Music in Australia

Convenor: Dr Joel Crotty

Music in Australia is the flagship research group of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music. It promotes music and music-making in Australia through publications, concerts and advocacy.

The unit aims to heighten awareness of Australian music in all its forms and diasporas to the rest of the world via historical research as well as contemporary practice.

The research group takes particular interest in music-making through the acknowledgement of gender and social cohesion within Australian cultural life.  The ‘Gender in Diversity in Music-Making Conference’ held in July 2018 at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music demonstrates a commitment to cultural inclusion.

Current Research Projects

  • Megan Burslem and Cat Hope. (2018 in press). Music History Education in Australian Universities. Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft. University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna
  • Joel Crotty and Bronia Kornhauser are researching Felix Werder’s incorporation of Jewish music into own compositions in the 1950s and 1960s. 
  • Joel Crotty and Cat Hope (2018 in press) ‘Speechless: An Operatic Response to Human Rights Abuse in Twenty-First Century Australia’ Davidson, Jane, Halliwell, Michael, Rocke, Stephanie (eds) Opera Emotions and the Antipodes 
  • Cat Hope: Speechless. A new Australian opera work, directed by Aaron Wyatt, premiering at the Perth Festival in 2019. 
  • Cat Hope: Gender in the Australian music industry. This project has seen a series of talks in Canberra, Hobart and Adelaide in 2017 and 2018. An abridged version is here:
  • Merlyn Quaife and Johanna Selleck (Melbourne Conservatorium of Music) are editing and performing Georgette Peterson’s Children’s Songs by to texts by Annie Rentoul and illustrated by Ida Rentoul. 
  • Paul Watt is currently researching the connections between Mechanics’ Institutes and Music in nineteenth-century Australia.


The Australia Council for the Arts
Creative Victoria


The Australian Music Centre
The Australian Computer Music Association (ACMA)


FutureMakers, a Musica Viva initiative