Professor Liam Viney
Head of School message
Thank you for being with us this year. As we approach a moment of respite I would like to share some reflections on the last twelve months with you.
If I could go back in time to January of 2020 and give myself some advice, it would be to seek out a few more live concerts while I still had the chance. COVID-19’s silencing of live music-making in group settings has been particularly hard to bear, though we are fortunate in Queensland to have returned to performances sooner than many others. Music schools around the world have grappled with the challenge of teaching an acoustically sensitive artform online, and performing while physically remote from each other.
In meeting these challenges, the UQ School of Music community has relied on its greatest asset: its people. The forbearance, creativity and empathy of our learners, teachers and researchers has been incredible. Switching dozens of courses to online mode in a matter of days is immensely disruptive, yet we did it. Maintaining a trajectory of research excellence in an unusually constrained environment might seem unlikely, but we achieved much in the creation of knowledge in 2020. Remaining hopeful and optimistic about the future has been difficult, and yet our students have risen to this challenge by putting forward their best work and choosing to follow an artistic path.
The events of 2020 have accelerated trends we’ve been talking about for some time. In particular, the way in which digital production and online dissemination creates a more democratised and participatory musical culture. Musicians at any stage can more easily bypass institutions and connect with audiences. For example our own students at UQ created beautiful collaborative videos, and the School’s investment in live streaming technology allowed us to present a flourishing online concert series, delivered direct to devices around the world. I’ll never forget the thrill of connection in the first moments of our very first live stream concert at the height of Queensland’s lockdown.
At the same time, that sense of buzz around our first live stream concert only confirms the yearning that many feel for in-person concert experiences. The concert hall is one of the last remaining places where people come together for communal, mutually respectful, empathy-inducing listening. The act of deep listening is clearly becoming harder to practice in a fractious and noisy world, so we must hold on to opportunities where they exist. We’re looking forward to continuing to connect to audiences online, while also welcoming people back into our spaces in 2021.
Looking further ahead, we stand to benefit from the breadth and depth of our musical offerings in a world that is even more complex than we anticipated only twelve months ago. The insights we get from the psychology of music to understand the role of music in our lives will help us adapt to a different world. Advances in music technology will enable us to creatively connect to each other in new ways. Musicianship and musicology will ensure our musical foundations are strong and that we carry core knowledge with us into new scenarios. The nexus of performance and composition will allow us to reflect and shape the changing world around us.
I thank everyone for their contribution to music in 2020; students, staff, friends, partners, and supporters alike. Without you, we wouldn't enjoy the defining feature of our School: a sense of community built on the musical relationships that bind us.
Please enjoy the infographic above for fun facts and figures about the year that was 2020 at the UQ School of Music.
School of Music
Virtual Concert Series
In 2020 the School of Music was proud to present a series of world class livestreamed concerts from the Nickson Room and UQ Art Museum.
These concerts represented a major development for the School as we reached audiences in nine countries across the globe.
The concert series featured students, staff and alumni who presented a diverse and eclectic range of music.
Phoebe Russell and
"The repertoire for today’s concert was chosen due to my personal connection with each piece. An eclectic range of works are represented in the program, including songs for voice and pieces that highlight the virtuosity of the double bass. 7 lockdown miniatures for 2 basses was written especially for my husband and me by our close friend Paul Dean, with each short movement representing different days of a week during the Brisbane lockdown in April. I’ve also wanted to perform the other pieces in today’s program for a long time, and this period of isolation gave me the opportunity to learn this beautiful new repertoire. I am truly ecstatic to be performing at the UQ School of Music (albeit, virtually) after such a long period of very few concerts!"
- Phoebe Russell, QSO Double Bassist.
Australian Music Concert
UQ students came together to showcase seminal works by iconic Australian composers of the 20th and 21st century. Together with Southern Cross Soloist pianist Alex Raineri, our students guided audiences through an evocative musical landscape of Carl Vine, Arthur Benjamin and Andrew Ford. The performance also featured a world premiere of FIVE, which was written by UQ composition students.
Listen to FIVE via the Soundcloud link below.
Agony by Stephen Sondheim
The UQ Singers performed a variety of styles from Mozart to Sondheim. Consisting of solos, duets, and trios, the singers weaved a program of melodic delights in collaboration with pianist Alex Raineri.
During the rehearsal we were able to capture a special moment of Connor Wilmore (left) and Troy Castle (right) performing the flagship song of the concert Agony.
In 2020 the UQ School of Music launched the Friends of Music Scholarship Fund
This philanthropic initiative supports the studies of a first year Bachelor of Music (Honours) performance student
In 2020 we were thrilled to award the funding to violinist In Yi Chae
The Friends of Music Scholarship
In Yi Chae
In Yi was the inaugural recipient of the The Friends of Music Scholarship Fund in 2020.
In Yi finished high school in 2019 and has already performed with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra after winning the 2016 English Family Prize competition (now known as the Young Instrumentalist Prize). She is currently studying under the tutelage of Associate Professor Adam Chalabi.
You can support the musical journey of a student like In Yi by giving to The Friends of Music Scholarship Fund via the link below.
In Yi Chae and Alex Raineri
In Yi collaborated with Brisbane Music Festival’s artistic director and Southern Cross Soloist pianist Alex Raineri to present a spectacular livestreamed concert that featured works by Eugène Ysaÿe and Samuel Barber.
The performance was the first livestreamed concert a UQ student had participated in. Audiences around the world experienced first-hand how the School's teaching and learning curriculum nurtures the talents of students like In Yi, so they may contribute to Australia’s cultural and artistic landscape.
UQ Excellence Awards
Excellence in Community, Diversity, and Inclusion 2020
In 2020 the UQ School of Music was proud to be awarded a commendation for the Award for Excellence in Community, Diversity and Inclusion.
The School received a nomination for the award following their production of Deborah Cheetham's seminal work Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace.
Through a collaborative effort between the School of Music and ATSIS Unit, Eumeralla was performed at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre as part of the Vice-Chancellor's Concert Series in 2019.
The production epitomises UQ's ongoing efforts to promote reconciliation, mutual respect, and diversity through innovative, engaging, and creative means.
Music from UQ
In 2020 the School of Music featured staff and students on the Music at UQ 4MBS Classic FM radio show; presenting recordings, research and current news from the School. Our partnership with 4MBS has always aimed to foster and grow art music in Australia, while providing our constituents with a rich and joyous experience of music.
In 2020 we were particularly thrilled to debut our musicology researchers and HDR students on the radio program. Click on our Soundcloud link below to listen to a selection of our programs from this year.
The UQ School of Music has continued to produce outstanding world-class research throughout 2020.
The School's research was supported by the Australian Council for the Arts, the Australian Research Council and internal UQ Funding - including over half a million dollars in Research Infrastructure Investment Scheme grants.
XR Space scheduled for 2021
Dr Eve Klein received funding as part of a Research Infrastructure Investment Scheme to build an immersive media arts laboratory titled What-If Lab: XR Space.
The space will be a laboratory for developing innovative, immersive artworks; incorporating digital media that will be created across UQ disciplines and in collaboration with community and industry. It will foster transdisciplinary projects for creating film, literature, art, games/software and performance works.
The What-If Lab is a new HASS research initiative which uses arts driven research and public engagement projects to solve global problems and imagine new futures.
Music on the Mind
New research frontiers for UQ researchers
Psychology of Music expert Dr Mary Broughton is leading a team of researchers that has been awarded a UQ Research Infrastructure Investment Scheme that will be used to purchase vital state-of-the-art equipment for measuring human behaviour, cognitive and emotional processes in real-world settings.
Dr Broughton’s grant will enable the School of Music at The University of Queensland (UQ) to undertake vital research projects with a new suite of portable psychophysiological, sociometric and motion-capture equipment.
“I believe that music is fundamental to what it means to be human and will inevitably play an integral role in an ever increasing digitised global community,” said Dr Broughton.
“Embracing digital tools to help us understand music and human thought, feeling, action and interaction more broadly calls for cross-disciplinary collaboration to make of sense of big data. Collaboration is crucial in a world where the ‘Internet of Things’ is becoming embedded in our daily lives, and where events such as COVID-19 push us to rely on and adapt to the digital world.”
The scheme will foster cross-disciplinary collaborations for rich human endeavours to survive and thrive, while developing cutting edge research approaches that will complement our traditional ways of conducting research.
This will mean that researchers beyond music and across 12 Schools/Institutes and 6 Faculties at the University will now have access to portable specialised equipment that can objectively measure human behaviour, emotion and cognitive processes in a variety of real-world settings, such as classrooms, concert halls, clinics, business meetings, and tourist attractions.
Dr Broughton commented on the impact of this funding, “It supports growth in collaborative capacity, research training, and industry engagement. The investment supports our research towards nothing less than transforming our societies; empowering people to lead healthier lives; and developing the technology for tomorrow.”
This equipment builds on the current infrastructure at the ARC Science of Learning Research Centre and is expected to be utilised by academics working across the fields of music, education, psychology, neuroscience, engineering, mathematics, social science and health-focused domains.
Want to join us on our Journey?