The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music is pleased to announce Dr John Whiteoak, one of Australia’s pre-eminent music scholars, has been appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Music.
Dr John Whiteoak is the author of dozens of journal articles on a range of topics on Australian music and jazz music. He is one of the pioneers in Australia of writing local music histories focusing on musical activities outside the mainstream classical concert hall. He has concentrated on the history of popular music, of music among migrant communities, and transcultural musical exchange. These trends that he has pioneered have now become a significant area of musicological research in Australia. His most celebrated book, Playing Ad Lib: Improvisatory Music in Australia, 1836–1970 (Currency, 1999) is the definitive work in the field. This book was a pioneering study of not only Australian jazz history but the ways improvisation is theorised and conceptualised in cross-cultural contexts.
Dr Whiteoak’s Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia (2003) that he edited with Aline Scott-Maxwell has been praised as the definitive reference text on Australian music and dance and much valued for its unconventional but inclusive approach to both art music and popular music.
Dr Whiteoak’s research across a variety of art and popular music makes him a unique scholar of Australian musical history. He can claim expertise in Jewish, Latin-American music and music of many migrant groups including music from Italy and Spain. His work over the last decade has largely taken the form of journal articles and book chapters that include studies of music in these areas. His output over the last decade includes more than twenty-five articles on topics ranging from brass bands of German immigrants of the Second World War, Italo-Australian piano accordionists, Jewish tango bands, the phenomenon of Latin-American influences in popular music in Australia through the twentieth century, British jazz, and electro-acoustic music.
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