Explore our remarkable PhD and research candidates

Our research candidates are an integral part of the research culture at Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre.

Their projects are diverse and engaging, pushing the boundaries and encouraging enquiry. Explore some of our candidates and their research below.

David Bishop

Dave is a New Zealand singer songwriter and he is currently studying towards a Doctorate of Musical Arts. His stage name is Davey Beige and he performs original folk, blues and rock. His research project revolves around song-writing and includes the release of his new album titled “Beginner’s Mind”

Jan Black

Jan Black is an Opera and Theatre Director, Singer, Stagecraft Specialist and Educationalist. In her newly created work, 'The Cooktown Cantata', a musical biography, she will explore the effectiveness of combining Devised Theatre and the Classical Song Cycle to create a new vocal performance genre.

Leah Cotterell

Leah’s research—building on prior work—is being developed into applications for use by other singers in professional training and practice and in community mental health singing workshops. Her DMA explores emotion induction and empathy through her musical memoir, ‘The Pleasure of Sad Songs’.

Jacqui Cuny

Thesis Title: Exploring musical theatre singing/acting synergy: strategies for effective training, practice and performance. The aim of the research is to compile data on inspired performance artistry or synergy as observed in Music Theatre performance, with a view to informing and subsequently empowering actors in their craft. 

Seth Ellis

Sound as the Object of Play researches the collection, storage and use of historical sound materials, in order to frame some possible strategies for using sound as historical material within the cultural spaces of museums and libraries.

Duncan Gardiner

Duncan is a classical guitarist, composer, researcher and educator. Combining these passions, his research explores the extent to which the guitar was incorporated into musical activities in colonial Queensland and brings historical music to today’s audiences.

James Harvey

DMA candidate, James, advances a phenomenological musical process philosophy of bass sound, focusing upon its manifestation and application in an examination of tuba performance, within the musical literature of the symphonic wind ensemble. The practice is demonstrated through an analysis of selected repertoire and a curated season of four wind ensemble concerts.

Rachel Howley

Exploring the Role of the Conductor in Championing Australian Wind Band Music by Women Composers is an action research study that aims to facilitate greater compositional opportunities for Australian women in the wind band genre. Through increasing the exposure of the current repertoire and creating pathways for greater compositional output in the future, conductors play a large role in decreasing the disparity between Australian women composers.

Shelli Hulcombe

Shelli Hulcombe is a classical singer, pedagogue, and faculty member (Classical Voice Performance) at the Conservatorium. Drawing on the paradigm of cross-training as a means of promoting skill development, versatility and injury avoidance for athletes, her research explores the potential application of a similar cross-genre training approach for singers, with particular focus on classical singers of Western Art Music.

Rafael Karlen

Rafael Karlen is a saxophonist and composer who is active across many musical areas. His doctorate explores the role and overlap of improvisation in contemporary music performance and composition.

Maree Kilpatrick

Maree’s Doctor of Musical Arts candidature research topic is entitled ‘exploring contemporary curated performances of Australian works for piano trio, through artistic and sociological perspectives.’  Involving a mixed methodology of contextual research and artistic practice, this research culminates in a series of three curated live performances of works for violin, cello and piano by Australian composers.

Dominic Kingsford

Dominic Kingsford is a Brisbane based jazz musician, educator and current PhD candidate. Dominic's research will explore the compositional integration of the electric bass guitar as a solo instrument in the concert and chamber music forms.

Alfredo Lopes

Alfredo Lopes is a jazz saxophonist and researcher. Currently Alfredo is developing a doctoral exegesis investigating perspectives on creative design as a composer/player/leader in a small jazz ensemble.

Lucas D. Lynch

Lucas Lynch is a conductor, pianist, composer and theatrical producer. His doctoral research investigates the specialisation of ballet conducting by highlighting the artistic skills required to conduct a ballet. 

Cathy Milliken

Cathy is an acclaimed composer and solo performer, a founder member of Ensemble Modern, former Head of Education for the Berliner Philharmoniker and is also a creative director and educator. A recipient of several prestigious awards in composition, her doctorate examines social composition.

Judit Molnar

Hungarian born Judit Molnar is an acclaimed soprano, educator and emerging researcher. She is completing her doctoral studies; focusing on the vocal chamber music of György Kurtág with the aim of employing cutting edge technologies and creative collaborations to make this repertoire more accessible for new audiences.

Libby Myers

Libby Myers is a classical guitarist from Brisbane whose DMA project explores the process of commissioning and performing new works for solo guitar, centring the discussion on the musical identities of contemporary performers. Her research aims to shed light on how performers may express their own stories and experiences in musical interpretation.

Julia Pope

Julia’s doctoral research explores the vitality and sustainability of culturally-diverse music programs in schools in Australia and New Zealand. Focusing on programs using Indonesian gamelan instruments, she hopes her work will help to improve vitality and sustainability in school music programs.

Dale Prinsse

Dale is a popular music PhD candidate investigating the effects of Artificial Intelligence on the production, consumption, and creation of music from an ethnographic perspective. He is also the bassist for progressive metal band CALIGULA’S HORSE touring to Europe, America, South America, working also as a lighting designer and tour manager for Australian bands.

Kevin Purcell

Kevin Purcell is a conductor and theatrical musical director with a career spanning over 35 years. As part of his role as Artistic Director of the Australian Discovery Orchestra, his research examines the role of the conductor in realising recordings as fully-integrated interactive experiences in the digital space.

Christina Grønborg Reilly

Christina Grønborg Reilly: Christina is a Danish-Australian singer, singing teacher and researcher. Her PhD investigates developing a model to accurately assess voice change stages in young female students through non-invasive and ethically appropriate assessment techniques.

Hannah Reardon Smith

Hannah is a flutist, improviser, composer, writer, researcher, disability support worker, and co-artistic director of new music ensemble Kupka's Piano. With contemporary performance qualifications from the School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium, her doctorate explores women's free improvisation practices.

Stefanie Smith

Thesis title: Pathways to the podium - One emerging Australian conductor’s journey to forge a career on the world stage. This research will encourage aspiring Australian conductors and myself, to pursue a career on the podium, providing guidance and evidence from emerging Australian conductors as they share their experiences.

Timothy Tate

Timothy is a composer and performer whose creative practice incorporates instrument building and circuit bending. His doctorate explores the reimagining of redundant technologies as a catalyst for new compositional techniques, with a focus on magnetic recording media and primitive audio sampling technologies.

Ms Kirsten Tong

Kirsten’s PhD research has emerged from both her own experiences working as a ‘cellist in Brisbane, and from the shared stories of fellow musicians. Kirsten’s research focuses on enhancing small-scale philanthropy with Brisbane art music organisations, with the underlying aim of creating a more sustainable and artistically-diverse musical culture in Brisbane.

Andrea Vocaturo

Andrea Vocaturo is an Italian-born guitarist and composer based in Brisbane. He is currently completing his doctoral studies at Griffith Uni, focusing on the exploration of a modified fifths tuning as a vehicle for guitar composition and the creative implications of alternate tuning practices.

Our alumni

Phoebe Green

Phoebe is undertaking artistic research that ties together her practice as a performer, collaborator, researcher and advocate. Passionate about music from our time and place, her investigation of the 'interiors' of a practice reveals new knowledge from processes that are rarely discussed.

Mark Griffiths

Mark’s doctoral work builds on a successful portfolio career, and investigates pedagogical strategies that foster expressive performance skills within pre-tertiary pianists. His research interests are reflective practice, one-to-one pedagogy, expressive performance, gesture, and movement analysis.

Gillian Howell

As a young musician Gillian Howell travelled to post-war Bosnia to lead music workshops with traumatised children for the NGO WarChild. 20 years later, her PhD research in the field of music and conflict examines post-war music interventions as forms of aid, education and cultural development.

Teresa Kunaeva

Teresa’s PhD explores musical learning and performance opportunities for “the chronologically gifted” through community music ensembles in Queensland. She is exploring the motivations and challenges to music participation by older adults and factors that may promote their ongoing musical engagement

Padraig Parkhurst

Padraig is an early career researcher, composer, poet and guitarist. He is currently completing a Masters of Music Research in composition examining ‘melodrama’: the use of spoken voice over music in the Western Art Music tradition.

Charulatha Mani

Charulatha Mani is a singer of Carnatic music, the Classical music of Southern India. Investigating text, meaning, and musical rhetoric across cultural contexts, her doctoral work considers Monteverdi’s musical declamatory approach alongside the Carnatic tradition’s expository ‘Viruttam’ style.

Michal Rosiak

A flautist, composer and a co-director of Unbound Flute Festival, Michal’s DMA focuses on creative symbiotic relationships between composers and performers. Through collaboration, he explores the importance of favourable environments, personal interactions and communication during creative activity.

Nathaniel Smorti

A clarinetist, teacher, and researcher based at the Queensland Conservatorium, Nathaniel moved to Brisbane after receiving a Masters of Musical Performance at the University of Waikato. Studying under Paul Dean, his research explores contrasting approaches to performance of the clarinet canon.

Jack Walton

Jack is a Brisbane-based musician and researcher with respective interests in folk and improvised music, and educational assessment. His doctorate investigates practices for assessing music performance in Australian higher education through the dual lenses of policy and social perspective.

Megan Waters

Megan’s PhD explores the perceptions of playing-related discomfort/pain experienced by undergraduate string students. Her research has documented the experiences and perceptions of 40 classical strings students as they progressed through their Bachelor of Music program.

Ms Lizzy Welsh

Violinist and baroque violinist, Lizzy Welsh, has an artistic practice based in both early music and contemporary music performance. Currently undertaking a Doctor of Musical Arts, Lizzy is researching the potential for using the baroque violin as a vehicle for 21st Century composition.

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