Born in Melbourne, 1954, Vella's diverse output includes works for orchestra, large ensemble, choir, film, chamber music, burlesque cabaret, music theatre, site-specific performances, and popular music genres. Many of his works are now recognised as set repertoire such as his 'Tango', for clarinet, and the guitar solos 'Between Earth and Air' and 'Mirrors of Fire'. His film
credits include 'Light Years', 'Parklands', 'Renzo Piano: piece by piece' (for which he won the 1999 Australian Screen Composer's Award for best music for a documentary) and 'Mr. Strehlow's Films'. His feature film music score 'Travelling Light' (2003) received the nomination 'Best Music for a feature Film' by the Australian Film Institute.
Recent works have been 'The A to Z of Spiritual Music: a user's guide', commissioned by The Seymour Group (2006) http://www.abc.net.au/classic/spiritual his co-production of the Warners international release of the Ten Tenor's album 'Larger than Life' (2003) and a revised version of his music theatre work 'Tales of Love' (2002). Vella was founding artistic director of Calculated Risks Opera Productions. Calculated Risks has premiered three of his major works, 'Tales of Love' (1991/2002), 'The Last Supper' (1993) and 'Bodysongs: the Fatman Tour' (1998). These works have toured nationally and internationally in various formats.
Publications discussing his performance work are 'Arias: Recent Australian Music Theatre' (Redhouse Editions, 1997) and 'The Oxford Dictionary of Australian Music' (Bebbington Warren (Ed), Oxford University Press, 1998). He has been invited to be Visiting and Consulting Professor of Music to many institutions in the areas of research and undergraduate curriculum development. Between 1992 and 1996 Vella devised and implemented an interdisciplinary postgraduate and undergraduate music program within the School of Mathematics, Physics, Computing and Electronics at Macquarie University. From 1989 to 2001, Richard was director and commissioning editor for music with Currency Press, Sydney. In this capacity he solicited and oversaw many books and publications on print music,recordings, manuals, and scholarly works. His own book 'Musical Environments: A Manual for Listening, Composing', originally published by Currency Press, has become a recognised text for secondary and tertiary music courses throughout Australia. In 2003, a new edition of this book entiltled 'Sounds in Space Sounds in Time' was published by Boosey and Hawkes, UK.
He is currently Chair and Professor of Music and Head of School, Drama, Fine Art and Music at the University of Newcastle. Richard Vella is Chair of the National Council of Tertiary Music Schools (NACTMUS) and sits on many advisory groups concerned with tertiary education in the creative and performing arts.
- Master of Arts (Music), La Trobe University, 18/08/1982
- Music composition
- Performing arts
- film music
- hermeneutics and creative practice
- music theatre
- Drama, Theatre and Performance studies
- Music Composition
- Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Fields of Research
|190499||Performing Arts And Creative Writing Not Elsewhere Classified||100|
Body relevant to professional practice.
- National Council for Tertiary Music Schools (NACTMUS)
Richard Vella's research interests are interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary. His main research focus is on modelling, metaphor, hermeneutics and creative thinking across diverse knowledge domains. In particular he is interested in the role of creative practice in the construction of models.
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Click on a category title below to expand the list of citations for that specific category.
Book (1 outputs)
|2003||Vella R, Sounds in Space, Sounds in Time, Boosey and Hawkes, London, UK, 240 (2003) [A4]|
Chapter (4 outputs)
|2015||Vella R, English H, 'Embedding Creative and Critical Thinking in Performance Studies - The Challenge', Assessment in Music Education: From Policy to Practice, Springer International Publishing, Switzerland 141-151 (2015)|
|2014||Vella RJ, English H, 'Embedding Creative and Critical Thinking in Performance Studies - The Challenge', Assessment in Music Education: from Policy to Practice, Springer International Publishing, Switzerland 141-152 (2014)|
|2012||Vella RJ, 'Thoughts on the training of a music student at university level', Sound Musicianship: Understanding the Crafts of Music, Cambridge Scholars, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK 357-368 (2012) [B2]|
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Conference (2 outputs)
Creative Work (15 outputs)
|2013||Vella RJ, Vella RJ, Let's Dance, Harold Lobb Concert Hall, Newcastle, NSW, Australia (2013) [J2]|
|2013||Vella RJ, Eluard P, Rabindranath T, Hildegard, Unending Love, The Harold Lobb Concert Hall, Newcastle, NSW, Australia (2013) [J2]|
|2012||Vella RJ, Gabrielli G, Scott N, Redhead T, In Ecclesiis - a global performance, Harold Lobb Concert Hall, University of Newcastle & Deep Space, Ars Electronica, Linz, Australia (2012) [J1]|
This telematic performance of Gabrilli's 'In Ecclesiis' (1596) was performed in 2 locations simultaneously: Newcastle (Australia), Linz (Austria). Telematic communication sends and stores data via networks using telecommunications and informatics. An inherent problem with any telematic performance is latency: time delay resulting from sound and image travelling via the internet. Current performance practices focus on musical textures based on layering where there is no perceived metric beat or mono directional communication. The research in this performance was to create a seemingly non-latent performance. 'In Ecclesiis' was chosen due to its clearly defined cohorts (brass, 2 choirs, soloists) performing antiphonally. To achieve this, the performance separated the visual communication from audio communication. A main conductor was separated and conducted by video. The conductor could not see or hear the musicians and singers. Sub-conductors were used in both locations and conducted in time to the main conductor's video stream. The audio was sent via the software Jack Trip and remixed separately to coincide with the live performance in Newcastle and Linz. These involved multiple communication channels. The result was a seemingly non-latent performance however as the video attests, the original sources were all experiencing delay of about 1 second. The global performance of ‘In Ecclesiis’ was performed for the International Space Time Concerto Competition (2012) in Newcastle. It was broadcast live on the internet and involved performance venues from 5 countries. AARNET nominated the performance as an example of innovative uses of the internet. The number of sponsors demonstrates the project's significance and impact.
|2008||De Aragon C, Moore I, Vella RJ, Scott-Mitchell A, Scott N, Wasted: Back to the City, backtothecity.com.au, Newcastle, NSW (2008) [J2]|
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Other (6 outputs)
|2014||Vella RJ, 'Metaphor, Analogy, Music and the Interdisciplinary', . Melbourne: Musicological Society of Australia (2014)|
|2012||Vella RJ, 'The Rhapsode goes to University: a discussion of Plato¿s Ion in relation to creative arts research.', . Canberra (2012)|
|2012||Vella RJ, Drummond J, 'Mathematics, Music, Visualisation & Creative Thinking', . Canberra (2012)|
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Grants and Funding
|Number of grants||1|
Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.
2014 (1 grants)
ERF Teaching Relief - English$25,000
Funding Body: University of Newcastle
|Number of current supervisions||19|
|Total current UoN Masters EFTSL||1.02|
|Total current UoN PhD EFTSL||6.9|
For supervisions undertaken at an institution other that the University of Newcastle, the institution name is listed below the program name.
|Program||Supervisor Type||Research Title|
|2015||2019||PhD (Music)||Principal Supervisor||The Songwriter/Producer in a Digitised and Connective World|
|2015||2019||PhD (Music)||Consultant Supervisor||An Exploration of Piano Sonatos by Australian Composers During the Period of World War II (1939-45)|
|2014||2018||M Philosophy (Music)||Principal Supervisor||NSW Conservatoria of Music: Community Making and Social Inclusion|
|2014||2018||M Philosophy (Music)||Principal Supervisor||Remixing and Re-interpretation of Classics: Relevance and Attributes|
|2014||2022||PhD (Music)||Principal Supervisor||Process and Product - The Phenomenulogy of the Solo Concerts of Keith Jarrett|
|2014||2018||PhD (Music)||Principal Supervisor||The Future Rock Show|
|2014||2018||PhD (Music)||Principal Supervisor||Future Gazing: The Concert Musician in the 21st Century|
|2013||2017||PhD (Fine Art)||Principal Supervisor||ORI* on Aesthetics and Language of Folding and Technology|
|2013||2017||PhD (Music)||Co-Supervisor||Classical Voice and the Microphone|
|2013||2015||PhD (Music)||Principal Supervisor||Towards Maximal Convergence: The Relationship Between Composition, Performance and Production in Realtime Software Environments|
|2013||2017||PhD (History)||Co-Supervisor||Music in the Valley: Identity, Memory and Reinvention in Colonial Newcastle and The Hunter Valley, 1870-1879|
|2012||2015||PhD (Music)||Principal Supervisor||The Polysynchronous Film Score: The Relationship between Music and Image/Narrative in Contemporary Scores for Silent Film|
|2012||2017||PhD (Education)||Co-Supervisor||Keep the Flame Burning: Exploring the Barriers that inhibit the effective teaching of the Arts in Primary Schools|
|2011||2015||PhD (Music)||Co-Supervisor||The Traditional Music of East Timor|
|2011||2018||PhD (Music)||Principal Supervisor||Off-White: A Latterday Travesty|
|2009||2013||M Philosophy (Music)||Principal Supervisor||Towards an Aesthetic of Groove|
|2008||2016||PhD (Music)||Principal Supervisor||Symmetry and Symmetry Reduction in Music|
|2008||2018||PhD (Music)||Principal Supervisor||Pragmatics of Intertextuality in Recorded Music|
|2007||2011||PhD (Music)||Sole Supervisor||Joseph Schillinger and His System for Aesthetical Engineering: Applications in Music Composition and Analysis|
|Year||Program||Supervisor Type||Research Title|
|2014||M Philosophy (Music)||Co-Supervisor||Acoustic Phenomena as a Model for Music Composition|
|2014||PhD (Music)||Co-Supervisor||Music in Context: An Exploration of Music and Dramaturgy|
|2013||M Arts (Music) [R]||Co-Supervisor||A Study Examining the ICT Literacy Levels of Music Educators in the New South Wales Department of Education and Training|
|2009||M Creative Arts (Music) [R]||Co-Supervisor||Developing Twenty-First Century Art Music Repertoire|
|2008||M Creative Arts (Music) [R]||Co-Supervisor||The Maturing Trumpeter: An Insight to the Physicality, Mentality and Practicality of the Twenty First Century Performing Trumpeter|
Professor Richard Vella
|Work Phone||(02) 4921 5995|
|Fax||(02) 4921 8958|
|Position||Professor Of Music|
School of Creative Arts
Faculty of Education and Arts
The University of Newcastle, Australia
Cnr Laman and Auckland Street
Newcastle NSW 2300