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24 July 2014

Mary Finsterer the new Chair of Composition at Monash

Mary Finsterer Image: Mary Finsterer  
© Dean Golja

A new chair of composition has been established at Monash University's Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, thanks to a generous gift from Australian barrister and human rights advocate Julian Burnside AO QC. Composer Mary Finsterer has been appointed to the new position as 'Chamber Music Australia Chair of Composition' with the task of encouraging talented young composers within the school and developing new Australian music and performance.

A Monash alumnus himself, Julian Burnside is widely respected for his passionate involvement in the arts, education and the community. He has commissioned numerous works from Australian composers and is currently the Chair of Chamber Music Australia - an organisation aimed at fostering the potential of talented, young, ensemble musicians.

'It is important that we support music composition; it's an art form that plays a significant role in shaping our identity as a community', Mr Burnside said. 'I believe Monash has one of the most progressive and lively music programs in the country. I am proud to support this new position which will provide the community with access to a wider range of Australian composition and give students the opportunity to work with a world class composer.'

Mary Finsterer is recognised as one of Australia's most original composers, and her work has received considerable international recognition and numerous awards, including the prestigious Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize in 2005 (for In praise of darkness). A student of Brenton Broadstock (Melbourne) and Louis Andriessen (the Netherlands), Finsterer completed her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees and her Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Melbourne. She has been a lecturer at universities both in Australia and around the world, including the University of Montreal (Canada), Dusquene University (Pittsburgh, USA), and Den haag Conservatory (the Netherlands). Finsterer is also one of Monash University Vice-Chancellor's Professorial Fellows.

'The generous gift that Mr Burnside has given to the University provides me with the opportunity to work both in a teaching capacity and in creative research. Through this I am able to contribute to the vibrant community at Monash and the rich cultural legacy we have in Australia both on a national and international level', Finsterer said.

Head of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Associate Professor Robert Burke said the gift would strengthen the School's focus on new Australian composition and performance, and put the University in a unique position among music schools in Australia.

AMC resources

Mary Finsterer - AMC profile
'Gift to develop the 21st century musician' - a news article on the Monash University website

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