and internationally. An avid improviser and multi-instrumentalist, he is active in several local music ensembles.

Born Montreal, Quebec. Resident of Vancouver since 1977. Married with two children.

BA Music and Film Joint Major, Concordia University 1974
MA Communications, McGill University 1977

Rob Groeneboer

Senior Lecturer

P: 778.782.4262

Areas: Directing; editing; screenplay; film production

Film and Video maker. Written and directed several short films and videos which have been screened internationally. Teaches all aspects of film production.

Patricia Gruben

Associate Professor

P: 778-782-5982

Areas: Screenwriting; directing; story editing; Canadian and Indian cinema.

Patricia Gruben is a filmmaker, Associate Professor of Film and Director of Praxis Centre for Screenwriters. She has written and directed several experimental narrative shorts (The Central Character, Sifted Evidence), two dramatic features (Low Visibility, Deep Sleep) and a feature-length documentary (Ley Lines), which have been screened internationally in cinemas, on television, and at numerous festivals including Toronto, Sundance, New York and Edinburgh. Patricia also works as a script consultant and screenwriter, and has published several articles and book chapters on Canadian filmmakers, screenplay structure, and adaptation. She teaches screenwriting; directing and acting for film; film studies; and is Director of the SFU Field School in Art & Culture of Contemporary India. Her play The Secret Doctrine and installation The Veil of Nature were produced in Vancouver in 2013.

Barry Hegland

Senior Lecturer

P: 778.828.8036

Areas: Production and Design: Lighting design, stage design, production techniques, performance in found spaces, non-conventional lighting sources and techniques, design for opera.

I am a Lighting designer for theatre, dance, and opera, and have designed lighting for numerous Vancouver contemporary dance companies including Jumpstart, Kinesis Dance, Jennifer Mascall Dance and Judith Marcuse. Lighting for opera and theatre includes works produced by the Vancouver New Music Society Turning Point Ensemble,Touchstone Theatre, Square Planet Productions, and Illinois Opera Theatre. Barry teaches middle and upper division courses in stage production, lighting and stage design, and production practicums.

Gary Harris

Senior Lecturer, Theatre Production and Design

Areas: Set and Lighting Design, Arts Administration.

Gary brough his expertise garnered over years as a professional Production Manager, Stage Manager, Technical Director, and Scenic and Lighting Designer to his role as Production and Design Faculty with the School for the Contemporary Arts. He continues to be involved in the greater theatre and dance community, while mentoring students in the School as they prepare for their futures working in the arts.


Rudolf Komorous

Retired Faculty, Music

Rudolf Komorous was born December 8, 1931 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Komorous studied bassoon and later composition at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. In 1957, he won First Prize in the prestigious Concours International d’Exécution Musicale in Geneva. As a result, he was invited to the Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where he taught bassoon and chamber music from 1959-61. Upon his return home, he became principal bassoon in the Prague Opera Orchestra, and co-founded Musica Viva Pragensis. Quickly gaining recognition as one of the premier ensembles in the world for the performance of modern music, Musica Viva Pragensis toured and made recordings in radio studios all over Europe up to 1968.

Komorous' involvement with the Czech avant-garde in the 1950s and '60s led to a close association with painters and sculptors. This circle, known as the "Smidra Group", was influenced by Dada and Surrealism. Their motto was the "aesthetics of the wonderful" through which common materials could be transformed into something sublime, mysterious or even magical. Komorous’s compositions of the mid-1960’s were radically innovative within a minimalist aesthetic. Here his experience with Chinese aesthetics played a part, as well as the influence of American composers such as Morton Feldman. His 1965 composition The Tomb of Malevich, of 1965, was the first electronic piece publicly presented in Czechoslovakia, and also the first electronic piece released by Supraphon on gramophone record. A number of his works from this period were published by Universal Edition, Vienna; they were performed at festivals such as the Venice Biennale, Warsaw Autumn, Donaueschingen, and Prague Spring. Other important works from this period that begin to show his later interests in melody and harmony include Gloomy Grace, York, and his unaccompanied opera Lady Whiterose. This opera has later been performed Buffalo, New York, Montreal, and Victoria.

In 1969 Komorous emigrated with his family to Canada, following the Soviet invasion of his country. After teaching for two years at Macalester College in St.Paul, Minnesota, in 1971 he joined the faculty of the School of Music at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. There he founded the Electronic Music Studio and later became the Director of the School. From 1989 until 1994 he served as Director of the School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, retiring to Victoria in 1996.

Upon his arrival in Canada, Rudolf Komorous developed an instant affinity for the west coast, and there was a dramatic flowering of his composition. In the early seventies, Komorous began a series of daring works for unusual combinations of instruments, juxtaposing musics of different styles and sometimes quoting or referencing music ranging from the baroque to boogie-woogie, waltz or jazz. His Preludes for 13 early instruments (1974) and Rossi (1975) are two extraordinary examples. Rossi received a number of performances including by New Music Concerts in Toronto and was later recorded by the Vancouver New Music Ensemble on Centrediscs records.

Komorous’s extensive catalogue of compositions written since the mid-seventies include works for orchestra (5 Sinfonies, including No.2, “The Canadian”), a large variety of works for solo instruments and chamber ensembles, and several choral works and songs. His opera No No Miya was commissioned by Vancouver New Music and premiered in 1989 with Judith Forst in the solo role. The opera was later mounted by Tapestry Music Theatre in Toronto and at the New Opera Days Ostrava festival. Many of his vocal and choral works utilize texts of early Chinese poets. These include his major work Vermillion Dust for chorus and orchestra (1980) based on poetry of Li Shang-yin and his 23 Poems about Horses (1978/85) for narrator and ensemble utilizing poetry of Li-Ho. The latter work was recorded by Vancouver New Music with Martin Bartlett, narrator. Other significant pieces of the last decade include his Lurid Bride (2000) recorded by Turning Point Ensemble on a complete disc of his work entitled Strange Sphere and Wu (2002/3), an hour long work for solo piano performed and recorded by Eve Egoyan.  Recent works include the opera The Mute Canary (2018), Stone House, written for soprano Cathy Lewis and his 85th birthday concert, and Minx (2010) written for and premiered by the Turning Point Ensemble.

The compositions of Rudolf Komorous since the mid-seventies have focused on his interests in original approaches to melody and harmony, also exhibiting eclectic associations including Japanese Noh theatre, jazz (Thelonious Monk and Hoagy Carmichael), and mannerism in art and poetry of the high Italian renaissance. For those who have interpreted his work as moving back to tradition, Komorous counters that he has remained avant-garde or looking forward: “Art goes on, and today the New Music is a historical term. Music has had to keep on moving in some direction and in my view the path forward is that we need to discover how to compose and invent melodies that are not pre-New Music but post-New Music.”

The body of work of Rudolf Komorous is substantial and distinctive, and interest in his work is growing on a national and international level. In 2000, he was a featured composer in the Vancouver International New Music Festival, and important articles on Rudolf Komorous have been recently written including on the edge – after Rudolf Komorous by Martin Arnold (MusicWorks magazine 2004), and The Composer Rudolf Komorous by Renata Spisarova (Czech Music 2006), and Rudolf Komorous and the ‘aesthetic of the strange’ (The Globe and Mail 2010). In addition to the two all Komorous discs already mentioned, recordings of his work have been made by groups such as ArrayMusic in Toronto, pianist Eve Egoyan and the guitarist William Beauvais. In Montreal, kore ensemble mounted a concert in his honour in 2003, and Quatuor Bozzini has performed his work on many occasions. Komorous' music has been performed internationally by numerous ensembles and soloists including: Ostrava New Music Days, Agon, The Netherlands Radio Orchestra, and the SWF-Sinfonieorchester.

Komorous is retired and lives in Victoria, B.C.

DD Kugler

Professor Emeritus

P: 778.782.4688

Areas: Dramaturgy & Directing & Playmaking.

DD Kugler, a Vancouver-based freelance dramaturg/director in theatre and dance, was the first Canadian president of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA, 2000-02); in 2011 LMDA presented Kugler the Lessing Award for Career Achievement. Kugler served eight seasons as Production Dramaturg with Toronto’s Necessary Angel Theatre (1985-93), and five seasons as Artistic Director of Edmonton’s Northern Light Theatre (1993-98). He adapted Marc Diamond’s Property, and (in collaboration with Richard Rose) co-authored Newhouse, as well as the adaptations of Michael Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter, and Timothy Findley’s Not Wanted on the Voyage.  

Kugler has taught in the Theatre Area of the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University since 1998, with a primary research focus on dramaturgy in theatre and dance, and writing about dramaturgy; in 2010 he received one of the three SFU Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas

Jacqueline Levitin

Associate Professor

Areas: Women and film; film theory and production; women, poverty and the media; third world film and women.

Dr. Jacqueline Levitin is a filmmaker and film historian. She is the co-editor of Women Filmmakers: Refocusing (2003), a collection of new writing by women filmmakers, critics and theorists. Her films and videos range from short experimental works to documentary and fiction features and live video collaborations with dancers and theatre performers. Building Bridge: a Housing Project for Women (2003) brings her early work in ethnographic documentary and participatory-style filmmaking to the exploration of ethical issues in imaging the poor and drug-addicted of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Her latest film, the experimental documentary Mahjong & Chicken Feet (2008), uses her family's history in Harbin, China to explore memory and history and the relations of China and her others. As an historian-critic, Jacqueline Levitin's special focus has been on women filmmakers, genre film, and national schools of filmmaking. She has lectured in Beijing, Chongqing and Shanghai and is an Associate Professor in both the School for the Contemporary Arts and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies departments at Simon Fraser University.

David MacIntyre

Professor Emeritus, Music Composition

Areas: Music Composition, Interdisciplinary Composition and Collaboration.

Composer/Professor Emeritus David MacIntyre joined SFU faculty in 1979 when he co-founded the program in contemporary music. He has served as Graduate Program Chair for three terms and is a strong advocate of the School's interdisciplinary mission. As a composer with a specialty in music for the stage and interdisciplinary performance, Prof. MacIntyre has a extensive catalog spanning forty years that includes opera, music theatre, cabaret, choral, orchestral, chamber and vocal music, site-specific projects and collaborations in theatre, dance, and visual art.

B. Mus (with distinction) University of Victoria 1975
M. Mus University of Victoria 1979

Albert St. Albert Smith

Retired Faculty

Areas: Pan-African drums, jazz, popular music; contemporary dance accompaniment and performance; Pan-African culture.

African American musician whose specialty is instruments from different African nations and their Diaspora. He has studied and played many musical styles; jazz, rock and roll, folk, classical, Latin, and the fusion of these styles, as well as traditional and modern African music. A professional performer for over 40 years. As a faculty instructor at Simon Fraser University taught in the area of music for dance at the School for the Contemporary Arts and director of the SFU Ghana Field School in the Arts. Over the years he has performed with Nina Simon, Freddie Hubbard, Ernestine Anderson, and toured with World Drums Master Musicians of the World. He has performed with and recorded with Almeta Speaks, African Heritage and Uzume Taiko and Ache Brasil.

Greg Snider

Professor Emeritus, Visual Art

Greg Snider is a sculptor and installation artist living and working in Vancouver, BC. His practice is considered a form of critical realism, primarily directed toward problems of representing labour and work in the public sphere. Through his interest in the working body in space and its relation to physical objects, he has had opportunities to produce stage design and objects for performance in interdisciplinary contexts with theatre, dance and music. From 1981-2009 he taught in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, in visual art studios, critical theory seminars, technical theatre, and social art history. He has written criticism and served as Curator of Contemporary Art for the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and for Open Space Gallery, in Victoria, BC. He has been the recipient of numerous grants, including Canada Council Senior Arts Grants, and is represented in a number of public and private collections in Canada, including the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the National Gallery of Canada.

Penelope Stella

Professor Emerita, Theatre

Areas: Theatre performance, directing.

Penelope Stella is  a director and actor who has worked in Canada, the U.S. and the South Pacific. Her work abroad includes a two year period as artistic director of the National Theatre Company of Papua New Guinea where she worked in traditional and contemporary theatrical and dance forms. She has directed and co-wrote with her partner Marc Diamond a number of reinterpretations of the classics. She has a special interest in the performance and directing of the work of Samuel Beckett. She has worked extensively in the field of contemporary opera where she has directed five chamber opera pieces. She has twice been theatre director of Canada's prestigious National Choreographic Seminar. Currently she is an artistic director and performer with Square Planet Performance Group, an interdisciplinary company.

Grant Strate

Professor Emeritus, Dance

Grant Strate was a charter member of the National Ballet of Canada and passionate champion of the arts. The first resident choreographer for the National Ballet, he established York University’s Department of Dance in the ’70s, and then joined Simon Fraser University in 1980 as director of the University’s relatively new Centre for the Arts, the precursor to today’s School for the Contemporary Arts. The founding chair of both the Dance in Canada Association and the Vancouver Dance Centre, he also spearheaded funding for the Scotiabank Dance Centre in Vancouver. Strate was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1994 and in 1999 received an honorary doctorate from SFU, the University’s highest honour.

Chris Welsby

Professor Emeritus, Film

Chris Welsby has been making and exhibiting work since 1969. His films and film/video installations have been exhijbited internationally, at major galleries such as the Tate and Hayward galleries in London, the Musée du Louvre and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Born in Exeter, UK, Welsby moved to Canada in 1989 to take the position of Professor of Film and Digital Media at the School for the Contemporary Arts. Welsby is also a member of ICICS (Institute for Computing, Information, and Cognitive Systems) at the University of British Columbia. He retired from his full-time academic duties in 2012.