UWA School of Music

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The UWA School of Music is part of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Western Australia. It is located at the North-East corner of the Crawley campus and teaches predominately Classical music, with focus in the undergraduate curriculum on performance, as well as overall strength in musicology, composition and ethnomusicology.

Looking towards the UWA School of Music from the east


The school started life as part of the education faculty under the foundation Professor Sir Frank Callaway. It was the fourth Australian university to establish courses in music (after Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney).[1] The first graduates to include a significant study of music in their degrees were two Music Education students in 1957. This followed shortly thereafter with the appointment of Frank Callaway as the foundation professor, concurrently with the establishment of the department of music in 1959.

First graduates followed in 1960 (one being the noted composer Jennifer Fowler) with a BA in Music, and the first graduates from the Bachelor of Music degree emerged in 1965. The first students to graduate with post-graduate qualifications emerged in 1971, and the late seventies saw the beginning of the Bachelor of Music Education - the department now having come full circle from its roots.[2]

In 1991, the Department of Music became a School in its own right, as part of the change of structure across the university that reduced the number of faculties.[3]

Faculty & ensembles[edit]

The School of Music has several notable members of staff in the fields of Musicology, Performance and Composition such as Dr. David Symons, Dr. Victoria Rogers, Winthrop Professor Paul Wright,[4] Dr. Chris Tonkin,[5] Dr. Suzie Wijsman, Graeme Gilling[6] and Dr. Nicholas Bannan.[7][8] In January 2012, Dr. Alan Lourens[9] was appointed Head of the School of Music.[10] Recent appointments have included Ashley William Smith[11] as Head of Woodwinds and Contemporary Performance, and Andrew Foote [12] as Head of Voice.

Former Faculty include pianist Emeritus Professor Dr. Geoffrey Lancaster AM FAHA, composer Emeritus Professor Dr. Roger Smalley AM FAHA, musicologist Emeritus Professor Dr. David Tunley AM FAHA, Winthrop Professor Jane W Davidson, John Exton,[13] and Mark Coughlan.[14] Foundation Professor Sir Frank Callaway was a leading figure in Music Education in Australia, and a former President of the International Society for Music Education.[15]

The school has a number of important performing ensembles. The UWA Orchestra is one of Australia's notable student ensembles,[16] with the Winthrop Singers[17][18] and the Symphonic Choir offering students the opportunity to sing in chamber and large choirs. A recently re-established UWA Wind Orchestra has performed regularly across campus. The UWA Big Band[19] is an occasional ensemble formed for special events.

As a signatory to the constitution of the Australian Music Education Board (AMEB), the Head of Keyboard Studies, Graeme Gilling, holds a seat on the AMEB Federal Board.[20]

Honorary Research Fellows include composers Iain Grandage, Richard Mills, AM, and Carl Vine, early music specialist and administrator Emeritus Professor Margaret Seares Guitarist Craig Ogden,[21] and organist and choral director Joseph Nolan[8][22]

The School also hosts Festival Baroque Australia, Australia's first Baroque Music festival.[23]

Undergraduate courses[edit]

Students rehearsing in the Eileen Joyce Studio. Note the collection of historical and notable keyboard instruments behind them.

In 2012, UWA adopted a new set of standard degrees, similar to other universities in Australia who have been examining the "Melbourne Model"[24] This requires students to take at least one major, and other related areas. In line with this model, there are four modes of study for Music at UWA.[25]

  1. The First Major in Music gives students the ability to take Music Studies, including one-on-one tuition on their instrument (or composition) for a year. Normally, students will pick up another major (often Engineering Studies, Languages or Sciences) in other parts of the university.
  2. The Dual Major in Music students must take Music Studies and Specialist Music Studies as their two majors. This is the performance intensive course for students who are passionate about music.
  3. Students who take the Second Major in Music option are not required to audition. However, their music experience will be limited to the academic study of music (Music Language, Musicology and Enthnomusicology). They will not take lessons or be in any ensembles unless they undertake a broadening unit in music.
  4. The Broadening units in Music are designed to give all students on campus a musical experience if they wish and are qualified to do so. Broadening units include performance options such as large ensemble in both auditioned (Orchestra, Wind Orchestra and Winthrop Singers) and non-auditioned (Show choir, Percussion ensemble) form. The non-auditioned ensembles give students who have no musical experience at all the opportunity to perform music. Also offered as Broadening units are academic studies such as History, Music Language, and Music and Science units.

The school has an enviable reputation in performance, evidenced by the list of alumni below that represent professional members of all major Australian orchestras (see below). In composition, there are large number of outstanding alumni. In 2011, James Ledger's (both an Alumni and member of the music faculty) work Chronicles was voted as a "Classical Masterpiece", and the best Australian Masterpiece since 2000.


Entry to the School of Music is a two-stage process that requires both an audition for the school of music, and admission to the university. Auditions are held towards the end of the year, and require students to undertake both performance and aural activities.[26]

Admission to the university usually requires an ATAR of 80 or more.[27] UWA does, however, offer many points of access, and non-standard admission to the university is not unusual.[28][29]

Post graduate degrees[edit]

The UWA School of Music graduated its first postgraduate student in 1967, and its first PhD student in 1971.[30] Currently, the School offers the following postgraduate qualifications:

  • Master of Arts (Music)
  • Master of Music
  • Master of Music Practitioner Studies
  • Doctor of Music
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Music)

Music buildings[edit]

Callaway Auditorium with the seating fully extended

Located on the North Eastern corner of the Crawley campus, the School of Music overlooks the Swan River. The current buildings were opened in 1978. In a contemporary report discussing the large number of towering pine trees in the adjacent outdoor auditorium, the architects noted "the retention of the present special qualities of Sommerville Auditorium and its unique character is considered a priority in the total solution".[31] The most recent work (2012) has been the addition of a large elevator on the northern edge.

Within the School of Music are a number of specialist facilities. The Wigmore Music Library,[32] named for the mother of a significant donor, is one of the leading academic music collections in Australia, housed in a building whose large glass wall is designed to bring the gardens and pine trees of Sommerville Auditorium into the study area. The Eileen Joyce studio, dedicated to the memory of one of Australia's great pianists, houses a significant collection of antique and current keyboard instruments, and is an regularly used for chamber music performances. It received a considerable upgrade to the facility as part of the repair process following devastating storms in March, 2010.[33]

The Callaway auditorium, dedicated to the foundation Professor of Music, is an oft-used small concert venue, and houses most of the large scale lectures. The Tunley Lecture Theatre, named for a former long serving faculty member and Head of School, is a small lecture theatre. In 2012, both the Callaway Auditorium and the Tunley Lecture Theatre received upgraded IT infrastructure to allow for lecture control from the podium, and the digital recording and broadcasting of lectures and performances.

Notable alumni[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ complied; Meyer, edited by John A. (1999). Touches of sweet harmony : music in the University of Western Australia : 1953-1998. Nedlands, W.A.: CIRCME. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-86422-914-4. 
  2. ^ complied; Meyer, edited by John A. (1999). Touches of sweet harmony : music in the University of Western Australia : 1953-1998. Nedlands, W.A.: CIRCME. pp. 19–20. ISBN 978-0-86422-914-4. 
  3. ^ complied; Meyer, edited by John A. (1999). Touches of sweet harmony : music in the University of Western Australia : 1953-1998. Nedlands, W.A.: CIRCME. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-86422-914-4. 
  4. ^ ""Paul Wright" at The Australian Youth Orchestra website". Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  5. ^ ""Chris Tonkin" at The Australian Music Centre". Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  6. ^ [alpha[LastName]=G "Graeme Gilling at Solo to Symphony"]. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  7. ^ ""Nicholas Bannan" at The Conversatation". Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "UWA List of Music Staff". 
  9. ^ ""Alan Lourens" at RASWA Brass". Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  10. ^ Rowbotham, Jill (9 January 2012). "Diversity to Improve the Tempo of Learning". The Australian. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Ashley Smith at Symphony Australia". Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  12. ^ "Andrew Foote at Art Song Perth". Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "John Exton". 
  14. ^ "Mark Coughlan". 
  15. ^ Stowasser, Helen (1997). "Sir Frank Callaway". Oxford Companion to Australian Music. 
  16. ^ Cohn, Neville (11 May 2011). "Concert Review: En Francais". The West Australian. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  17. ^ Cohn, Neville (5 May 2010). "UWA Group One of Perths Best Kept Secrets". The West Australian. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  18. ^ "Winthrop Singers YouTube Channel". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "University Club Big Band Performance". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "AMEB Federal Website". Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  21. ^ "Craig Ogden at All Music". Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  22. ^ "St Georges Cathedral Organist". Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  23. ^ "UWA Music: Festival Baroque". 
  24. ^ Healy, Guy (17 October 2007). "UWA to Streamline Courses". The Australian. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "Future Studies in Music at UWA". 
  26. ^ "UWA Music Application Procedures & FAQ". 
  27. ^ "TISCOnline". 
  28. ^ "UWA Admission Policy". 
  29. ^ Hiatt, Bethany (8 March 2012). "UWA Scheme is Music to Sarah's Ear". The West. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  30. ^ complied; Meyer, edited by John A. (1999). Touches of sweet harmony : music in the University of Western Australia : 1953-1998. Nedlands, W.A.: CIRCME. pp. 150–155. ISBN 978-0-86422-914-4. 
  31. ^ complied; Meyer, edited by John A. (1999). Touches of sweet harmony : music in the University of Western Australia : 1953-1998. Nedlands, W.A.: CIRCME. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-86422-914-4. 
  32. ^ "UWA Information Services Wigmore Library". 
  33. ^ "Widespread Damage from Freak Storms". ABC Online News. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  34. ^ "Dr. Adduci Staff Profile". Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  35. ^ "ABC Website: Prue Ashurst". 
  36. ^ "Curtin University Staff Profile". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  37. ^ "AOBO Orchestra List". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  38. ^ "Australian Music Centre". 
  39. ^ "Voyces Choir Website". 
  40. ^ "WAAPA Faculty Directory". 
  41. ^ "Solo to Symphony Cath Cahill". 
  42. ^ "Jangoo Chapkhana Website". 
  43. ^ "Academia: Andrew Civhy". 
  44. ^ "Melbourne Symphony Orchestra: Wendy CLarke". 
  45. ^ "Macquarie University Staff Page". 
  46. ^ "Ollivier-Phillipe Cuneo Website". 
  47. ^ "Adelaide Youth Orchestra Joanna Drimatis". Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  48. ^ "Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra Website". 
  49. ^ "Philharmonia Orchestra". 
  50. ^ "WA Youth Music Alumni Biographies". 
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  52. ^ "Auckland Philharmonia: Brent Grapes". 
  53. ^ "Houston Grand Opera Website". 
  54. ^ "Burhan Guner Website". 
  55. ^ "Nova Ensemble: Jessica". 
  56. ^ "SSO Meet the Brass". 
  57. ^ "TSO About Players". 
  58. ^ "James Jennings Weblog". 
  59. ^ "European Brandenberg Ensemble". 
  60. ^ "Matthew Jones". 
  61. ^ Bevis, Stephen (29 June 2011). "Perth Local Takes the Reins at WASO". The West Australian. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  62. ^ "jamesledger.com". 
  63. ^ [alpha[LastName]=M "Solo to Symphony Website"]. 
  64. ^ "University of Tasmania, Heather Monkhouse". 
  65. ^ "Presto Magazine: Cyrus Meher-Homji". 
  66. ^ "University of Queensland Patrick Murphy". Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  67. ^ "craigogden.com". 
  68. ^ "TSO Meet the Orchestra". 
  69. ^ "Australian Guitarist: Jonathan Paget". 
  70. ^ "Adam Pinto Bio". 
  71. ^ "University of New England Arts Faculty". 
  72. ^ "Symphony under the Stars". 
  73. ^ "Sydney Piano Tuners". 
  74. ^ "Chamber of Arts and Culture Board". 
  75. ^ "List of Winners of ABC Young Performers". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  76. ^ "Australan Music Centre, Rohan Stevenson". 
  77. ^ "WAAPA Staff Pages". 
  78. ^ "Paul Tanner Website". 
  79. ^ "Queensland Symphony Orchestra". 
  80. ^ "Cathie Travers Website". 
  81. ^ "University of Cardiff Enthnomusicology". Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  82. ^ "Elision Ensemble Website".