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International music educator to head new University of Melbourne School of Music

Media Release, Tuesday 27 January 2009

Internationally-renowned music educator, Professor Gary McPherson, has been appointed to the Ormond Chair of Music in the University of Melbourne from 1 July 2009, following an international recruitment process.

Professor McPherson will also be Head of the University’s School of Music within the new Faculty of the VCA and Music, to be headed by foundation Dean, Professor Sharman Pretty.

University Provost, Professor Peter McPhee, says the key leadership is now in place for the most comprehensive higher education institution for music and the arts in Australia.

Beginning his music career as a professional trumpeter, Gary McPherson now occupies the Marilyn Plederer Zimmerman endowed Chair in the School of Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a position he took up in 2005. He was previously Professor and Head of the Department of Creative Arts at the Hong Kong Institute of Education from 2002–2005, after 15 years in the School of Music and Music Education at the University of New South Wales where he held various teaching, research and leadership roles.

Professor McPherson’s research output is prolific and he has published extensively in areas relating to music education, music psychology and performance science. He has held numerous national and international competitive research grants.

He has recently served as President of the International Society for Music Education and has provided advice as a consultant to the Hong Kong Education Department, the Australian Music Examinations Board, and the Hong Kong Institute of Education.

On 6 April 2009, the University’s Faculty of Music and the Faculty of the VCA will merge, bringing together the comprehensive teaching and research of two world-class University of Melbourne faculties - the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and the Faculty of Music to form a new Faculty of the VCA and Music.

Within in the new Faculty, the University's two music teaching and research arms - the Faculty of Music and the VCA School of Music - will come together in a single school of music with a strong identity and a clear vision for international excellence in music training and education, scholarship and research.

Until Professor McPherson’s arrival in July, the incoming Dean of the Faculty of the VCA and Music, Professor Sharman Pretty, will oversee the new School of Music, in conjunction with Professor Cathy Falk, Dean of the University’s Faculty of Music, and Mr Mark Pollard, Acting Head of the VCA School of Music, who will have the interim roles and titles of Head of Music Programs at Parkville and Southbank respectively.

Professor McPhee thanked Professor Falk and Mr Pollard for agreeing to extend their leadership responsibilities. “Much of the fine progress made towards building the new School is due to their leadership,” he said.

The Ormond Chair of Music has had a distinguished history since the arrival of its first holder, GWL Marshall-Hall, in 1891. Most recently, the Chair was held by Professor Warren Bebbington, now Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global Relations) in the University of Melbourne.

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