16 September 2009

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music has moved into overdrive in fully documenting the outputs of its creative practice - boosting its database by almost 70 per cent in the past few months.

The surge, part of the University of Sydney's strategic plan to become a leader in research, has helped put The Con on a firmer footing in fully capturing the essence of every professional performance, as institutions gear up for the new Federal Government funding regime.

Professor Keith Howard is leading a concerted program to boost the evaluation status of music produced by Faculty members, covering every aspect of every recording and composition and their respective public and commercial outcomes.

Professor Howard, formerly Professor of Music at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, was recently appointed by the Dean and Principal of The Con, Professor Kim Walker, after a world-wide search.

"Prior to 2002, capturing of quantitative output of recordings was almost non-existent. In the past few years some 451 unique filings have been captured," comments Professor Howard, who is a widely published author and acclaimed expert on Korean and other music around the world.

"This has put The Con in very good stead at this stage of the process, and shows that that we are very serious about research.

"The results are underscoring for everyone just how influential The Con is, nationally and internationally, when it comes to the scope, variety and quality of its live and recorded performance output, and how they are reported."

Professor Howard said another example of The Con's growing commitment to research excellence was the growth in Post Doctoral Research Fellowship applications.

"This year has seen a record 19 applications, with four making the cut to be submitted to the university - and significantly, these four are a microcosm of The Con's international footprint, with a composer from New Zealand, an Early Music keyboard player from Germany, a Technologist and Composer from the US and a Musicologist from Australia all in the running."

Professor Howard said the next phase of the research push was to develop new ways of delivering music recordings to the marketplace.

"In keeping with the changing world of commercial music, we are looking closely at 'in-house' production and distribution of live performance across CDs, DVDs and the Internet.

"It won't happen overnight, but getting more music out there and having it more appreciated is a challenge we are taking on with great relish.

"As The Con's international credentials go from strength to strength, it makes sense to increase access to the high calibre of our solo, ensemble and orchestral performances... they are simply up there with the best."

Professor Walker commented: "What is very special about Professor Howard is that in his London experience he brought forward a large number of ground-breaking research DVDs, which involved traditional researchers, creative performers, Indigenous artists and scholars.

"He brings a wealth of international contacts and experience, all of which are beneficial to the faculty and students."

Contact: Scott Saunders

Phone: 02 9351 1298

Email: 321a392a033c5c081f1c071e1534321a10312c6c0b34