Sydney Conservatorium of Music http://music.sydney.edu.au Mon, 20 Oct 2014 01:57:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A trio of gifts to cultivate musicians for world stage http://music.sydney.edu.au/trio-gifts-cultivate-musicians-world-stage/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=trio-gifts-cultivate-musicians-world-stage http://music.sydney.edu.au/trio-gifts-cultivate-musicians-world-stage/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 23:59:49 +0000 Grace Hall http://music.sydney.edu.au/?p=3635   The University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music announces three major philanthropic gifts, which will see the creation of a string quartet development program and two new annual conducting and piano scholarships, offered to the Con’s brightest tertiary students from … Continue reading

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Gerald Westheimer AM and Associate Professor Alice Waten with the 1858 Gustave Bernadel, part of the Westheimer instrument collection held by the Con.

Gerald Westheimer AM and Associate Professor Alice Waten with the 1858 Gustave Bernadel, part of the Westheimer instrument collection held by the Con.

The University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music announces three major philanthropic gifts, which will see the creation of a string quartet development program and two new annual conducting and piano scholarships, offered to the Con’s brightest tertiary students from 2015 in perpetuity.

The gifts come from three alumni of the University of Sydney: an Australian vision scientist and passionate violinist Gerald Westheimer AM; the family of the formidable international conductor Helen Quach; and Australian film and stage producer Brian Abel.

Professor Karl Kramer, Dean and Principal of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music said: “We’re privileged to have received these generous gifts that will make a real difference to the experience we can offer some of the most talented students who wish to study with us.

“It’s the passion of our donors that helps to fine tune our vision, so that we continue to provide the training that develops top-class musicians for the world stage.

“It’s been wonderful to work with the three donors to develop new programs and scholarships that fulfill their music interests, and continue the Con’s long tradition of providing a music education like no other in this region.”

German-born Gerald Westheimer, who now lives and works in the US, is an accomplished recreational violinist.  Westheimer and his family emigrated from Nazi-occupied Germany to Australia in 1938.  Settling in Sydney, Gerald finished high school and vocational studies in optometry at Sydney Technical College, before attending and graduating from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor in Science in 1948.

“I began playing the violin as a boy growing up in a middle-class, German Jewish family in Berlin in the 1930s. It wasn’t until the late 1940s that I started studying it more seriously at the Conservatorium with Haydn Beck who was, at one time, the concertmaster of the ABC Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

“Walking up Macquarie Street to the Con, carrying my violin for my lessons with Haydn Beck in one of the turrets, is still a vivid memory of that period of my life.

“I have remained a sturdy amateur violinist for nearly 80 years now, and make the point of getting at least half-an-hour of practice a day, through thick and thin, playing almost exclusively chamber music.

“The string quartet is an enduring music ensemble. Therefore, when Dean Kramer and I talked about possible ways of playing a part in the Con’s development and an endowed string quartet program was suggested, it seemed an obvious fit,” said Gerald Westheimer.

The Gerald Westheimer String Quartet Fellowship, a performance development program, will give four string players added training opportunities including masterclasses, competitions and overseas travel to music festivals whilst studying at the Con. The program also gives the quartet access to a collection of the best string instruments, made by the Italian maestro of violin makers Sandro Asinari.

Helen Quach, a Chinese migrant from Vietnam who arrived in Sydney in 1950 during the White Australia Policy era, overcame many challenges during her rise to fame as a highly-acclaimed conductor of several world-leading symphony orchestras.

She had studied and graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music aged only 19 years old. Then in 1959 she won an Australian Broadcasting Commission scholarship as an apprentice to Nicolai Malko, the resident conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. A year later Quach made her debut as an SSO conductor aged 20.

Quach went onto conduct many prestigious orchestras in the USA, including one of the world’s best, the New York Philharmonic, assisting the great Leonard Bernstein for a year in 1968. During the late 1970s and early 80s, she spent much of her time in Asia, working with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and Manila and Taiwan Symphony Orchestras.

Following a long fight with breast cancer, Quach passed away last year.  Her brother Peter Quach and his family wanted to set up the Helen Quach Conducting Scholarship, to give student musicians the support that he knew Helen would have longed for at the outset of her career.

Helen was totally dedicated to her music, as she embarked on a profession that was male dominated. She didn’t have any support – she did it alone, achieving everything through hard work, great determination and a lot of talent.

“She never married, so music was her life. She had the ability to inspire musicians to perform to their best – it didn’t matter whether they were professional or amateur orchestras.

“It’s a shame Australia never really benefited from her talent, since she spent her entire career overseas, but now young Australian talent will gain from this scholarship in memory of her,” said Peter Quach.

After living in London and New York for the last thirteen years, Brian Abel recently returned to Sydney.  Growing up in Townsville in the 1970s, Brian Abel undertook AMEB and Trinity College piano exams, but there was no opportunity to study music at a university level.  So as a mature-aged student, Abel completed a bachelor degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1992, studying piano under Albert Landa.

The new Brian Abel Piano Scholarship reaches out to financially-disadvantaged students to help with tuition fees and living expenses whilst studying music.

“I was fortunate to be able to study at the Con, where I really developed a love of western art music and more confidence as a musician.  Talented students shouldn’t have to miss out on opportunities just because they can’t afford to move to the city to study. This is why I have initiated this scholarship,” said Brian Abel.

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Sydney opera premiere of Little Women http://music.sydney.edu.au/sydney-opera-premiere-little-women/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sydney-opera-premiere-little-women http://music.sydney.edu.au/sydney-opera-premiere-little-women/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 04:48:20 +0000 Mandy Campbell http://music.sydney.edu.au/?p=3596 Mark Adamo’s operatic adaption of the much-loved classic tale of Little Women premieres in Sydney this October at the University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music. With several cast members graduating from the Con at the end of this year, the … Continue reading

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Little Women starring Con students Audrey Gabor (Beth), Anna McDougall (Jo), Jessica Westcott (Meg) and Bridget Patterson (Amy). Photo: Ian Brown.

Little Women starring Con students Audrey Gabor (Beth), Anna McDougall (Jo), Jessica Westcott (Meg) and Bridget Patterson (Amy). Photo: Ian Brown.

Mark Adamo’s operatic adaption of the much-loved classic tale of Little Women premieres in Sydney this October at the University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music. With several cast members graduating from the Con at the end of this year, the Sydney premiere of Little Women promises to be a launching pad for the next crop of Australian opera stars.

Since its world premiere in New York in 1998, Little Women has become one of the top ten operas in the US, with more than 70 productions performed world-wide. With the first of four performances kicking off at the Con on 11 October, Sydney audiences will be treated to Adamo’s lush, tonal and searing score and imaginative libretto, which provides an engaging frame for this seminal American tale.

Dr Michael Halliwell, Associate Professor of Vocal Studies and Opera at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music said: “There’s been a recent boom in new operas and much of it has its source in the American literary canon. One of the most successful operas has been Mark Adamo’s operatic version of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

“Adamo is part of a youngish generation of American composers who have opera at the centre of their musical output, and have an obviously passionate love of the operatic voice. These composers have returned to many of the traditional structures of opera, and while they draw on the gestures of musical modernism, the fundamental element of their operas is melody. One can actually come out of a performance of Little Women, like many other contemporary operas, whistling the tunes. This has a lot to do with a growing fusion between musical theatre and opera.

“Suffice to say, Sydney is in for a treat and there will most certainly be a few furtive tears at the end of this heart-warming and life-affirming opera,” said Dr Michael Halliwell.

Based on Alcott’s 1868 novel, Little Women traces the close and enduring relationships between four sisters coming-of-age, as they grow up during the post-Civil War years in Massachusetts, USA. The contemporary opera brings to life the characters of Meg, Amy, Beth and the indefatigable Jo, as they encounter the complexities of family, friendship and romance. Jo’s devotion to her sisters and reluctance to accept change are challenged by Beth’s illness. Forced to face the inevitability of adulthood and the responsibilities it brings, Jo realises that even the strongest love cannot ward off change and loss.

The Con production opens around Christmas time during the American Civil War of the early 1860s. From the first to the very last musical note, the moving family tale sees the characters cross from childhood and young adulthood, spanning a period of three years.

Starring in the two lead roles are Anna McDougall, who plays Jo, the second eldest, headstrong sister and a ‘tomboy’ who her father refers to as his ‘son Jo’; and Alexander Knight, who plays John Brooke, the young, hard-working orphan man who falls for Jo’s sister Meg.

Mezzo-soprano Anna McDougall and baritone Alexander Knight are among ten vocal students in the cast who will complete their tertiary studies at Con in 2014. They, along with cast members and 2014 graduates Corinne Parker, Audrey Gabor, Bridget Patterson, Kathryn Williams Jermaine Chau, Joel Scott, Daniel Tambasco and Andrew Williams, will be the future opera stars to watch.

Musical Director Eduardo Diazmuñoz and Director Narelle Yeo, along with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Chamber Orchestra, will headline the Sydney opera premiere of Little Women.

The first Australian opera performance of Little Women was held at the Adelaide Festival in 2007, followed by the 2013 production at the West Australian Academy for the Performing Arts in Perth.

Event details
What: Little Women by Mark Adamo
When: Sat 11, Tues 14, Thurs 16, Sat 18 October (6.30pm for the first 3 performances; and 2pm matinee for the final performance)
Where: Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Cost: $50 adult, $25 student and concession
Bookings: Buy tickets online or purchase from City Recital Hall, Angel Place, (02) 8256 2222

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Chloe’s duet of destiny http://music.sydney.edu.au/chloes-duet-destiny/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=chloes-duet-destiny http://music.sydney.edu.au/chloes-duet-destiny/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 05:44:04 +0000 Mandy Campbell http://music.sydney.edu.au/?p=3595 As the Sydney Conservatorium of Music prepares to welcome Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man for a performance this Sunday, one student is set to share the stage with the woman voted Musical America’s ‘2013 Instrumentalist of the Year’. Third-year Bachelor … Continue reading

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Con student Chloe Chung to perform duet with Wu Man in one-off concert.

Con student Chloe Chung to perform duet with Wu Man in one-off concert.

As the Sydney Conservatorium of Music prepares to welcome Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man for a performance this Sunday, one student is set to share the stage with the woman voted Musical America’s ‘2013 Instrumentalist of the Year’.

Third-year Bachelor of Music (Performance) student, Chloe Chung is among seven students from the Con who will perform with Wu Man when she returns to Sydney for a special one-off performance. Chloe, a classical flute player with 13 years’ experience, is tuning up for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stand alongside the celebrated artist for a duet performance of Zhou Long’s Green.

“I am both nervous and excited to be working with Wu Man so closely,” Chloe says.
“She is a highly skilled and graceful musician and the opportunity to rehearse, play and perform with her is going to feel quite surreal. She’s awesome.”

The performance will hold a special meaning for Chloe, who came to Australia at the age of seven and has recently begun reconnecting with her Chinese heritage, learning Mandarin after a cultural tour of China with the Confucius Institute last December. The trip has also inspired her to pick up the Chinese transverse flute, the dizi, and she has been learning under the expert tutelage of Dr Chai Chang Ning at the Con.

Chloe’s musical mission of cultural rediscovery is not dissimilar from that of Wu Man, who has garnered worldwide recognition for her mastery of the ancient Chinese instrument, the pipa.

As she prepares for the big performance, Chloe notes that the duet, Green, is “one of a kind”.

“It starts out with the alto flute playing these spacious, sonorous melodies while the pipa creates interesting textural colour beneath, then meanders into this other realm gradually,“ she says.

“About halfway, I’ll have to put down the alto flute and change to the piccolo. The contrast of character, the stylistic details, are extremely evocative – I really like it.”

Chloe’s performance with Wu Man is part of the Journey of Chinese Pipa: Ancient Ties for Modern Sound concert, presented by the University of Sydney’s Confucius Institute and Sydney Conservatorium of Music at the Con’s Verbrugghen Hall on Sunday 28 September, 2pm.

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Kim Williams up close on why music matters http://music.sydney.edu.au/kim-williams-close-music-matters/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kim-williams-close-music-matters http://music.sydney.edu.au/kim-williams-close-music-matters/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 06:27:37 +0000 Mandy Campbell http://music.sydney.edu.au/?p=3576 What do music and listening have in common? Both are lacking amongst young people growing up in today’s modern world. This idea will be debated further by Kim Williams AM in his one-off Sydney Ideas lecture at the University of … Continue reading

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Kim Williams AM

Kim Williams AM

What do music and listening have in common? Both are lacking amongst young people growing up in today’s modern world. This idea will be debated further by Kim Williams AM in his one-off Sydney Ideas lecture at the University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music on Tuesday 30 September at 6.00pm.

One of Australia’s most high-profile media executives and a well-known supporter of the Arts, Kim Williams speaks intimately about how music influenced his life both personally and professionally. Williams will draw parallels between the disciplined approach to music training and the way he conducts business.

“Everyone knows Kim Williams in Australia’s top corporate circles. But fewer people know much about Kim’s early years as a highly dedicated, passionate musician, and how it shaped him as an astute businessman and leading figure in the arts industry,” said Professor Karl Kramer, Dean and Principal, Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Talking about two things very dear to his heart – music and listening – during the lecture Williams will provide a strong case for the primacy of music education from a young age, using his own life as an example. He will explain how he sees music being key to restoring a diminishing life skill today – what he terms ‘close listening’.

He will also touch on the lack of music education he sees growing up in this country today, and Australians’ inability to give and receive criticism in a way that he describes as “thoughtful, caring, constructive and nourishing” – something that music training seeks and welcomes so that musicians grow to become world-class artists.

Kim Williams said: “Music is a natural prism for the way I see things and has been central to my experience and enjoyment of life. Music is so central to my view of the world that I don’t really stand back and think about it and only did so some years ago when asked to give a lecture about music and its personal impact and resonances. This lecture will reflect on some of those matters and offer some observations on why music matters to me.”

Drawing on personal tales disclosed in his latest book, Rules of Engagement, Williams will talk about his first instrument, the banjo; the fear of his first teacher, Mrs Bulger; one of his greatest mentors, teachers and friends the famous Australian conductor Richard Gill; composing music from the age of 15; and playing the clarinet most of his life.

Kim Williams’ connection with the Con began early in his musical life. From 1966, he took his first music lessons after school at the Con, learning from Douglas Gerke and then Donald Westlake, principal clarinetist in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. During and shortly after attending the University of Sydney, Williams worked actively as a composer and as a private clarinet tutor at the Con to generate an income. One of his very first managerial positions in music was as a lecturer under Rex Hobcroft and resident concert organiser at the Con. In 1973, a large work entitled ‘Music of Space’ that he wrote for Donald Westlake was premiered at the Sydney Conservatorium.

For the next four decades, Kim Williams played an instrumental role in growing the arts, entertainment and media industries in Australia and overseas. He held CEO positions with News Corp Australia, FOXTEL, FOX Studios Australia, the Australian Film Commission and Musica Viva. Only last year, he stepped down as Chair of the Sydney Opera House Trust after nine years, and in February 2014 he took up his new role as Commissioner of the AFL.

In his book Rules of Engagement, Williams provides a candid, up close and personal account of the exercise of power in the nation’s leading boardrooms, political parties and media organisations. He will draw on some of the experiences described in the book during his Sydney Ideas lecture on 30 September at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

For more information on the Kim Williams lecture and other Sydney Ideas events visit www.sydney.edu.au/sydney_ideas

Event Details
What: Sydney Ideas Lecture: Kim Williams on Music and the Rules of Engagement
When: Tuesday 30 September 2014, 6pm-7.30pm
Where: The Sydney Conservatorium of Music, The University of Sydney, Corner of Bridge and Macquarie Streets, Sydney
Cost and bookings: Free but limited seats. Bookings essential at con.rsvp@sydney.edu.au

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2014 Young Performer of the Year: Grace Clifford http://music.sydney.edu.au/2014-young-performer-year-grace-clifford/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=2014-young-performer-year-grace-clifford http://music.sydney.edu.au/2014-young-performer-year-grace-clifford/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 03:45:25 +0000 Mandy Campbell http://music.sydney.edu.au/?p=3507   Two spectacular solo performances were delivered last night by Sydney Conservatorium of Music student violinists Grace Clifford and Anna Da Silva Chen. The concert final of the 2014 Young Performers Awards (YPA) held at the Adelaide Town Hall saw … Continue reading

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Grace Clifford

2014 Young Performer of the Year: Grace Clifford at the concert final in Adelaide.

 

Two spectacular solo performances were delivered last night by Sydney Conservatorium of Music student violinists Grace Clifford and Anna Da Silva Chen. The concert final of the 2014 Young Performers Awards (YPA) held at the Adelaide Town Hall saw Grace Clifford win this year’s coveted title.

Grace performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto and Anna Da Silva performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Adelaide Symphony, conducted by Christopher Seaman. Both performers were up against Melbourne oboist and winner of the 2013 YPA People’s Choice Award, Andrew Kawai, who performed the Mozart Oboe Concerto.

Sixteen-year-old Grace Clifford from Wahroonga, Sydney, and eighteen-year-old Anna Da Silva Chen from Lake Heights, Wollongong, have both been students of the Con’s Open Academy since the inception of its Rising Stars program in 2009.

Justin Ankus, Manager of the Open Academy, who attended last night’s concert in Adelaide said: “The atmosphere in the Town Hall was electric, and it was wonderful to see such a large audience there. Both Grace and Anna played with such elegance and style. We’re very proud of them.

“It’s wonderful that the Con is able to give these students access to some of Australia’s best teachers like Robin Wilson who teaches Grace and Alice Waten who teaches Anna. The results of the students’ dedication, hard work and talent, coupled with outstanding teaching were clearly evident last night.”

Since 1944, the national awards have provided aspiring young musicians with the opportunity to perform with Australia’s major orchestras, in the quest to be named ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year. It is an opportunity like no other for up-and-coming Australian classical artists.

Grace receives a $25,000 cash prize, multiple copies of a CD of her winning performance, a feature in Limelight magazine, and two further performances with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in their Masters 7 concerts today and tomorrow. She also wins prizes for Best Recital and Best Chamber Music Performance. Anna receives a runner-up cash prize of $7,500 and was awarded the Nelly Apt Scholarship for a string player.

Next month Grace will travel to the USA to begin tertiary studies at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. The Con wishes her all the best in the next stage of her musical journey and congratulates Grace and Anna on their incredible achievement in this year’s award.

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Concert to celebrate Peter Sculthorpe http://music.sydney.edu.au/concert-celebrate-peter-sculthorpe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=concert-celebrate-peter-sculthorpe http://music.sydney.edu.au/concert-celebrate-peter-sculthorpe/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 00:18:45 +0000 superadmin http://music.sydney.edu.au/?p=3484 The University of Sydney announces a special evening to celebrate the life and music of Peter Sculthorpe AO OBE, Australia’s most revered composer of the 20th century. The free public performance will be presented by Sydney Conservatorium of Music and its … Continue reading

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Peter Sculthorpe

The University of Sydney will host a special evening to celebrate the life and music of Peter Sculthorpe AO OBE, Australia’s most revered composer of the 20th century.

The University of Sydney announces a special evening to celebrate the life and music of Peter Sculthorpe AO OBE, Australia’s most revered composer of the 20th century. The free public performance will be presented by Sydney Conservatorium of Music and its students on Saturday 25 October 2014 from 7pm.

The gala event will be held in honour and celebration of the Emeritus Professor’s immense, life-long contribution to music in this country, and the 51 years of his life that he devoted to the University of Sydney.

“Peter Sculthorpe is one of those extraordinary artists whose immeasurable impact on music will become more and more apparent in years to come.  The concert will give us a glimpse of the legacy of this gifted musician, as we again take enormous pleasure in listening to his most cherished works,” said Dr Michael Spence, Vice Chancellor, The University of Sydney.

Performances of three signature works written by the composer: Kakadu (1988), the Burke & Wills Suite (1986) and Canticle V will be presented by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony and Chamber Choir.

Marking the celebration, colleagues and former students of Sculthorpe, including Professor Anne Boyd AM, and Dr Ross Edwards AM will give personal reminiscences.

“Rarely is it given to a single individual to inscribe the soul of a nation in their musical utterance. As a passionate Australian seeking the spiritual in nature, such has been Peter’s contribution to Australian culture as will be heard in the music performed in this concert,” said Professor Boyd.

Peter Sculthorpe first came to the University of Sydney in 1963 at the invitation of Professor Donald Peart to take up an appointment as Lecturer in Music in the Faculty of Arts’ Department of Music. His first teaching was in ethnomusicology, stimulating a lifelong interest in the musical traditions of Asia, of Japan and Bali in particular.

He inflected all his teaching towards composition, nurturing generations of young composers.

He was promoted to a personal Chair in Musical Composition within the Faculty of Arts in 1991 and played a significant role in bringing the Sydney Conservatorium of Music into the University. In 2005 he became an Emeritus Professor of Composition at the University of Sydney, and continued to support and inspire music students in the final years of his life. Peter Sculthorpe passed away earlier this month at the age of 85.

The Peter Sculthorpe concert at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music is a free event, however tickets are required. Registration is essential and is available online at sculthorpe-celebration.eventbrite.com.au, with a limit of two tickets per person.

Event Details
What: Peter Sculthorpe AO OBE (1929-2014) – In celebration of his life and music
When: Saturday 25 October at 7pm
Where: Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Cost: Free – bookings essential at sculthorpe-celebration.eventbrite.com.au

Media enquiries: Mandy Campbell 0481 0122 742 or mandy.campbell@sydney.edu.au

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More to a skilled ear in music http://music.sydney.edu.au/skilled-ear-music/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=skilled-ear-music http://music.sydney.edu.au/skilled-ear-music/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 01:41:27 +0000 superadmin http://music.sydney.edu.au/?p=3468 The first pilot study in Australia to give musicians the skills and training to critically assess music by what they hear rather than what they see begins this month at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The study aims to address … Continue reading

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The first pilot study in Australia to give musicians the skills and training to critically assess music by what they hear rather than what they see begins this month at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The first pilot study in Australia to give musicians the skills and training to critically assess music by what they hear rather than what they see begins this month at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The first pilot study in Australia to give musicians the skills and training to critically assess music by what they hear rather than what they see begins this month at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The study aims to address a lack of skill and formal training in the industry that enables music judges to critically assess sound – an important skill when it comes to auditions and judging music in the ‘real world’.

Leading the research is Dr Helen Mitchell, a senior lecturer in musicology at the University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music, following a grant received by the Federal Government in June this year.

The study builds on previous research by Dr Mitchell in 2011 and 2012, which found that musicians are not reliable in recognising the sound quality of individual performers and use limited descriptors to articulate sound.

“Music judges or assessors are generally not well equipped to assess sound.  The difficulty lies in the availability of common descriptors or language to express what we hear.  People find it hard to critically quantify or qualify sound or what they are hearing when listening to music,” said Dr Mitchell.

“We take for granted that musicians can readily discriminate between performers playing the same instrument.  Remarkably, research¹ has shown that judges often can’t identify individual performers from a homogeneous line-up of musicians.

“In the real world, we not only rely on expert musicians to differentiate between performers but, more critically, judge performances to determine an individual’s suitability for a specific music role.”

There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that even expert musicians are unable to judge audio-only and audio-visual music performances in the same way. Recent research² has found that judges are often influenced by the ‘vision’ of performers, at the expense of what they hear.

“Whilst it is consistently recognised in the industry that sound is the critical factor when evaluating music performance. Judges still turn to visuals as their primary source of information for evaluating a performance.  In fact, music examiners have been noted to cite a performer’s dress and stage manner ahead of describing sound quality.”

The pilot project will see tertiary students from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music take part in a series of practical sessions, playing the roles of judge and performer.  They will experience performances both visible to a judging panel and behind a screen – replicating the blind audition process, which removes all visual factors that may influence judges.

The verbal and written critique delivered by judges in the study will be shared with Australian experts in music auditions and examinations to reflect on the best practice in performance evaluation.

“This project will also enable music students to experience the complexities and pitfalls of performance evaluation.  They will learn from music industry experts and develop training strategies to advance their listening acuity for performing and performer evaluation,” said Dr Mitchell.

The findings of the Australian study will inform future music education curricula to ensure that there is a high standard of music assessment delivered by the next generation of music leaders and experts in this country.

¹Mitchell & MacDonald 2011, 2012, 2014
²Tsay, 2013

Media Enquiries: Mandy Campbell on 0481 012 742 or mandy.campbell@sydney.edu.au

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Peter Sculthorpe 1929-2014 http://music.sydney.edu.au/petersculthorpe19292014/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=petersculthorpe19292014 http://music.sydney.edu.au/petersculthorpe19292014/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 08:00:34 +0000 superadmin http://music.sydney.edu.au/?p=3445 Peter Sculthorpe, Emeritus Professor of Composition at the University of Sydney, Australia’s most significant composer, passed away in Sydney at the age of 85. Rarely is it given to a single individual to inscribe the soul of a nation in … Continue reading

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Peter Sculthorpe (Image: Dan White)

Peter Sculthorpe (Image: Dan White)

Peter Sculthorpe, Emeritus Professor of Composition at the University of Sydney, Australia’s most significant composer, passed away in Sydney at the age of 85.

Rarely is it given to a single individual to inscribe the soul of a nation in their musical utterance. Such has been Peter’s contribution to Australian culture. The University and the music world are deeply saddened by his passing.

“He was an outstanding composer, a passionate Australian, a delightful and hugely compassionate man, who has contributed significantly to the music foundations of this University across 51 years.

“Professor Sculthorpe is such a huge loss, but at the same time he leaves such a big music legacy,” said Dr Michael Spence, Vice Chancellor, The University of Sydney.

Peter Sculthorpe first joined the University of Sydney’s Department of Music, appointed by the late Professor Donald Peart as a young lecturer in music in 1963. He was asked to teach the department’s first classes in ethnomusicology thereby stimulating his lifelong interest in the traditional musical cultures of Asia, of Japan and Bali in particular. He offered encouragement and teaching to the young student composers he found in the department, often inflecting traditional teaching towards innovative creative musical activity. These young students grew to become some of Australia’s best known and best loved musical voices including composers Ross Edwards, Barry Conyngham and Anne Boyd.

Peter was promoted to a personal chair in composition in 1991 within the Faculty of Arts. He was later to offer warm support to the merging of the Department of Music with the Conservatorium.

Until his retirement in 1999, Sculthorpe’s extensive teaching at the University inspired and nurtured many students in the Faculty of Arts. With the introduction of more specialised postgraduate study in music including the nation’s first composition doctorate in 1992, he became the supervisor of several now distinguished composers including Matthew Hindson, Professor and Chair of Composition & Music Technology Unit at the Con.

Dr Karl Kramer, Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music commented: “Peter is Australia’s best-known composer not only at home but internationally. He was the first Australian composer to develop what many heard as an ‘Australian’ sound and has been described as ‘the voice of Australia’ and ‘Australia’s representative composer’.”

Sculthorpe’s enormous contribution to music composition, teaching and education here and abroad is recognised by his Order of Australia medal in 1990 and his four honorary Doctorates from the University of Tasmania, University of Sussex, University of Melbourne and University of Sydney. In 1994 he received the Sir Bernard Heinze Award for outstanding services to Australian music and in 2005 he became an Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney.

Born in Launceston, Tasmania, in 1929, Sculthorpe was educated at Launceston Church of England Grammar School, the University of Melbourne and Wadham College, Oxford, England. It was not until he returned to Australia in 1961 after studying overseas, that his career began its meteoric rise.

Sculthorpe’s catalogue consists of more than 350 works. While his best known works include the orchestral pieces Sun Music 1 (1965) Mangrove (1979), Earth Cry (1986) and Kakadu (1988). He wrote in many genres from solo instrumental works to opera. His 18 string quartets are especially frequently performed and the Kronos Quartet toured the world playing No.8. In Australia he became a major public figure, audiences cheering his work as it seemed to say something necessary in the life of a country finding a new voice in a post colonial era.

The frequent Australian cry to turn to Asia in the 1960s and 70s was paralleled by influences from Indonesia and Japan in Sculthorpe’s works, as he strove to write music expressive of the Pacific region. Peter’s championing of Australian indigenous culture is especially noteworthy, highlighted by his collaboration with didjeridu virtuoso Dr William Barton. William was to make an important contribution to arguably Peter’s greatest work, his choral Requiem (2004).

The impact of his composition work on Australian music has been the subject of several books, including Michael Hannan’s Peter Sculthorpe: His Music and Ideas 1929 – 1979 (1982); Graeme Skinner’s authorised biography, Peter Sculthorpe: The Making of an Australian Composer (1929-1974) published in 2007, and most recently John Peterson’s The Music of Peter Sculthorpe (2014).

The recipient of many prestigious awards, Sculthorpe regarded the most important being chosen as one of Australia’s 100 Living National Treasures in 1997 (National Trust of Australia), Distinguished Artist 2001 (International Society for the Performing Arts), Honorary Foreign Life Member in 2003 (American Academy of Arts and Letters) and one of the 100 Most Influential Australians in 2006 (The Bulletin magazine).

Media Enquiries: Mandy Campbell, 0481 012 742 or mandy.campbell@sydney.edu.au

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Sydney’s top music students on stage in Italy for first chamber music summer school http://music.sydney.edu.au/sydneys-top-music-students-stage-italy-first-chamber-music-summer-school/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sydneys-top-music-students-stage-italy-first-chamber-music-summer-school http://music.sydney.edu.au/sydneys-top-music-students-stage-italy-first-chamber-music-summer-school/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 00:32:38 +0000 superadmin http://music.sydney.edu.au/?p=3264 The finest musicians from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music are about to set off for the first European Chamber Music Summer School in Italy this week. The inaugural Estivo will see 47 tertiary music students from the University of Sydney’s … Continue reading

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Students preparing to attend the inaugural chamber music summer school in Italy.The finest musicians from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music are about to set off for the first European Chamber Music Summer School in Italy this week. The inaugural Estivo will see 47 tertiary music students from the University of Sydney’s music faculty perform in over 20 concerts in 12 historic venues across 3 major cities – Verona, Venice and Mantova – in northern Italy from 7-19 July.

Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Dean Dr Karl Kramer said: “It is the first international music program of its kind made available to Australian tertiary music students. It’s going to be demanding, but an incredible experience for our students to take part in an intensive two week chamber music program, performing in some of Europe’s most magnificent venues and most popular tourist spots.”

The students will stage daily concerts in piazzas, churches, conservatories, palaces, concert venues and government offices.  Prestigious venues like the Bibiena Theatre, where Mozart gave his first performance, the Palazzo Te also in Mantova, and La Pieta in Venice, are just a few of the iconic places where the performances will be held.

Comprising eight chamber music ensembles – two wind quintets, brass quintet, saxophone quartet, three string quartets, and a piano trio – plus six pianists accompanying six opera singers, these talented young musicians will perform repertoire from the traditional chamber music canon. In between the rigorous concert schedule, they will work closely with some of the best teachers from all over Europe, as well as key mentors from the Sydney Con and Australia’s pre-imminent string quartet, the Goldner String Quartet.

Bridget O’Donnell from the Hillel String Quartet, one of the ensembles taking part, said: “The four of us have been together since the start of 2012, mainly playing in Sydney. This will be our first time together overseas, which will be an awesome experience.

“Italy is such a beautiful country, steeped in music history and culture. It will be the perfect place to improve our chamber music skills.  We hope that the experience will make us more resilient performers and we’re also quite excited about consuming large amounts of pasta!” she said.

Estivo has been set up in collaboration with the Conservatorio di Verona, where the students will be based, and the Conservatorio di Musica in Mantova. It coincides with Verona’s world-renowned summer festival of opera, the Arena di Verona Festival, which students will attend.

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s top students were selected through a competitive audition process earlier this year to join the inaugural European Chamber Music School in Italy.

An annual event, Estivo is a commitment by the University of Sydney to give Australia’s preeminent young classical musicians insight and exposure to studying and performing internationally.

Follow the students at Estivo in Italy at http://sydneycon-estivo.tumblr.com/

Media Enquiries: Mandy Campbell on 0481 012 742 or mandy.campbell@sydney.edu.au

The ensembles and musicians attending Estivo

Bennelong Brass – Jonathan Baker, Milo Dodd, Owen Morris, Tim Skelly, Benjamin Turner

Estivo Piano Trio – Jonathan Bekes, Fox Chan, Ying Ho

Fracture Saxophone Quartet – Peter Chao, Nathan Henshaw, Peter Leung, Simon Watts

Adelphi String Quartet – Yeonhee Kim, Josephine Lumanau, Bernadette Morrison, Klara Morrison

Hillel String Quartet – Benjamin Adler, Bethan Lillicrap, Bridget O’Donnell, Elizabeth Woolnough

4 String Quartet – Nathan Greentree, Vincent Lo, Kay-Yin Teoh, Benjamin Tjoa

Festivo Wind Quintet – Cameron Burgess, Chloe Chung, Joshua Davies, Toshiyuki Hosogaya, Justin Sun

The Sydney Zephyr Wind Quintet – James Fisher, Osvaldo Junior, Katrina Todd, Gillian Williams, Sarah Young

Vocalists - Damian Arnold, Zoe Drummond, Sarah Kemeny, Imogen Malfitano, Daniel Nicholson and Joshua Oxley

Pianists - Pavle Cajic, Sherilyn Chen, Su Choung, Patrick Keith, Rachael Lin and Alex Waite

Estivo: European Chamber Music Summer School will be staged thanks to the generous support of Il Conservatorio Statale di Musica ‘Evaristo Felice Dall’ Abaco’ di Verona and Conservatorio di Musica ‘Lucio Campiani’ Mantova.

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A master in the language of music to join the Con http://music.sydney.edu.au/master-language-music-join-con/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=master-language-music-join-con http://music.sydney.edu.au/master-language-music-join-con/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 05:11:37 +0000 superadmin http://music.sydney.edu.au/?p=3193 The Sydney Conservatorium of Music announces the appointment of the esteemed music theorist, Richard Cohn, to the role of Professor of Music from January 2015.  American-born Cohn is currently at Yale University, one of the oldest tertiary institutions in the … Continue reading

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Richard Cohn

Richard Cohn will join the Sydney Conservatorium of Music as a Professor of Music in 2015.

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music announces the appointment of the esteemed music theorist, Richard Cohn, to the role of Professor of Music from January 2015.  American-born Cohn is currently at Yale University, one of the oldest tertiary institutions in the US, where he has been the Battell Professor of the Theory of Music since 2005.

Richard Cohn’s face will be familiar to many staff and students following his six month stint at the Con during the first half of last year as an Honorary Professor, when he spoke at several seminars at the University of Sydney’s music faculty.

Cohn brings great expertise in music theory to the Con. He is noted for his particular interest in chromatic harmony, metric dissonance, Schenkerian theory, atonal pitch-class theory and Lewinian transformational theory, among other topics.

A prolific writer, Cohn founded the Oxford Studies in Music Theory in 2004, which he edited for Oxford University Press for ten years. Currently, he is editor of the Journal of Music Theory, the US’ oldest music journal in its field.

Cohn is known for publishing widely on the music of Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Wagner, Bartok and Reich, and has written extensively for many professional publications, including the Journal of Music Theory, Music Theory Spectrum, Nineteenth-Century Music and Music Theory Online.

While a regular speaker at academic conferences and other meetings of music specialists, he has also presented non-academic lectures that have covered topics from an exploration of Haydn’s The Seasons to a musical analysis of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech.

Prior to Yale University, Cohn taught in the music department at the University of Chicago from 1985, where he served as its Chair from 1998 to 2001. He also held several directorships of undergraduate and graduate studies, and of a music theory mentoring partnership.

A graduate of Brown University, Rhode Island, in 1977, Cohn earned his doctorate from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, New York, in 1987.

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