Doctors by the dozen

A record number of doctoral students will graduate from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (QCGU) on Saturday.

The 12 students represent the largest cohort to complete their PhDs in music research and are already paving their way in the industry, with half having secured work in Australia and overseas before graduation.

Director Professor Huib Schippers attributes the unusually high number to the research environment created by the establishment of the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre in 2003, and the introduction of a practice-based approach to high-level music research through the Doctor of Musical Arts program from 2005.

“The complexities of 21st century music require more of people than just superb playing or theoretical skills,” he said.

“It’s vital that professionals now have a comprehension of the challenges facing the ‘musical ecosystem’ to ensure a vibrant culture for the future of music in Australia.

“The research these students have undertaken means we now have a group of highly-skilled and deeply reflective professionals with a diverse range of expertise entering the industry.

“These doctoral graduates are the future leaders in music scholarship, performance, education and industry.”

Graduate projects have included jazz improvisation, French horn repertoire, the teaching of contemporary worship singers, cultural diversity in the classrooms of Asia and Australia, the impact of autism on creative collaborations and changes in Chinese percussion traditions.

This first group of graduates were located in Brisbane, Melbourne and as far away as China and Austria, meaning much of the guidance, learning and supervision was conducted online.

“Online technology has played a significant role in the PhDs and DMAs and it’s an area that we will continue to focus on to ensure our research culture and expertise remains readily accessible to students regardless of location,” Professor Schippers said.

“With 50 continuing doctoral students and a strong intake for the next round, Queensland Conservatorium is rapidly gaining a reputation as the place where things happen in innovative music research in Australia,” he said.

WHAT: Official Graduation Ceremony

WHEN: 3.00pm, Saturday 17 December

WHERE: Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre


Melissa Cain (Cultural Diversity), Singapore;

Irene Bartlett (Contemporary Singing), Australia;

Andrew Blackburn (Pipe Organ and Digital Processing), Melbourne;

Michael Knopf (Composition for Guitar), Brisbane;

Peter Knight (Jazz improvisation and laptop), Melbourne;

Karen Lonsdale (Performance related injury on the flute), Brisbane;

Daniel Robinson (Contemporary Worship Singing), Brisbane;

Philippa Robinson (Instrument selection for Primary School Students), Brisbane;

Armin Terzer (French Horn Ensembles), Austria;

Sun-Ju Song (Historical Musicology), China;

Colin Webber (Autism and Music), Brisbane; and

Wang Yan (Chinese Percussion), China.