School of Music

Research Seminar Series

Alessandro Pittorino - Organ


Tunley Lecture Theatre










































Rehearsal Group, Kerala

As part of our research, we have developed a series of seminars covering a broad range of musical areas.

Semester 1 2016

All seminars are held on Tuesdays, commencing at 5.00pm in the Tunley Lecture Theatre.

Topics will be added as they become available.

  • 1 March

New HDR students orientation

All members of the UWA Music research community are welcome to meet as usual at 5pm to launch the 2016 Seminar series prior to moving to the University club to celebrate the new academic year.

  • 8 March

Nicholas Bannan: Unravelling the music/language helix

Nicholas spent 2015 working firstly at the Department of Evolutionary Psychology in Oxford, and then on a tour of American institutions that included visits to the Juilliard, Eastman, University of Washington and UCLA. This presentation is influenced by encounters during his studies overseas, as well as in response to recent publications in linguistics by Noam Chomsky and Gary Tomlinson in musicology.  It sets out to examine the somewhat fraught debate in academia that addresses the evolution of human culture, and the role played in child development today by the media of speech and musical vocality.

  • 15 March

Brian Finlayson: Instrumental and Chamber music education:  Parallels and differences between Australia and Europe

Originally from Melbourne, Professor Finlayson has been based in Europe for the past twenty-six years, and has been Head of Strings at the State Conservatorium of Corinthia in Klagenfurt since 2008.  This lecture will give an overview of the political, cultural and pedagogic differences between a country from the New World (Australia) and the Old (Central Europe), discussing the effects of political support, cultural expectations and acceptance, beginning with primary education to University, professional performance and job possibilities.  Professor Finlayson is present in WA as a guest of AUSTA, and will lead a chamber music masterclass at 6.30 pm featuring students drawn from UWA, WAAPA and Hale School.

  • 22 March

David Symons:  Antill and post-colonial Australian Music Research

Dr Symons' recently completed book titled Before and After Corroboree: The Music of John Antill is the latest product of 20 years or so of concentration on Australian music of the post-colonial era - a still relatively neglected and undervalued period in Australian art music history. Some reparations are apparent in the last couple of decades with the appearance of Dr Symons' two books on Margaret Sutherland and John Antill, Dr Victoria Rogers’ book on Peggy Glanville-Hicks and Roderick McNeill’s book on the Australian symphony from federation to 1960. Articles and chapters have also appeared in such publications as The Oxford Companion to Australian Music, The Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia and the Ashgate volume titled The Soundscape of Australia: Music. Place and Spirituality.

Dr Symons' present research activity is concerned with Australia’s Jindyworobak Composers - expanded from an article from 2003 and a book chapter on the music of Clive Douglas in the ‘Soundscapes’ book. All these publications have to some extent redressed the misperception of the post-colonial period in Australian art music as unworthy of more than casual historical survey.

Following this session, a brief reception will take place in the Wigmore Library to celebrate Dr Symons' achievement in publishing this latest book

  • 29 March

Jared Yapp: The Signs, Games and Messages of György Kurtág: an exploration of the version for solo viola

Despite their popularity amongst audiences and performers alike, the works of pre-eminent Hungarian composer György Kurtág have been the focus of a disproportionately small amount of research. In particular, the work known as Signs, Games and Messages has not been researched in the English language, and only once, partially, in a foreign language. The works included in Signs, Games and Messages were some of the first Kurtág wrote, and as the composition of this set is still ongoing, this serves as a fascinating ‘musical diary’ - a term used by Kurtág - in which it is possible to examine the composers musical developments and philosophical approaches. The proposed research will contextualise Signs, Games and Messages as a whole, then focus specifically on the set for solo viola in order to examine Kurtág’s musical language. These pieces for solo viola will be compared with sets for other instrumentations, if they exist, and will be analysed using a number of analytical approaches. Following the analysis, this research aims to present implications for an informed performance of movements from Signs, Games and Messages.

Gaby Gunders:  What does the pianistic collaborative experience look like from different viewpoints?  A glimpse into opinions of pianists, instrumentalists and singers.

When a singer or an instrumentalist makes a booking with a pianist, we, as the audience, get to see the ‘finished product’: the performance that is the sum of the musical abilities of the musicians and the result of their collaboration. Often, these associate artists hold very different views as to the nature of collaborative piano. This discussion will highlight some of these differing viewpoints and opinions of associate musicians.

  • 5 April

David Tunley: À l'’orient!  Early 19th -century French glimpses of the exotic

Against the wider background of East-versus-West from the time of the Crusades this paper focuses upon early 19th-century French interest in eastern music and the attempts to incorporate it into some of the songs (mélodies) of the period.  It pre-dates the music of Debussy, Ravel and others whose revolutionary musical techniques were able to absorb elements of the exotic to a far greater extent.

  • 12 April

Barbara Johnson: Jewish Women's Folksongs from Kerala, South India: A Journey in Ethnomusicology

This presentation introduces some of the "Kochini" women in South India and Israel who have sung and preserved Jewish folksongs in the Malayalam language for many generations.   Dr Barbara C. Johnson illustrates her lecture with photos, audio and video recordings from her personal acquaintance with the singers through more than 40 years of collecting and studying their songs.  She is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Ithaca College, USA.

19 April

  • 26 April

Pedro Alvarez: Situational composition and beyond

Pedro Alvarez's work from recent years in the field of composition seeks to deviate from a processual unfolding of music to focus formal concerns on static situations and their sheer juxtaposition. Drawing on historic and contemporary links, I will contextualise these creative endeavours, establishing connections with both theoretical and musical influences. Concrete examples will show the different ways in which these ideas are explored in music, in order to introduce more recent undertakings that project this approach in new directions.

  •  3 May

Dr Christopher Tonkin and Ashley Smith: TBC

  • 10 May

New HDR candidates’ initial presentations
  • 17 May

  • 24 May

New HDR candidates initial presentations
Honours students initial presentations
  • 31 May

Honours students initial presentations

2016 Callaway Lecture

  • Martyn Evans

Time and date

  • 7pm
  • Wednesday 19 October