Arts Global

22 December 2010

Advisory Board Member Barry Conyngham Appointed Dean of Australian Music School

Barry Conyngham appointed Dean of VCA and Music
22 Dec 2010

A composer of international distinction and one of the few creative artist to hold the Harvard Chair in Australian Studies, Professor Barry Conyngham has been appointed Dean of the Faculty of the VCA and Music at the University of Melbourne.

Making the announcement today University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said he was delighted that an artist with such an outstanding international reputation and extensive background in higher education administration would be joining the senior staff of the University, and leading the Faculty of the VCA and Music into its next phase.

"Barry Conyngham understands the challenges of training artists within the constraints of the higher education landscape, but has shown that with determination and talent, much success can be achieved," he said.

Professor Conyngham was Dean of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong (1990-94) and founding Vice-Chancellor of Southern Cross University (1994-2001). He is a Harkness Fellow, a Senior Fulbright Fellow and a Churchill Fellow. He studied at the Universities of Sydney and California San Diego, and at Princeton.

Director of the VCA, Professor Su Baker, and of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Professor Gary McPherson, welcomed the appointment.

"We feel this will be a very positive appointment for the VCA," Professor Baker said. "I look forward to welcoming the new Dean in the coming months and working with him to advance the many exciting opportunities at the renewed VCA and with the anticipated launch of the VCA Foundation. Professor Conyngham's appointment will reinforce the exciting opportunities ahead for the VCA and the arts community within the Southbank Arts precinct."

Professor McPherson said Barry Conyngham’s artistic and academic career was unmatched within Australia. "He brings to the Dean’s position a wealth of experience as an exceptionally gifted composer, a visionary academic career that has enriched the profile of each university in which he has served, and a reputation of being an astute arts administrator whose generosity of spirit and strong leadership skills will be invaluable for shaping the future of the arts within the university," he said. "We are thrilled that the university has been able to attract a Dean of his international stature. This is a stunning appointment."

Professor Conyngham knows the University of Melbourne well, having graduated DMus and held an appointment as Reader in the former Faculty of Music from 1975-1989. He has served on the Australia Council and various other major arts boards. His compositions have won ARIAs and other awards, and have been widely performed by he major symphony orchestras and ensembles of Australia as well as the London Symphony Orchestra and other international ensembles. His work has also been staged by various state dance and opera companies and he has been honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia.

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