Beau Stocker recently earned his PhD in music. Photo, Laura Tait

Local percussionist earns PhD in music

Stocker’s studies brought him to Sudan, England

In the midst of worldwide change, Beau Stocker, Comox Valley music contributor and educator, quietly achieved a personal and professional milestone.

Now living and teaching in the Comox Valley, Stocker recently completed a PhD in music (technically a ‘pass with minor corrections’ according to Stocker, who is humble in his achievements). This is a result of 10 years’ research on two different continents, not including North America. The research project combined East African rhythms and drum kit performance, with the use of improvised music concepts.

His undergraduate studies in Toronto at Humber College and York University were followed by an MA in improvised music and jazz at the University of York in England. These experiences spurred the drive to seek out further sources of drumming approaches he had yet to encounter.

After an eight-month overland motorcycle trip through the Middle East and East Africa, he settled in Sudan to be immersed in the surrounding musical culture. His three years there included percussion study of South Sudanese and Ethiopian traditions, which was then followed by a move back to North Yorkshire, England to begin his PhD in music at the University of York.

As performer, composer and ensemble leader, Stocker worked at the University of York on a series of translations that began with the East African rhythm traditions as the source material and combined pre-planned with unplanned approaches to spontaneous compositions. This approach of new knowledge has made possible the model in which these domains of music are conflated to produce a diverse set of pieces with recurrent related themes. The range of experiences acquired through research and travel has provided him with abilities and cultural inspiration that he hopes will benefit both students and fellow musicians in the Comox Valley.

RELATED STORY: Get ready to go on a road trip with the Just in Time Choirs

For more information about studying percussion with Stocker, contact Motif Music Studios at or call 250-792-3065.


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Beau Stocker’s education brought him to Sudan and England. Photo supplied

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