Gift to develop the 21st century musician

A gift from Australian barrister, human rights advocate, and author Mr Julian Burnside AO QC has established the Chamber Music Australia Chair of Composition at Monash University’s Sir Zelman Cowen...

A gift from Australian barrister, human rights advocate, and author Mr Julian Burnside AO QC has established the Chamber Music Australia Chair of Composition at Monash University’s Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music.

The Chamber Music Australia Chair of Composition will encourage talented young composers within the school, and develop new Australian music as well as Australian performance.

A distinguished Monash alumnus, Mr Burnside (BEc 1972, LLB 1973) is widely respected for his passionate involvement in the arts, education and the community. He is Chair of Chamber Music Australia, and Chair of Fortyfive Downstairs, a not for profit arts and performance venue in Melbourne.

He has a deep appreciation of music – particularly classical music – and sees it as vital to articulating our culture.

“It is important that we support music composition; it’s an art form that plays a significant role in shaping our identity as a community,” Mr Burnside said.

“I believe Monash has one of the most progressive and lively music programs in the country. I am proud to support this new position which will provide the community with access to a wider range of Australian composition and give students the opportunity to work with a world class composer.”

Head of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Associate Professor Robert Burke said the gift would strengthen the School’s focus on new Australian composition and performance, and put the University in a unique position among music schools in Australia.

“Our vision is to develop the complete 21st musician by encouraging students to investigate music through both traditional and new technologies as well as in a range of styles, periods and genres,” Associate Professor Burke said.

“Through The Chamber Music Australia Chair of Composition we will do more than just support individual students in their careers, we will fulfill our aim to support and promote Australian composition and performance.”

Internationally renowned orchestral composer and Monash University Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow, Professor Mary Finsterer has been announced as the Chair. Professor Finsterer has worked in the music industry for more than 30 years, winning many international awards during that time.

“Her experience in music and composition is diverse, ranging from concert music to scores for narrative feature film,” Associate Professor Burke said.

“We are delighted that through Mr Burnside’s support, our talented young composers will work with Mary to develop new and vibrant Australian music and performance.”

Professor Finsterer said it was an honour to be the recipient of the prestigious position.

“The Chamber Music Australia Chair of Composition gives status and kudos to the role that Australian Classical music plays in defining our cultural identity,” Professor Finsterer said.

“The generous gift that Mr Burnside has given to the University provides me with the opportunity to work both in a teaching capacity and in creative research. Through this I am able to contribute to the vibrant community at Monash and the rich cultural legacy we have in Australia both on a national and international level."

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