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Public Lecture - Richard Vella


Composing: how to support one’s habit

Start Date

12th Aug 2016 2:30pm

End Date

12th Aug 2016 4:00pm


Room 113, Conservatorium of Music; 5 Sandy Bay Road, Hobart

Composing: how to support one's habit

a public lecture by Richard Vella

2.30pm | Friday 12 August 2016
Room 113, Conservatorium of Music
5 Sandy Bay Road, Hobart 


Richard Vella is Chair and Professor of Music at the University of Newcastle. From 2008 to 2013 he was Head of School of Creative Arts.  He was Chair of the National Council of Tertiary Music Schools (NACTMUS)  from 2008 to 2013 and sits on many advisory groups concerned with tertiary education in the creative and performing arts.

As a composer Vella's diverse output includes works for orchestra, large ensemble, choir, film, chamber music, burlesque cabaret, music theatre, site-specific performances, and popular music genres. His film credits include 'Light Years', 'Parklands', 'Renzo Piano: piece by piece' (for which he won the 1999 Australian Screen Composer's Award for best music for a documentary) and 'Mr. Strehlow's Films'. His feature film music score 'Travelling Light' (2003) received the nomination 'Best Music for a feature Film' by the Australian Film Institute.

Recent compositions have been focussed on arrangements such as the arrangement of Jimi Hendrix's 'Purple Haze' for the University of Newcastle Chamber Choir's semifinal performance in the Battle of the Choirs (Channel 7, 2008). Other recent compositions have been 'The A to Z of Spiritual Music: a user's guide' commissioned by The Seymour Group (2006) which is accessible via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website <> and his co-production of the Warners international release of the Ten Tenor's album 'Larger than Life' (2003).

Publications discussing his performance work are 'Arias: Recent Australian Music Theatre' Redhouse Editions, 1997; 'The Oxford Dictionary of Australian Music', Oxford University Press, 1998; and 'The Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia',Currency House, 2003.

His book 'Musical Environments: A Manual for Listening, Improvising and Composing', originally published by Currency Press (2000), has become a recognised text for secondary and tertiary music courses throughout Australia. In 2003, an international edition of this book entitled 'Sounds in Space Sounds in Time' was published by Boosey and Hawkes, UK.

Richard Vella is director of the Interdisciplinary Research Group Collaborative Environments for Creative Arts Research (CeCAR)

Between 1992 and 1996 Vella devised and implemented a pioneering interdisciplinary postgraduate and undergraduate music program within the School of Mathematics, Physics, Computing and Electronics at Macquarie University. This laid a foundation for the later established Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies within the Faculty of Arts.

He was the artistic director of the International Space Time Concerto Competition (2012), a cutting edge concerto competition that embraces historical practices with new innovations in performance. <>

Vella was founding artistic director of Calculated Risks Opera Productions. Calculated Risks has premiered three of his major works, 'Tales of Love' (1991/2002), 'The Last Supper' (1993) and 'Bodysongs: the Fatman Tour' (1998). These works have toured nationally and internationally in various formats.