Richard Vella

Professor

  • The University of Western Australia (M413), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

Personal profile

Biography

Richard Vella's diverse output of compositions includes works for orchestra, large ensemble, choir, film, chamber music, burlesque cabaret, musictheatre, site-specific performances, and popular music genres. Vella's music is both lyrical and rhythmically engaging evoking a strange sense of déjà vu with its postmodern allusions to genre and style. 

Having received up to 30 commissions, much of his music has been performed and recorded nationally and internationally with many key ensembles having recorded his works for the national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. His ‘Tango for Clarinet and Piano’ is considered a required piece for emerging clarinet players and his guitar preludes and piano music have been recorded on various albums. In 2022, two of his piano solos were recorded on the album Piano Spectrums for Navona Records, US (NV6413). Richard Vella's feature film music score 'Travelling Light' (2003) received the nomination 'Best Music for a feature Film' by the Australian Film Institute. Other 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.

Vella's research with music and its relationship to image, text and performance can be seen in his investigations into new opera, cabaret and music theatre.  He was founding artistic director of Calculated Risks Opera Productions. Calculated Risks 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.

Richard Vella has held many professorial consultative positions with various universities in Australia. From 2007 to 2019, he was Chair and Professor of Music at the University of Newcastle Conservatorium of Music.  At the same time, from 2008 to 2013 he was also Head of School of Creative Arts at the University of Newcastle. From 2008 to 2013 he chaired the National Council of Tertiary Music Schools (NACTMUS, now defunct) and has sat on many national advisory boards and panels concerned with tertiary education in the creative and performing arts.  As well as being adjunct professor at the University of Western Australia, he is also conjoint professor at the University of Newcastle. In 2022 he was appointed chair of the academic board for the SAE Creative Media Institute.

Richard Vella has received awards for excellence in postgraduate supervision from Queensland University of Technology and the University of Newcastle. He has supervised and currently supervises a wide range of PhD students in music, performance, composition, artscience, music and phenomenology, music technology, and interdisciplinary arts practice.

Richard Vella directed the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research group Collaborative Environments for Creative Arts Research (CECAR) from 2013 to 2019. The research activities in CECAR embrace music and phenomenology, performance, composition, music production, interactive technologies, art-science intersections, and the music industry. His interest in art and science relationships began in 1992 when he devised and implemented a pioneering interdisciplinary postgraduate and undergraduate music program within the School of Mathematics, Physics, Computing and Electronics at Macquarie University. The music program laid foundations for the later established Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies within the Faculty of Arts.


CECAR was awarded in 2015 an Australia Research Council Linkage grant in partnership with Monash University, the Australasian Performing Rights Association and the Australia Council for the Arts. The project investigates the cultural and export value of the Australian music export resulting in 2019 with the industry report on music exports: Born Global. This research was subsequently updated and published for Routledge (UK) in 2021 with the new title "The Music Export Business: Born Global".

From 1997 to 2001, Vella was general editor for music with Currency Press, Australia. In that capacity he instigated publications on Australian music with titles in the areas of music research, biography, composition, instrumental pedagogy and performance. Publications discussing his performance work are 'Arias: Recent Australian Music Theatre' Redhouse Editions, 1997; 'The Oxford Dictionary of Australian Music', Oxford University Press, 1998; and 'The Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia', Currency House, 2003. 

His first book Musical Environments: A Manual for Listening, Improvising and Composing, originally published by Currency Press (2000), became a recognised text for secondary and tertiary music courses throughout Australia. In 2003, an international edition of this book entitled Sounds in Space Sounds in Time was published by Boosey and Hawkes, UK.

 



 

 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Education/Academic qualification

Music, Master of Arts, Composition folio and comparative analysis of Stefan Wolpe’s Piece in 2 Parts and Edgard Varèse’s Ionisation using set theory and timbral organisation, La Trobe University

External positions

Chair of Acaedmic Boiard, SAE Creative Media Institute

19 Apr 202219 Apr 2024

Adjunct Professor, University of Newcastle

1 Mar 20191 Mar 2024

Industry keywords

  • Creative Arts

Research expertise keywords

  • Composition, Music hermeneutics, film music, new performance

Fingerprint

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  • 1 Similar Profiles
  • Colours of Memory

    Vella, R., 9 Dec 2022

    Research output: Non-traditional research outputRecorded/rendered creative workpeer-review

  • Mise-en-scene No. 9

    Vella, R., 16 Apr 2022

    Research output: Non-traditional research outputRecorded/rendered creative workpeer-review

  • Mise-en-scene Nos 6

    Vella, R., 15 Apr 2022

    Research output: Non-traditional research outputRecorded/rendered creative workpeer-review

  • Born global

    Chen, S., Homan, S., Redhead, T. & Vella, R., 9 Feb 2021, The Music Export Business. 1 ed. Routledge-Cavendish, p. 170-182 13 p. (The Music Export Business).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

  • Case study

    Chen, S., Homan, S., Redhead, T. & Vella, R., 9 Feb 2021, The Music Export Business. 1 ed. Routledge-Cavendish, p. 114-139 26 p. (The Music Export Business).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review