The University of Newcastle's Professor Richard Vella will lead the peak body for all tertiary music in Australia, following his unanimous election as Chair of the National Council of Tertiary Music (NACTMUS).
Professor Vella, who is Head of the University's School of Drama, Fine Art and Music (incorporating the Conservatorium), will use the new role to be an advocate for tertiary music educators across the higher education sector.
"This role is an opportunity to give music a clear voice in what is an increasingly dynamic higher education sector," Professor Vella said.
"NACTMUS is an important reference point for all issues regarding tertiary music as a discipline. It makes significant contributions to policy development for research in creative arts, and promotes scholarly investigation into issues relevant to tertiary music.
"It will be my job to ensure NACTMUS is consulted in various discussions such as the Australian Government's new research quality and evaluation system - the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative."
Since arriving at the University of Newcastle in 2007, Professor Vella has been instrumental in taking the University of Newcastle's Conservatorium in an exciting new direction.
He is addressing the fundamental conundrum of how, in just three years, its curriculum can prepare graduates to enter the music industry as well as teach the technical skills required of a modern musician.
In 2009, he plans to broaden the curriculum offered by the Conservatorium to include popular, contemporary, jazz and world music along with existing offerings in classical music.