English-born Australian composer, writer and radio presenter Dr Andrew Ford has embarked on a series of new musical works, public lectures and concerts as part of his HC Coombs Creative Arts fellowship at The Australian National University (ANU).
The centrepiece of his year-long fellowship at ANU will be a gala concert in September featuring the premiere of a duo for violin and cello he composed especially for musicians Tor Fromyhr (violin) and David Pereira (cello), entitled The Sea and the Mirror.
Deputy Head of ANU School of Music Dr Paul McMahon said Dr Ford's fellowship has been designed around his commitments as presenter of The Music Show on ABC Radio National and reflect the diversity of his life as a professional musician.
"Dr Andrew Ford is one of Australia's leading classical composers, he is a prolific and highly-respected author on the subject of music in eclectic contexts," he said.
"His public lectures within the School of Music, at the National Library of Australia and as part of the Canberra Writers' Festival draw up Andrew's varied interests in exploring, reflecting upon and in listening to music in innovative ways."
Staff and students of the School of Music will also feature in live performances designed to explore Andrew's music and that of other composers throughout the year.
"I most want to communicate that music is a form of knowledge, so it's a very suitable thing to be studied and created in a university," Dr Ford said.
"But the knowledge is musical knowledge and you understand a piece of music by playing it and singing it and interacting with it in a musical way."
Formerly an academic, Dr Ford said he's looking forward to working with the music students.
"I miss the teaching and I enjoy encouraging students to think. It seems to me that certainty is the enemy of learning," he said.
"I used to ask my students not to take notes in my lecture, but to look at me and listen to what I was saying, and what I was trying to say was to kick away some of the pre-conceptions they might have because if you believe something absolutely you're never going to have a new idea."
The ANU has two HC Coombs Creative Fellowships in 2018. The other Coombs Fellow is Australian music producer, Mark Opitz.
The HC Coombs Fellowship was established in 1964 by the then ANU Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr HC "Nugget" Coombs. It allows artists in various areas of the creative arts to engage in a period of uninterrupted creative work in residence at the ANU.
Previous ANU Coombs Fellows include Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, Don Burrows, Don Banks, Arthur Cantrill, Judith Clingan, George Golla, George Dreyfus, Xavier Herbert, Christina Stead, Penny Tweedie and Clive Scollay, and Judith Wright.