3-Minute Staff Spotlight
Job title: Piano Performance Fellow, Director of Research and Research Higher Degrees
What is the best thing about your job?
The freedom it affords me to grow and develop as a musician, teacher and researcher, and the opportunity to develop and advocate for Artistic Research in music performance in the academy. Also, being part of two fantastic ensembles-in-residence – White Halo and the Viney-Grinberg Piano Duo.
What would you most like to change about your job?
Not having to argue the ontological and epistemological basis of Artistic Research so often!
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I always wanted to be a pianist, apart from a few years as a teenager when I was on a mission to save the then-dying art of legspin bowling. Shane Warne beat me to it though, so I took my googly and flipper dexterity and applied it to the piano full-time.
Who has had the biggest influence on you?
Probably my piano teacher at Yale, where I did a doctorate with the great Russian pianist Boris Berman.
Which book changed your life?
I’ve loved so many writers including Jeanette Winterson, Milan Kundera, Gabriel García Márquez. But the book that really hit me was probably Cormac McCarthy’s devastating Blood Meridian. (I also read a good bio of the Velvet Underground recently. It wasn't life changing, but definitely a good loo read).
What is your favourite piece of music/song?
This is an impossible question for a musician! The answer is usually whatever I am listening to or practicing at any given moment. Right now it’s the Brahms G Major Violin Sonata because I can hear a student practicing it in the room next to my office. The music on my new CD with Anna Grinberg is pretty good too, ahem, cough, if I say so myself.
Which living person do you most admire and why?
Internationally, anyone who risks their life doing humanitarian work in war zones or similar, for obvious reasons. Nationally, Penny Wong, because of her personal qualities of equanimity and strength in any situation. In my own field, Daniel Barenboim, whose work as the founder and conductor of the East-West Divan Orchestra shows that music is not simply a luxury item, but has the potential to act as a catalyst for individual and social change.
What is top of your bucket list?
I’ve walked down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon three times, but I want to do it again with my two kids as soon as possible – they’re 7 and 9 so it won’t be too long.
If you were Dean for a day what would do?
I'd form a working party to ban academic acronymic nomenclature, it could be known as B.A.N.