J.S. Bach, performance practice, expressiveness in music performance, researching sound recordings, aesthetic perception (Bartok, Liszt, opera)
Fields of Research (FoR)Music, Performing arts, Music performance, Musicology and ethnomusicology, Music cognition, Sensory processes, perception and performance
My research and teaching focus on the history and culture of the European concert music tradition, especially in performance. My two monographs and over 50 other publications analyse the changes in interpretations of Western Classical music as evidenced on commercial sound recordings and historical documents. I study both the technical and expressive dimensions of interpretations and focus primarily on string, vocal and keyboard players and...view more
My research and teaching focus on the history and culture of the European concert music tradition, especially in performance. My two monographs and over 50 other publications analyse the changes in interpretations of Western Classical music as evidenced on commercial sound recordings and historical documents. I study both the technical and expressive dimensions of interpretations and focus primarily on string, vocal and keyboard players and repertoires. I'm also interested in audience response, how and why taste and aesthetic preferences change, and the role of culture and education in all this. My approach is empirical, utilising quantitative, experimental and qualitative methods of investigation, including historical and archival approaches.
I had two ARC Discovery grants:
1. 2004-2009: Modelling emotion and expressiveness in baroque and romantic music (in collaboration with Emery Schubert - ARF), over $550,000
2. 2008-2010: Artistic signatures in violin playing on sound recording: What makes the performance of a prominent violinist recognizable and legendary? ($170,000)
Other grants include:
Swiss Government DORE grant (with Hubert Eiholzer, Lugano Conservatorium) 2010-2012: Reviews reviewed: Examining the validity of aesthetic judgements in criticism of recorded music (€145,000)
ARC Network 2004-2009: Human Communication Science (HCSNet) – Leader: Professor Robert Dale, Macquarie University (One of 50 named member-researchers on successful grant application; $4 million over 5 years)
UNSW Goldstar Award: 2003 ($15,000)
BMus (Hon) 1983, MMus 1989, PhD 1999
Academic Women in Leadership – Certificate, UNSW 2013
Educational Leadership and Internet Technology Fellowship, UNSW 2004
Elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities (FAHA 2010)
10th Anniversary Award of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM 2003)
ARC HDR Student Council's Supervision Award (2014)
My Research Activities
After a lifetime of researching music performance as evidenced on sound recording I've recently turned to investigating the post war musical culture of Sydney, especially the role of institutions and particular individuals. Another new interest is the study of opera productions as holistic performances and "Gesamtkunstwerke". Meanwhile I keep working on testing and refining my model and method of analyzing individual difference and artistic signatures
My Research Supervision
Areas of supervision
I supervised (as primary supervisor) 8 PhD candidates to completion and many more Honours students, a large proportion of whom received the University Medal. I also served as secondary or joint supervisor for many other PhD candidates. I'm regularly asked to examine theses in the field of music performance.
Currently I'm looking for Honours and Higher Degree Research Students to work in the areas of
1. Early Music Movement / Historically Informed Performance of music in Australia (e.g. in Sydney in the 1970s or from the 1960s to today)
2. Individual difference in music performance
3. 19th-century practices of music performance (esp. voice, but also piano, violin) -- social history, reception history, empirical study of early recordings, individual musicians' art / practice
4. Staged performances of opera and the relationship between musical and theatrical meaning creation
Recent PhD completions include:
- An Empirical Study of Tempo and Timing Variation in Contemporary Recorded Performances of Solo Piano Music of Chopin and Liszt (Quan Danny Zhou 2018)
- Singing relations: performance, transformation, and practice (Ellen Hooper 2017)
- Dramaturgical analysis of opera performance: four recent productions of Dido and Aeneas (Holly Champion 2016)
Other topics included 19th-C Russian opera, Early 20th-C women composers, Decision making in music performance, among others. I enjoy the interactions and intellectual stimulation, as well as the mentoring of young careers. Four of them are now in academic or research positions in Australia and overseas, the others work in publishing and the music industry.
Joint supervisor (with Dr Alister Spence) of 1 Master of Philosophy candidate on a study of John Patitucci's bass solo compositions.
Fellow, Australian Academy of Humanities (since 2010)
Member of Editorial Board, Musicae Scientiae (since 2015)
Member of Advisory Board, Open Book Publishers (Cambridge, UK)
Past Editor, Musicology Australia (2012)
Staff Elected Professorial member of UNSW Academic Board (2017-2019)
Member of UNSW Council (2014-2016)
National Secretary and Sydney Chapter Convenor, Musicological Society of Australia (2003-2009)
I'm regularly invited to serve on review panels of tertiary institutions offering degrees in music; to assess dissertations, grant and fellowship applications, to review journal articles and conference submissions and to be on scientific and organizing committees of international music performance and music psychology conferences.
My main teaching area is musicology. In the undergraduate program I was in charge of courses in European music history focusing on the 18th-19th centuries, and of research methods and honours preparatory classes. More recently I taught the upper-level core courses in history and culture of music, the gateway course in the Music Inquiry stream of the BMus degree and contributed to the courses in creative practice / performance. Over the years I have taught aural development at all levels, harmony, analysis, performance practice, keyboard studies and orchestration as well, and have coached many chamber ensembles, including the Handbell group.