- Student ensembles
- Composition and Music Technology
- Ethnomusicology and Musicology
- Room access and bookings
The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music has a wide range of student ensembles.
Participation in some of the below ensembles will require an audition for students who are not enrolled in a music degree. Auditions are generally held in the first weeks of semester. For further information contact the Coordinator of the relevant ensemble.
Ensemble Studies Coordinator – Tamara Smolyar
In these classes we will explore – and put into practice – the tools necessary to sustain a professional career in performing Opera/Operetta & Music Theatre. From character study, texts and gesture to period dance, acting styles, dialogue/recitative and everything in between.
This is open to all students as an Elective or Hurdle for Classical Voice students. No audition required for CMS (voice) students, however non-CMS students must audition with a song in Week 1.
All music students at the Sir Zelman Cowan School of Music are encouraged to participate in chamber music. Students have the option of forming groups on their own or may request to be assigned to a specific group. The faculty members provide intensive coaching to string quartets, piano trios, woodwind and brass groups, and mixed ensembles of various sizes.
Each group will perform on a formal class recital at least once per semester in addition to being encouraged to perform on other University recitals, events as well as throughout Melbourne.
Chamber music is an important focus at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music. The School boasts several outstanding chamber music ensembles, including Trio Anima Mundi, Duo Chamber Melange, Fidelio Quartet, Songmakers Australia, Sutherland Trio and Melbourne Brass Trio who all regularly perform at the School as well as nationally and internationally.
The Electronic Music Ensemble investigates ways in which the computer, various human user interfaces, traditional electronic instruments and effects can be integrated into conventional music-making contexts. The ensemble features conceptual, improvised and directed works exploring sound, music and noise. Directed by Ben Grayson, the ensemble will feature students from the creative music technology stream and the wider Monash music community.
Student arrangements and compositions are encouraged within this group, and participation is open to any student enrolled at Monash University, both music and non-music majors.
Monash Academy Orchestra is a symphony orchestra based on the Clayton campus of Monash University. Consisting of students from the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music as well as musicians from across the wider Monash campuses and community, it is an orchestra committed to sharing the joy of musical performance with all Victorians.
The Monash Art Ensemble (MAE) is comprised of a dynamic array of members from across Victoria, who come together to present never-to-be-repeated events of enduring appeal: powerful, virtuosic performances of cultural nuance, that melt together a diverse range of compositional and performance styles. At the heart of the Ensemble is an enduring expression of the new, the unexplored and the sonically irresistible. Emerging musicians, Monash University staff and guest artists from around Australia and the globe join together to create the compelling.
The MAE project was established by Professor Paul Grabowsky AO in 2012. The innovative team leading the Ensemble also include Associate Professor Robert Burke, Dr Paul Williamson, Mr Jordan Murray and Ms Megan Burslem. With the support of Head of School Professor Cat Hope and Monash University, our team work to produce innovative and immersive research-based, experimental performance-composition performances, recordings and experiences. Since its establishment, the MAE has commissioned ten new Australian works, collaborated with ten international musicians and attracted broad recognition through the release of six acclaimed CDs.
At the heart of the ensemble is the articulation of new stylistic hybridity performance outcomes via the testing and development of contemporary techniques relating to ensemble democracy, roles, intent and interaction of members, through the innovation of stylistic input into the commissions, recordings and performances of new Australian works. The Ensemble supports the development of excellence in young Australian musicians, fosters a culture of innovation amongst established Australian musicians and encourages community engagement with the Australian music industry and Australian musicians and composers.
The Monash University Flute Ensemble was established in 2008 as a student-based ensemble open to all flutists, both in Performance and Arts degrees. The flautists perform on the wide array of instruments from the modern day flute ensemble (from piccolo to hyperbass flute). Promoters of new music, they have commissioned numerous Australian compositions including works by composition faculty and students. The ensemble performs regularly on the School of Music’s Sound Series concerts, and has made appearances at the Australian Flute Festivals in Adelaide and Canberra. In 2018 they have been invited by the Melbourne Composer’s League to present a concert of new music by local composers, and plan on recording an album of all Australian music. By 2017, the Ensemble had made three CD recordings which have received strong reviews in International music journals. The Ensemble's unique sounds have been aired on 3MBS, 5MBS and the ABC radio stations.
The Monash New Music Ensemble (MNME) was founded in 2011 in view of providing a performance group for the School's composers, as well as offering the School’s performers an ensemble that focuses on 20th and 21st Century work. The ensemble is led by conductor and percussionist Timothy Phillips, who is a passionate advocate of Australian music. The ensemble is open to all Monash students. Entry is by audition.
A practical ensemble skills class for pianists, which covers areas of professional accompaniment such as choral, instrumental, music productions, vocal, duo and ballet accompaniment, as well as sight reading, transposition, works for two pianos and works for one piano with four or more hands.
Monash Sinfonia is an un-conducted string ensemble that offers outstanding string students the opportunity to work with musicians of the very highest calibre both in Australia and overseas.
Since its formation in 1996, Sinfonia has performed in Australia at the Port Fairy Festival, the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Robert Blackwood Hall, Federation Square, Ripponlea, Wyselakie Auditorium, St. Ambrose in Woodend, Abbotsford Convent and at the Melbourne Recital Centre. Collaborative artists have included Wilma Smith, Miki Tsunoda, Paul Wright, Jeffrey Crellin, Tin Alley String Quartet, Consort of Melbourne, Kenji Fujimura, Rohan Murray, Choir of Trinity College, Paul Grabowsky, Paul Dyer and Asmira Woodward-Page. Internationally, Monash Sinfonia has toured Italy and Brazil, premiering new works by Thomas Reiner and Jonatas Manzoli. International collaborations have included performances with American violinist Tim Fain, violin virtuoso Nemanja Radulovic and composer/conductor Eric Whitacre.
Monash University Singers is the Sir Zelman School of Music’s largest performance ensemble and has a distinguished place in the School and wider university. The choir will present a concert at the end of semester. Its purpose is to give singers the enriching experience of learning and performing diverse choral works and it gives them the opportunity of contributing their voices to a large ensemble.
Coordinator - Associate Professor Merlyn Quaife AM
Music Director - Nicholas Dinopoulos
The Monash Wind Symphony (MWS) is a large wind, brass and percussion ensemble comprising of students from the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and the greater Monash University community. In their long history they have performed in Australia and abroad including a very successful Asian tour. MWS have had many highly praised performances at the Melbourne Youth Music Bands Festival and Federation Square. They have also worked with many esteemed conductors including Mark Eager, Michael Lichnovsky, James Brice, Mark Shiell, Peter Sheridan and Peter Handsworth. The ensemble is directed by the energetic and exciting David Griffiths, Coordinator of Woodwind, Brass and Percussion.
The Monash University Big Band explores the stylistic history of jazz and big band repertoire, while aiming to develop students’ skills in sight-reading, musical styles and ensemble performance.
The Big Band is an eighteen piece undergraduate ensemble that performs both traditional and contemporary repertoire. The ensemble, under the direction of composer and trombonist Jordan Murray, appears regularly at major University events, Melbourne jazz clubs, Wangaratta Jazz Festival and the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF).
Some of the world’s best-known artists have appeared with and tutored this ensemble, including Eddie Palmieri and his Latin Septet, John Abercrombie, and George Garzone. Australian artists Don Burrows, Kate Ceberano, John Hoffman, Eugene Ball and James Morrison have also appeared with the ensemble.
Student arrangements and compositions are encouraged within this group and participation is open to any student enrolled at Monash University, both music and non-music majors.
The Monash University Funk Ensemble, under the direction of Tony Floyd, focuses on the Funk, Motown, and Rhythm and Blues repertoire of quintessential artists such as James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin. It also explores more recent influences such as Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Amy Winehouse, as well as original songs written by the students. This ensemble addresses the concept of groove and understanding the many variations within a genre of music that is often broadly labeled as Funk. It also studies the role-playing of each instrument in the ensemble that highlights the sophistication and simplicity of a style of music that has endured the test of time and continues to reinvent itself.
The Monash Gospel Choir, directed by Charmaine Jones, is an ensemble specialising in ‘gospel style’ interpretations of both sacred and secular repertoire. The group mainly comprises second and third year students from the popular voice specialisation, as well as students both from within and external to the School of Music. This ensemble builds on techniques and skills developed in first year, with a focus on performance, interpretation, movement and teamwork.
The Contemporary Voice Choir explores a range of music from jazz standards to group improvisation and world music repertoire.
The group comprises students from both the classical and jazz vocal programs as well as Monash University students external to the School of Music. Within this ensemble, students study vocal techniques, sight singing, memorising, harmonising, blending and improvising. Past performances of the Choir include concerts at the Melbourne International Jazz festival with John Abercrombie, Alasnoaxis and Jim Black, and Australia’s premier vocalist Vince Jones.
This ensemble is open to anyone enrolled at Monash University, both music and non-music majors.
The Monash Musical Theatre Chorus, directed by Gerald Marko, performs repertoire from a diverse range of modern and historical musicals. The group mainly comprises second and third year students from the popular voice specialisation, as well as students both from within and external to the School of Music. This ensemble encourages autonomy and builds on techniques and skills developed in first year, with a focus on performance, interpretation, movement and teamwork.
Under the direction of pianist and composer Sam Keevers, the Monash University Latin Jazz Ensemble focuses on Afro-Cuban jazz repertoire from artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Mario Bauza, Machito, Eddie Palmieri, Poncho Sanchez, Chucho Valdez and Tito Puente to explore the rhythms of Son, Cha Cha Cha, Songo, Salsa, Rumba and associated clave patterns. The ensemble addresses the diverse range of grooves and rhythms that commonly fall under the broad title of Latin music. Featuring horns, rhythm section, percussionists and vocals, the Latin Jazz Ensemble is a dynamic high-energy group!
The Pop, Soul and R&B Ensemble comprises an instrumental rhythm section and vocal group. Repertoire is selected from a range of popular music styles. Directed by Rod Davies, singers develop both lead and background vocal skills. As a group the focus for all students is on performance, arrangement, movement and teamwork.
The Voice Tech Ensemble introduces students to applied voice science, combining evidence-based voice and ear training with a performance outcome. This Ensemble utilises blended learning approaches, via online video tutorials, study guides, quizzes and links to additional resources, before applying it in a large ensemble setting.
The Modal Music Ensemble is an intercultural project which draws upon the creative melodic and rhythmic practices outside of an explicit harmonic environment. The repertoire of this unique ensemble comprises of contemporary tunes that draws about reworked traditional musical approaches and improvisatory practices from across Asia. Participation in this ensemble will help you develop structured improvisation skills, ways of constructing melody based on modal thought and strategies to gain greater confidence in rhythmic fluency.
The Jeanne Pratt Musical Theatre Ensemble is an intensive three-week program of rehearsals that culminates in performances of a music theatre production. The Ensemble is dedicated to supporting the production of a brand new Australian work supported by the Jeanne Pratt Artists in Residence (JPAiR) program. Students will perform in an orchestra alongside professional musicians from the musical theatre industry.
The Monash Brass and Percussion Ensemble consists of the combined efforts of trumpet, horn, trombone and tuba students, with the frequent addition of percussion. In the recent past, the Ensemble’s repertoire has included many works of varying size and style for different combinations of instruments, running the gamut from the standard antiphonal works of Gabrieli to composers such as Frank Zappa and Arthur Gottschalk. Members of the Monash Brass Ensemble also take part in chamber music activities, varying from trio and quintet performances. Members will develop an increased awareness and application of ensemble skills including intonation, blending, balance and varying roles within the group. The Monash Brass Ensemble is under the leadership of Roman Ponomariov and is featured in concerts multiple times a year.
In addition to these ensembles, a number of smaller chamber music and jazz ensembles form an integral part of the curriculum. Music students participate in at least one ensemble per year.
This broad ensemble program reflects the commitment to encouraging diversity and integration of traditional, multi-cultural and contemporary styles of music performance.
Embodying Jazz and Improvisation: Playing with Ideas and Keeping it Real.
The International Conference on Technologies for Music Notation and Representation is dedicated to issues in theoretical and applied research and development in Music Notation and Representation, with a strong focus on computer tools and applications, as well as a tight connection to music creation.