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Research_

Past research events

A recent history of our research and visiting academics

Our research events reveal the depth and breadth of our expertise and interests at the Conservatorium. We invite you to peruse our previous offerings (many have videos) and join us for current events.

Special research events

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music hosts occasional workshops, conferences and seminars.

Out of the Shadows: Rediscovering Jewish Music and Theatre 

Sponsored by Performing the Jewish Archive, a British Arts and Humanities Research Council project

5 to 13 August 2017

Read the reviews:

Best Practice in Artistic Research in Music Symposium

Convened by Professor Neal Peres Da Costa, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

27 to 29 September 2017

Meter Symposium 2             

Keynote speaker: Professor Richard Cohn, Yale University

24 to 25 February 2017

Watch the YouTube video

 

Presence through sound: A concert of contemporary music from or related to East Asia

Organised by Dr Catherine Ingram, Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Professor Keith Howard, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK

29 to 30 March 2016

Meter Symposium

Keynote speaker: Professor Dean Rickles

24 June 2016

 

Japanese Noh Workshop

Professor Richard Emmert, Guest Instructor

27 to 28 February 2015

Image-Music-Text Interdisciplinary Symposium

20 March 2015

Noh Performance

Collaboration between author Allan Marett, composer Richard Emmert and master actor-teacher of the Kita School of Japanese classical Noh theatre, Akira Matsui,

30 September to 1 October 2015

Musicological Society of Australia National Conference

1 to 4 October 2015

Dialogues on Australia-China Music Research and Education

6 October 2015

Musical manuscripts and their legacies: A symposium in honour of Jane Morlet Hardie

Convened by Alan Maddox and Kathleen Nelson, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

14 June 2013

Raymond Hanson Centenary Symposium and Concert

Convened by Assoicate Professor Kathleen Nelson and Dr Joanna Drimatis, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

23 November 2013

 

Alfred Hook lecture series

The Alfred Hook lecture series is made possible through a generous bequest from Doreen Robson.

Life in music – Field notes from a practitioner

Presented by Genevieve Lacey

(Part of the Best Practice in Artistic Research in Music Symposium)

29 September 2017

Testimony, Facticity, and Musical Truth-Telling

Presented by Brigid Cohen

10 August 2017

How Haydn clinches closure

Presented by Dean Sutcliffe

6 October 2016

Watch this lecture on YouTube

New ways for old ceremonies: An archival research project

Presented by Payi Linda Ford

11 May 2016

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Cognitive research and South Asian music

Presented by Richard Widdess

13 April 2015

Watch this lecture on YouTube

The deep history and near future of music

Presented by Gary Tomlinson

3 October 2015

Watch this lecture on YouTube

A Platonic model of funky rhythms, or how to get that swing

Presented by Richard Cohn

22 March 2013

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Works of music and their interpretation in performance

Presented by Professor Paul Thom

17 May 2013

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Performing Monteverdi: Some problems (and a few solutions)

Presented by Professor Tim Carter

7 June 2013

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Dancing to the devil’s tune: Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz and the power of virtuosity

Presented by Dr David Larkin

2 August 2013

Watch this lecture on YouTube

The Iconic Symphony: Conducting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony Wagner’s Way

Presented by Dr Raymond Holden

9 August 2013

Bards of Empire: Kipling and Grainger, Kipling’s life and how works are reflected in the music of Grainger and others

Presented by Associate Professor Michael Halliwell and David Miller AM

30 August 2013

Watch this lecture on YouTube

We are all musical: A celebration of human musicality and its importance for health and wellbeing

Professor Raymond MacDonald

27 September 2013

Charles Valentin Alkan (1813-1888) 200 years on

Presented by Associate Professor Stephanie McCallum

25 October 2013

The mysteries of Gregorian Chant revealed

Presented by Dr Neil McEwan AM FRSCM

20 April 2012

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Jazz or Post-Jazz? The ‘J’ word in the 21st century

Presented by Paul Grabowsky

25 May 2012

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Lab coats, sound aquarelles and war loot: The history of early electronic music and its links to today’s electronic music scenes

Presented by Lieven Bertels

31 August 2012

Watch this lecture on YouTube

The sounding of Australian history: ‘Daisy Bates at Ooldea’, a new opera by Bob Reece and Anne Boyd

Presented by Bob Reece and Anne Boyd

21 September 2012

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Structure in music: What’s the law got to do with it?

Presented by George Palmer AM QC

26 October 2012

Watch this lecture on YouTube

On inspiration

Elena Kats-Chernin

4 March 2011

From Melba to Sutherland: Australian Singers on Record

Presented by Roger Neill

8 April 2011

Watch this lecture on YouTube

My history of jazz in Australia

Presented by Bob Barnard

19 August 2011

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Ten years in: a European perspective on 21st century composing

Presented by Richard Toop

26 March 2010

Watch this lecture on YouTube

About Music Education public lecture series

Each semester we invite leading practitioners and researchers to open discussion with a 20-minute TED-style presentation on a topic of their choice followed by a facilitated Q&A.

Technology in Music Education Public Presentation of Learning

24 November 2017

About Music Education: Sounds of hope: Musical outreach and wellbeing for young refugees and migrants

23 October 2017

EdTech x About Music Education: When copyright law prevents best practice

19 October 2017

About Music Education: Building Bridges: Research and Practice in Aural Skills Training

Presented by Gary Karpinski

10 August 2017

Watch this lecture on YouTube

About Music Education: Your aural is better than you think

Presented by Samantha Coates

5 June 2017

Watch this lecture on YouTube

About Music Education: Teach Meet

22 May 2017

About Music Education: Crosstown Traffic

Presented by Peter Mahony

1 May 2017

Watch this lecture on YouTube

About Music Education: Most Likely to Succeed (documentary)

10 April 2017

About Music Education: A Conservatorium High School for the 21st Century

Presented by Ian Barker, Deputy Principal, Conservatorium High School

20 March 2017

About Music Education: ePortfolios in Australian Universities (Book launch)

Presented by Jennifer Rowley

13 March 2017

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Teach Meet 2

19 September 2016

Don’t shoot the syllabus

Presented by Brad Fuller

12 September 2016

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Liveschool: Theory through practice

Presented by Adam Maggs

5 September 2016

‘Music Concepts’ Crisis! The increasing invisibility of musical knowledge in the classroom

Presented by Michael Webb and Christine Carroll

8 August 2016

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Why piano lessons are so this century (and ... not)

Presented by Elissa Milne

23 May 2016

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Why you should be teaching hip-hop

Presented by Luka Lesson and Jordan Thomas Mitchell

9 May 2016

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Teach Meet

11 April 2016

Mentoring future teachers

Presented by Rebecca Grubb and Annabelle Osborne

21 March 2016

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Music and 21st century education

Presented by James Humberstone

14 March 2016

Watch this lecture on YouTube

Musicology Colloquium series

Every fortnight during semester, our musicologists and research visitors present a lecture on a variety of topics.

The Art of Fugue in the context of Bach’s final decade

Presented by Associate Professor Daniel Herscovitch, The University of Sydney

15 March 2017

The Art of Fugue marks the conclusion of Bach’s compositional career. This presentation discusses the work in its relationship to the other five major compositions of his final decade.

Music in the Life and Work of Patrick White

Presented by Vincent Plush, The University of Adelaide

29 March 2017

There is music on almost every page of Australian novelist Patrick White's work, and music is a structural foundation for White’s novels and characters. This lecture explores its influence.

St Augustine High School and the spectre of teen activism in New Orleans 1961-63

Presented by Dr Christopher Coady, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

12 April 2017

How political action undertaken by teenagers a St Augustine High School in New Orleans resonated with and inspired community engagement in parallel political pursuits.

Poetic and empirical theories of musical meter: Cognitive dissonance in the historical archive, the laboratory, and the modern conservatory classroom

Presented by Professor Richard Cohn, Yale University

26 April 2017

Is the binary strong/weak classification of beats absolute? Tracking tensions from 18th-century poetics and theorists in Germany and Scotland to present day concepts.

Colourful dreams: Arvo Pärt’s Soviet film music

Presented by Chris May, University of Oxford

10 May 2017

In the 20 years before leaving the Soviet Union in 1980, Estonian composer Arvo Pärt composed some 40 scores for Soviet film – a substantial yet under-critiqued body of work.

Singing ‘fantastically in Italian’: Farinelli, Porpora, and the third style of composition

Presented by Michael Burden, University of Oxford

24 May 2017

Singers Felice Salimbeni and Gaetano Caffarello were taught by composer Nicola Porpora in a manner some commentators called a 'third style'. What is it? Real or myth?

Tracing the origins of an Aboriginal travelling song: the Wanji-wanji of the Western Desert

Presented by Dr Myfany Turpin, University of Sydney

2 August 2017

Like folk songs, 'travelling' songs toured across political, ethnic and language divides, gaining popularity rapidly. This seminar considers examples, with musical and linguistic evidence.

Melanesians and music on the move: South Sea Island shipboard and plantation performance in Queensland, 1860s-1906

Presented by Dr Michael Webb, University of Sydney

23 August 2017

Casting new light on the ways South Sea Islanders acted out agency and asserted new identities as they became tangled up in the dynamics of colonial encounters.

Analyzing difference: Compositions, performing traditions, and individual artistic signatures

Presented by Professor Dorottya Fabian, University of NSW

6 September 2017

Taking Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solos Violin, this paper argues enlisting Deleuzian concepts in analysing performances of the same piece is useful for performance practice.

War divides, music connects: Music as a tool for empathy

Presented by Laura Hassler, Founder and Director, Musicians without Borders

13 September 2017

As musicians and music professionals, which core qualities of the artform we love can we access to help save lives, bridge divides, and heal the wounds of war and injustice?

Varietas delectat: Alternative readings in the sources, editions and performances of J S Bach’s Solo Cello Suites

Presented by Dr Zoltán Szabó, The University of Sydney

4 October 2017

Based on Bach's Suites, exploring how music can undergo great alterations during the process of composition, copying, editing, publishing and, finally, performance.

Music and intellectual history: the case of J S Bach’s St Matthew Passion

Presented by Dr Alan Maddox, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

18 October

How St Matthew Passion was conceived in a liturgical context, how its meaning changed in concert performance in 19th century Berlin and colonial Sydney, and other reimaginings.

Two routes to epiphany in music, song and literature

Presented by Professor Nigel Fabb, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

9 March 2016

Distinguishing between exogenous and endogenous epiphany (a subjectively significant experience triggered by an external source) and tracing their connection in Aboriginal songs.

Secrets of the grave: New light on Brahms’s Funeral works

Presented by Martin Ennis, University of Cambridge

23 March 2016

Looking afresh at conductor Siegfried Ochs’s comments on the Requiem and its apparent refusal to offer a Christian message and proposing a new perspective on the work's origins. 

The battle for hearts and minds: Liszt and the Viennese critics, March 1858

Dr David Larkin, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

27 April 2016

Focusing on two concerts of Liszt's music which Liszt conducted in the Austrian capital in 1858, as which there is rich extant documentation in the press and in his correspondence.

Reconsidering ethnographic comparison in music research

Dr Catherine Ingram, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

25 May 2016

Insights into the music-making of selected cultural minorities in Australia and China and exploring how new musical ethnographic comparative approaches may be developed.

Analysing and composing with the performing body

Assistant Professor Jocelyn Ho, UCLA

27 July 2016

Focusing on live performance, with the performer’s body central to investigating analysis and composition as reciprocal processes, and how bodily gestures are key to creating music.

Keeping an eye on summer: A (short) narrative of the Beach Boys’ 1960s music through popular music analysis and visual musicology

Dr Jadey O’Regan, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

10 August 2016

Exploring song structures, instrumentation, chord progressions and lyrics to show how the Beach Boys’ music moved through three distinct periods of development.

Film as opera: A case study

Presented by Associate Professor Michael Halliwell, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

24 August 2016

From David Lean’s 1945 film Brief Encounter and Noel Coward’s 1936 play Still Life to André Previn's 2009 opera. How Previn's adaptation drew on different elements of both source works.

Abandoned notes? Exploring the fate of a discarded Rachmaninoff piano sketch

Presented by Dr Scott Davie, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

21 September 2016

Placing the discovered piano piece within the context of Rachmaninoff’s development as a composer, from experimental modernity to stylistically unique to popular variation-style works.

Graduate Symposium: the development section

Presented by Professor Dean Sutcliffe, University of Auckland

7 October 2016

What purpose could an abdication of normal musical syntax serve? How would listeners react? Considered with reference to Brunetti, Mozart, Kraus, Pleyel, Joseph and Michael Haydn.

Out of the depths: Complexity, subjectivity and materiality in the first collection of Holocaust songs

Presented by Joseph Toltz, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

19 October 2016

Focusing on the first post-Holocaust songbook Mima’amakim, compiled by Yehuda Eismann in 1945. How does it open conversations on the place of music inside and outside testimony?

Meter Without Tactus

Presented by Richard Cohn (Musicology)

11 March 2015

This presentation critiques the view that meter has a primary pulse, or tactus and concludes by advocating for a new metric pedagogy that emphasises integration of pulses without privileging one of them.

Insights in Sound: Visually-Impaired Musicians’ Lives and Learning

Presented by David Baker (Institute of Education, University of London)

18 March

This project investigates the musical experiences of blind and partially-sighted people through life history interviews and an online survey. 

“The finest and grandest work ever created by human genius”: The first Sydney performance of J.S Bach’s St Matthew Passion

Presented by Alan Maddox (Musicology)

15 April

Archival records and contemporary press reports paint a vivid picture of the first Sydney performance of J.S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion, in April 1880, juxtaposing its lofty cultural ambitions with a rather modest musical outcome.

Musical Melanesianism

Presented by Michael Webb (Music Education) and Camellia Webb-Gannon (Justice Research Group, University of Western Sydney)

29 April

This presentation discusses a corpus of popular songs and accompanying videos produced over the last decade that promote Melanesian regional identity.

Into the diaspora. The source, the scholars and the stacks in the digital age: an Early Modern Spanish Jeronymite Processional, Sydney Rare Book Additional Manuscript 380

Presented by Jane Hardie (Medieval and Early Modern Centre, University of Sydney)

20 May

Manuscript 380 is the fourteenth known manuscript of a Spanish Jeronymite Processional and it is one of a number Spanish liturgical music manuscripts in the diaspora of the Rare Book collection of the University of Sydney.

Autonomy as Commitment within the Modernist Project: E.J. Dent, Mozart and Aesthetic Democracy

Presented by Sarah Collins (UNSW)

3 June

This presentation explores the claim that modernist autonomy can be viewed in terms of political action, collective life and egalitarianism, via the work of music scholar E.J. Dent (1876-1957).

A Sermon, a Narrative and a Prayer – the Conservatorium and the history of educational reform

Presented by Peter McCallum (Musicology and Academic Board)

12 August

This talk arises from observations in writing The Centenary of the Con: a history of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music 1915 – 2015 (Allen and Unwin: 2015).

To Prevent the Abuse of the Open Pedal”: Meticulous Pedal Markings from Madame du Brillon to Moscheles

Presented by Erin Helyard (Australian National University)

2 September

This presentation proposes a radical re-evaluation of pedal indications in scores from the earliest markings in Madame du Brillon’s compositions to those carefully notated for two performers in duets by Moscheles.

Shotgun Weddings and Bohemian Dreams: Jazz, family values and storytelling in Australian film

Presented by Christopher Coady (Musicology)

16 September

This presentation charts the way in which the musical trope of the bluesy solo horn – established in American and Australian film noir productions of the 1970s and 1980s – was used in contrast to conjure a sense of nostalgia in Australian films produced during the early 1990s.

Music and Human Evolution: A New View

Presented by Gary Tomlinson (Yale University)

7 October

Why is Homo sapiens a musical species? What adaptive advantages did musicking afford in the course of our ancestors’ evolution?  This talk describes a new model of the forces that conspired in the origin of musicking, building on evolutionary dynamics that have been recognised only in recent years. 

Caught Between the Spectacular and the Vernacular: Constructing the Ideal Musical Subject in the Popular Music Museum

Presented by Charles Fairchild (Arts Music)

14 October

This presentation examine how popular music museums work primarily through their strategic deployment of the vernacular elements of popular music practice and experience as codified within a demonstratively spectacular logic of visual, aural, and material display.

Process Dilla: Engaging with Rhythmic Forms Appearing in Contemporary Hip Hop and Neo Soul

Presented by Simon Barker (Jazz)

28 October

Simon Barker offers a range of alternative parameters for rhythmic analysis of contemporary Neo Soul and Hip Hop, including the concept of non-hierarchical internal subdivision.