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”

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’.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Our alumni

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Music, Mayhem and Change 2014

In 2014 the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University and Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University, hosted a postgraduate symposium called Music, Mayhem and Change. This student-led symposium included themes such as: Music culture and society; performance; technologies; music psychology and health; pedagogies and music industry. Supported by Griffith University Postgraduate Students Association (GUPSA), the symposium "attracted more than 40 papers from around the world" and "two dynamic keynote speakers. Day one saw Dr Samantha Bennett, a sound recordist and academic from London, UK and current senior lecturer in the School of Music at ANU. Dr Bennent presented ‘Production Mayhem: Tech Processual Unorthodoxies in Popular Music Recording’. Sam fascinated us with tales of sonic innovators who challenge sound recording orthodoxies, and push boundaries with maverick methodologies...Dr Mary Broughton was our keynote speaker on day 2...Her research focuses on the role of movement and gesture in music performance communication. Mary’s presentation ‘Bodily mediated processes in generating, communicating, and understanding western music performance’ captivated the delegates with a discussion about how the body is intimately linked to our thoughts, emotions, and actions." (Joanne Ruksenas, GUPSA Blog). The conference proceedings feature a seelction of papers which were double-blind peer-reviewed and can be downloaded below.

Editors: Emma Di Marco, Joanne Ruksenas, Toby Wren.

Editorial Assistance: Leah Coutts, Courtney Williams.

Download the conference proceedings here

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