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.
The Sydney Conservatorium of Music hosts occasional workshops, conferences and seminars.
3 - 4 April 2018
Supported by funding from the Royal Society UK, our Research Unit for Musical Diversity and the University of Sydney’s Southeast Asia Studies Centre.
Co-organised by Dr Catherine Ingram (Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and Associate Professor KAO Ya-ning (National Chengchi University).
Tuesday 7 August 2018
Supported by funding from the China Studies Centre, the University of Sydney and the Australian Research Council. We are also grateful for support from our visitors’ institutions: Guangxi University for Nationalities, Guangxi Arts Institute and the National Chengchi University.
25 September 2018
Organised by Professor Neal Peres Da Costa, Mr Daniel Yeadon and Professor Clive Brown.
27 - 30 September 2018
Organised by Andrea Calilhanna (Master of Music (Musicology) student), Dr Alan Maddox and Dr Michael Webb.
24 - 25 November 2018
Supported by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Musicology and Music Education Divisions, Western Sydney University, MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development (co-presenter of the Keynote), Musicology Society of Australia, Sydney Chapter, Music Teachers’ Association of NSW and the Ian Potter Foundation.
13 - 14 December 2018
Indigenous Music and Dance is hosted by researchers working on a new project documenting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music and dance in Australia’s ‘long’ assimilation era (1935-75), which aims to excavate archival records and combine them with oral histories, connecting historical objects with living people, and performative responses to the historical records. The symposium will showcase performance-centred frameworks for understanding cultural agency in Indigenous histories.
Sponsored by Performing the Jewish Archive, a British Arts and Humanities Research Council project
5 to 13 August 2017
Read the reviews:
Convened by Professor Neal Peres Da Costa, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
27 to 29 September 2017
Keynote speaker: Professor Richard Cohn, Yale University
24 to 25 February 2017
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
Keynote speaker: Professor Dean Rickles
24 June 2016
Professor Richard Emmert, Guest Instructor
27 to 28 February 2015
20 March 2015
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
1 to 4 October 2015
6 October 2015
Convened by Alan Maddox and Kathleen Nelson, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
14 June 2013
Convened by Assoicate Professor Kathleen Nelson and Dr Joanna Drimatis, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
23 November 2013
The Alfred Hook lecture series is made possible through a generous bequest from Doreen Robson.
Presented by Dr Edward Herbst
3 April 2018
Presented by Claire Chase
21 May 2018
Presented by Genevieve Lacey
(Part of the Best Practice in Artistic Research in Music Symposium)
29 September 2017
Presented by Brigid Cohen
10 August 2017
Presented by Richard Cohn
22 March 2013
Presented by Professor Paul Thom
17 May 2013
Presented by Professor Tim Carter
7 June 2013
Presented by Dr David Larkin
2 August 2013
Presented by Dr Raymond Holden
9 August 2013
Presented by Associate Professor Michael Halliwell and David Miller AM
30 August 2013
Professor Raymond MacDonald
27 September 2013
Presented by Associate Professor Stephanie McCallum
25 October 2013
Presented by Dr Neil McEwan AM FRSCM
20 April 2012
Presented by Paul Grabowsky
25 May 2012
Presented by Lieven Bertels
31 August 2012
Presented by Bob Reece and Anne Boyd
21 September 2012
Presented by George Palmer AM QC
26 October 2012
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.
8 October 2018
Presented by Kathryn Marsh
24 October 2018
2 November 2018
6 November 2018
Presented by Réka Csernyik
23 November 2018
24 November 2017
23 October 2017
19 October 2017
Presented by Gary Karpinski
10 August 2017
Presented by Samantha Coates
5 June 2017
22 May 2017
Presented by Peter Mahony
1 May 2017
10 April 2017
Presented by Ian Barker, Deputy Principal, Conservatorium High School
20 March 2017
Presented by Jennifer Rowley
13 March 2017
19 September 2016
Presented by Brad Fuller
12 September 2016
Presented by Adam Maggs
5 September 2016
Presented by Michael Webb and Christine Carroll
8 August 2016
Presented by Elissa Milne
23 May 2016
Presented by Luka Lesson and Jordan Thomas Mitchell
9 May 2016
11 April 2016
Presented by Rebecca Grubb and Annabelle Osborne
21 March 2016
Presented by James Humberstone
14 March 2016
Every fortnight during semester, our musicologists and research visitors present a lecture on a variety of topics.
David Larkin (Musicology division)
8 August 2018
This colloquium explores this contested terrain in the aftermath of the 1848-9 revolutions, situating artistic innovation within broader philosophical discourse about progress, and interrogating how both sides understood the relationship between composers and the audiences of the day.
Presented by James Mitchell
22 August 2018
Today the Thai popular music industry dominates mainland Southeast Asia through two of Asia’s largest entertainment companies GMM Grammy and RSiam. The roots of this profitable recording industry lie in a brief period, from 1903 to 1911, when the Gramophone Company, Odeon, Pathé, Beka and a host of smaller companies engaged in a race to record the world’s music so asto gain market share (Gronow 1981: 56-65). During the final ‘golden’ decade of King Chulalongkorn’s long reign, the new gramophone technology functioned as an influential site of interaction between Siamese royalty and court musicians, Chinese and Malay compradors and European recording experts. The story of this interaction demonstrates the effects of Siam’s semi-colonisation by the British and Chinese on the development of Thai music and the broader issue of how discography and discology can be usefully incorporated into the field of ethnomusicology. Merriam’s criticism of “armchair analysis” (1964: 39) is contrasted with a discussion of National Taiwan University’s Recording in East and Southeast Asia (RIESA) Project.
Presented by James Humberstone (Music Education)
5 September 2018
The University of Sydney launched its first Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) in April 2016. Titled “The Place of Music in 21st Century Education”, it presented seemingly contradictory contemporary research and practice from the field as a series of provocations for critical thinking. It did not advocate for any one position, instead hoping to prompt worldview change toward a more pluralist, inclusive music education. Participants were prompted to think carefully not just to gain marks, but because their thoughts had to be blogged publicly. Two years later, over 3,000 musicians, teachers, artists, academics, and interested public internationally have been active learners in the course. They have also agreed for any data they generate to be used for research purposes. In this paper, having formed a research team with Dr Danny Liu and Catherine Zhao, James will consider what our first analyses of hundreds of thousands of clicks, polls, blog posts, marks, and written feedback might be telling us about our participants, whether we see evidence of changing worldviews, and think about what this might mean for music education
Presented by Jessica Sun
19 September 2018
In 1641, the painter Andrea Sacchi immortalized the Roman castrato Marc'Antonio Pasqualini in an allegorical portrait, in which the singer appears alongside the mythological musicians Apollo and Marsyas. While the painting celebrates the sitter's musical triumph, the inclusion of the satyr Marsyas, bound and awaiting punishment, is a sinister and enigmatic detail. Is it an allusion to Pasqualini's own status as a mutilated singer? Does it offer a warning against Dionysian passions, in favour of Apollonian control? This paper takes Marc'Antonio Pasqualini Crowned by Apollo as a starting point and case-study for how the multifaceted myth of Apollo and Marsyas functions in seventeenth-century painting and allegory. It will compare Pasqualini's portrait with works by Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian and Caravaggio, and examine the symbolically versatile figure of Marsyas as he appears in Italian Humanist discourse, treatises on the visual arts, and anatomical textbooks.
Presented by Michael Halliwell (Vocal and Opera Studies)
3 October 2018
Shakespeare’s Hamlet has intrigued, exasperated, and mostly defied opera composers for over 400 years. Only one operatic version of the play, by Ambroise Thomas (1868), has until now enjoyed a tenuous place in the repertoire. Yet there have been over forty documented versions. Franco Faccio’s Hamlet (1865), with libretto by Arigo Boito, was successful when premiered, then dropped completely out of the repertoire. A Bregenz Festival revival in 2016 revealed a taut, and engrossing adaptation and a masterful condensation of the play. Also in the Shakespeare year of 2016, an innovative interpretation by German composer, Anno Schreier, who reimagined the play as a claustrophobic family drama, was premiered at the Theater an der Wien. A year later Brett Dean’s Hamlet appeared at Glyndebourne to universal acclaim, and was repeated in Adelaide in March 2018, and seems destined to be added to the current repertoire with performances at the New York Metropolitan Opera and in Europe lined up. The focus of this presentation is on Dean’s opera, but contrasts it with the Faccio and Schreier operas, investigating what elements in the play are amenable to operatic adaptation.
Presnted by Dr Jade O'Regan
31 Octover 2018
The nature of musical creativity is at times difficult to define. In popular music, many song writing books and tutorials encourage musicians to write “without boundaries” and to “break through” the blocks or rules they unconsciously have when creating new music. On the other hand, having no rules at all for creativity can lead to an overwhelming array of musical choices, resulting in a creative paralysis. This paper aims to look at how enforced creative rules can impact the way new songs are written, recorded and performed live. These concepts will be analysed through the music of 1990s indie pop band Ben Folds Five, and Ben Folds’ subsequent solo work after the break-up of the group.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Presented by Dr Alan Maddox, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Presented by David Baker (Institute of Education, University of London)
This project investigates the musical experiences of blind and partially-sighted people through life history interviews and an online survey.
Presented by Alan Maddox (Musicology)
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.
Presented by Michael Webb (Music Education) and Camellia Webb-Gannon (Justice Research Group, University of Western Sydney)
This presentation discusses a corpus of popular songs and accompanying videos produced over the last decade that promote Melanesian regional identity.
Presented by Jane Hardie (Medieval and Early Modern Centre, University of Sydney)
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.
Presented by Sarah Collins (UNSW)
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).
Presented by Peter McCallum (Musicology and Academic Board)
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).
Presented by Erin Helyard (Australian National University)
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.
Presented by Christopher Coady (Musicology)
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.
Presented by Gary Tomlinson (Yale University)
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.
Presented by Charles Fairchild (Arts Music)
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.
Presented by Simon Barker (Jazz)
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.