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Desautels Faculty of Music appoints new faculty

May 28, 2018 — 

The Desautels Faculty of Music is pleased to announce two faculty appointments in Jazz Bass and Music Theory, effective July 1, 2018. Both colleagues are outstanding alumni of the University of Manitoba.

Karl Kohut (Assistant Professor, Jazz Bass) is a New York-based bassist, composer, educator and bandleader. He holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University ofKarl Kohut headshot Manitoba, and a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School. Karl has performed extensively with many distinguished artists and organizations including Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Jimmy Greene, and Ralph Peterson Jr., among others. He has performed at many of New York’s top jazz venues including Dizzy’s Club-Coca Cola, Blue Note, Smalls, and Zinc Bar. He has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe as a member of Joseph Doubleday and Felix Peikli’s Showtime Band, culminating in the release of the group’s 2017 album It’s Showtime: Live!.

In addition to his work as a jazz bassist, Karl has performed and/or recorded with artists and organizations in various genres, including the Albany Symphony, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and hip-hop artist Mac Miller. As an educator, Karl has worked with students throughout the U.S. in workshops and in summer jazz programs at Lincoln Center’s Youth Programs. During the 2017-18 academic year, Karl was a visiting instructor in jazz bass at the Desautels Faculty of Music.

Karl is the recipient of several awards, including a prestigious Juilliard Career Advancement Fellowship as well as a past winner of the Canadian Youth Talent Competition.


Dr. Rebecca Simpson-Litke
(Assistant Professor, Music Theory) returns to Winnipeg from the University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music where she has been an Assistant ProfessorRebecca Simpson-Litke headshot of Music Theory since 2012. She was named a Center for Teaching and Learning Lilly Teaching Fellow for 2014-16, and has served as a Dean of the Franklin Residential College at UGA.

Rebecca completed her Ph.D. in music theory at the University of British Columbia in 2010, studying with Dr. William Benjamin, Dr. John Roeder, and Dr. Richard Kurth. Prior to her doctoral studies, she completed an M.A. in music theory at UBC in 2003, examining pitch organization in the flute music of Philippe Gaubert in her thesis, and a Bachelor of Music in flute performance at the University of Manitoba in 2001, receiving the University Gold Medal for Music. 

Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, her doctoral research uses transformational and tonal approaches to examine pitch organization in the music of Olivier Messiaen, with a focus on the structure, compositional use, and musical effects of the composer’s Modes of Limited Transpositions. Her more recent research activities explore rhythmic interactions between music and dance, focusing on salsa and other Latin social dances in particular. She has presented her research at international conferences in Canada, the U.S., and Europe, including meetings of the Society for Music Theory, the Canadian University Music Society, and the Royal Musical Association. In 2015, she co-founded the SMT Dance and Movement Interest Group and currently serves as co-chair for this group.

Prior to joining UGA, Rebecca held faculty positions at Dalhousie University (2011-12), Memorial University of Newfoundland (2010-11), the University of Minnesota (2009-10), and UBC (2007-09). In her spare time, she performs as a flutist and vocalist, collaborating with her composer husband, Dr. David Litke, and enjoys teaching salsa and other Latin dance.

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