Associate Professor Kim Cunio, photo: Lannon Harley
For the record
ANU Press Music will be streaming new creative works by esteemed musicians from early 2020. Julia Boyd, BVArt (Hons) ’09, reports.
For Head of ANU School of Music, Associate Professor Kim Cunio a scholarly music label has been 15 years in the making.
“This won't be a museum archive, this will be a place that live music is fostered,” he says.
Cunio hopes that, from the wealth of content on the label, new opportunities will arise for artists.
New projects for the label include radio programs, curated CDs, competitions and audience exposure for musicians.
“In the next year on ANU Press Music, you will be able to hear more new Indigenous music than anywhere else and a hugely divergent range of what new music is. We will publish improvisation, new rock & roll and an anthology of Australian music. We plan to have an emerging artist,
non-genre specific platform. Imagine Triple J Unearthed meets ABC Classics,” says Professor Cunio.
“On this label, you will be able to hear really fine artists who work in universities doing their best project, the one they have always wanted to do.”
An open-access model was well suited to starting a contemporary music label, so when Professor Cunio discovered ANU Press could offer just that he decided to get the project going. ANU Press Music was born.
The platform will allow both academic musicians and artists working outside academia an outlet for their work, free from any commercial constraints.
Surveying music in Australia today, Cunio explains the importance of having a platform where experimentation is encouraged.
“ANU Press Music allows artists to do the art that possibly they might only dream of in ordinary life, and be more rigorous about it, which will be really exciting for them. And this will allow academic artists to be seen and valued.”
Ngarra-burria composers with mentors, and Ensemble Offspring, APRA and AMC reps, and members of partner organisation Moogahlin Performing Arts. Photo by Eora College.
It’s also a changing landscape for live music recording. In the past five years, four music recording programs have been discontinued by ABC and ANU Press Music can help to fill that void. The label hopes to broadcast its recordings on radio. “We have a strong relationship with ABC, and this was one of the foundation ideas of the label,” Cunio says.
ANU Press Music will be a home to Indigenous music. A key mission of the label is to give space for Indigenous music, allowing Indigenous composers and artists to be heard.
One of the first projects to be released is the recording by Indigenous composers from the ‘Ngarra-Burria First Peoples Composers’ program run by the ANU in partnership with Moogahlin Performing Arts and the Eora Centre in Redfern.
Dr Christopher Sainsbury, Senior Lecturer at the ANU School of Music and Ngarra-Burria Program Director, shares the driving force behind this project.
“Ngarra-Burria is a program to assist Indigenous musicians who wish to diversify and write music in a concert music, jazz or installation context. It is essentially for established Indigenous musicians who can read music already, professionals who wish to broaden their palette and expressive options in the industry.
“With these releases, listeners can go to the source to hear Indigenous music. It's about cultural agency, being an Indigenous-owned and Indigenous-led initiative.
Such agency resides with us. It is affirming to be part of something big in Indigenous music and Australian music,” Sainsbury says.
Quality is at the core of the ANU Press Music mission. Cunio affirms that it won't only be School of Music academics who will be able to release work on the label. He hopes that it will become an outlet for creators around Australia to document the work that is being created now—on the ground.
“There will be rigour behind the peer review process of our releases, to ensure the top-quality releases have a place to be heard,” he says.
The new label is a place where academic music research is published and available to listeners, free of charge. Music released through ANU Press Music will be available as an open-access resource to music lovers across the globe in high definition via streaming platforms such as Spotify and Pandora, plus on the ANU Press website. The future is bright for ANU Press Music.