ACT News


School of music moves forward with new talent

The Australian National University has appointed a violinist, a popular music expert and one of the country's leading tenors to its restructured school of music.

Head of school Peter Tregear said the school now had ''something to boast about'' following the announcement of the three new staff members on Monday, after an international search.

And Professor Tregear said the school expected to take on a full complement of students in 2013, despite a 30 per cent drop in applications.

Violinist and musicologist Dr David Irving, English studio recordist and popular music and technology expert Dr Samantha Bennett, and tenor and early music expert Dr Paul McMahon were selected from 130 applicants for positions at the controversially restructured school.

The new academics, who each have extensive international performance backgrounds, will join the seven school of music staff members who successfully reapplied for their positions.

All staff were originally spilled from their jobs when a major structural overhaul was announced at the school in May to make courses more vocational and less performance-based in a bid to save $1.5 million a year in costs. Then staff were told they would require a PhD to stay on.


Professor Tregear said the school would appoint two more academics to the school in the next 12 to 18 months.

''As we know, the whole change is premised on a complement of full-time staff that can teach across the curricula,'' he said.

''They [Drs Irving, Bennett and McMahon] have significant performance backgrounds but all have PhDs.

''All can offer teaching in more than one area.''

Professor Tregear said the ''world class'' new staff members had expertise that would allow the school to offer courses in areas of growing importance, including popular and digital music and music in south-east Asia.

''We've gone from a situation where the school didn't have much to boast about and now it does,'' he said.

''It's not just closer to what you'd find in Sydney and Melbourne, it's better.''


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