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Distinguished fortepianist joins WAAPA

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Tags: Homepage; Alumni; Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA); Homepage featured

WAAPA students are set to learn from a piano master with the appointment of Professor Geoffrey Lancaster AM as the third ECU Professorial Research Fellow.

In August 2015 ECU announced it was seeking to recruit more than 20 new professors from around the world to rapidly increase its research activity and impact.

Professor Lancaster will lead a number of traditional and performance-based research projects into piano design and restoration, including books, recordings, live performances of music to engage students with historical performance practice, and graduate research supervision. 

“I am delighted to be in Western Australia, and to join the immensely talented team at WAAPA under the leadership of my esteemed colleague and Dean, Professor Julie Warn,” Professor Lancaster said.

“It is a double honour to become a Professor of Edith Cowan University in the University’s 25th anniversary year,” he said.

Learning from the master

One of Professor Lancaster’s first projects at WAAPA will be conducting Henry Purcell’s 17th Century opera Dido and Aeneas, which he restored to its original dimensions by reconstructing the prologue that was lost some time in the 18th Century. Vocal, music and dance students will present the West Australian premiere of the reconstructed Dido and Aeneas.

The production includes over 60 performers from the vocal, dance and instrumental programs, directed by WAAPA’s Head of Acting, Glenda Linscott.

“WAAPA draws together a community of people who have the talent and passion for the performing arts,” Professor Lancaster said.

“It is a place where applied research into performance practice can thrive and enrich the lives of students and audiences.

“The WAAPA faculty includes many acclaimed arts professionals and master teachers, and it is my privilege to work with them to offer a remarkable resource for aspiring young performers,” he said.

Distinguished career

Professor Lancaster is among the world’s most acclaimed early keyboardists, performing on fortepiano (the piano of the 18th and early 19th century), piano and harpsichord.  He was the first Australian to win a major international keyboard competition.  His career honours include the ARIA best classical album, Gramophone best recording, order of arts and letters, and the Order of Australia.  He received the Australian Artists ‘Keating’ Creative Fellowship from the Australia Council in 1992, and in 2006 was named Australian of the Year for the Australian Capital Territory, and an Honorary Ambassador for Canberra. 

He grew up in Canberra and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the Canberra School of Music, before completing a Master of Music at the Tasmanian Conservatorium, and a PhD at Sydney University - where he also lectured for several years at the Sydney Conservatorium. Assisted by a Commonwealth grant, he studied fortepiano with Stanley Hoogland at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. His career as a soloist and orchestral director has seen him appear with many orchestras including the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Tafelmusik, Ensemble 415, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Gurzenich Orchestra of Cologne, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and all Australian symphony orchestras. He has recorded over 50 albums on Sony Classical, ABC Classics, Supraphon and Tall Poppies. His projects for festivals have included appearances at the Sydney, Shanghai and Mostly Mozart festivals, and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, among many others.

He has served as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of La Cetra Barockorchester Basel, Director of the Tasmanian Symphony Chamber Players, Artistic Director of Ensemble of the Classic Era, Professor and Head of Keyboard at The Australian National University, Associate Professor of the Royal College of Music in London, and Curator of Musical Instruments at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.  He has also taught at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, Conservatory of Amsterdam, Mozarteum, Royal Academy in London, Australian National Academy of Music, and the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts.

A noted educator and scholar, he is a pioneer of the historical performance practice movement and of performance led research.  He was elected a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators in 2007 and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2011. 

Professor Lancaster is the first academic staff member to be appointed a full Professor of WAAPA and the third ECU Professorial Research Fellow. He joins Professor Pere Masqué, an international expert in environmental science and oceanography and radicalisation expert Professor Anne Aly

Visit the Professorial Research Fellows webpage for more information.

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