An internationally-renowned music scholar with a 50-year association with the ANU School of Music will return to Canberra to lead the school as the University finalises community consultations on the school and completes the appointment of a permanent head.
Professor Malcolm Gillies AM, who began with the School as an 11-year-old violin student at Canberra School of Music in 1966, will commence immediately as an advisor and mentor.
From October 17, he will be Interim Head of the School of Music for six months as it enters its next phase with a new permanent Head, at which point he will return to a mentoring and advisory role.
Professor Gillies brings a unique combination of a deep and long connection to Canberra, ANU and the School and outstanding leadership and scholarship credentials. He has served as Vice-Chancellor of two British universities - the London Metropolitan University and the City University in London, and as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of ANU.
"I owe a huge debt to the School of Music, which I have known for half a century," Professor Gillies said.
"I look forward to returning to the School and to contributing to the School's consolidation over the coming months."
Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said the appointment of Professor Gillies underscores the University's long-term commitment to the future of the School.
ANU is currently conducting an international search for a new permanent Head of the School of Music, while distinguished former public servant Professor Andrew Podger AO is finalising an extensive community consultation about the School's future direction.
Professor Gillies will take over from current Interim Head Dr Royston Gustavson.
"Professor Gillies has long and enduring ties with ANU and we are delighted he has agreed to return home to Canberra to lead the School through a critical period of its history," Professor Schmidt said.
"He brings an unparalleled record of music scholarship and academic leadership to the school. His calibre as a leader and scholar will help the School of Music secure its long-term future and deliver on its core mission to give students a great education."
Professor Schmidt also paid tribute to Dr Gustavson, who has stepped down as Interim Head and will return to his fulltime role as the Associate Dean (Education) of the College of Arts and Social Sciences.
"I'd like to thank Royston for his leadership of the School of Music during 2015 and 2016," he said.
"Royston has done a tremendous job to lead the school at a difficult time in its history. He has helped recruit talented new academics to the school, organise the school's academic structures and has reshaped the courses on offer to students."
Professor Gillies graduated from ANU with a classics degree, and went on to study music at the University of Cambridge, Kings College London, the University of London and Melbourne University, from which he holds a higher doctorate in music.
He has been a Deputy Vice-Chancellor of ANU, and has served as president of both the Australian Academy of Humanities and the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.
He studied violin at the School when he was a child, under esteemed teacher Vincent Edwards and knew founding Director Ernest Llewellyn.
During his studies, Professor Gillies led the Canberra Youth Orchestra and played with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra.
Professor Gillies is the latest in a string of high-profile appointments to the School of Music this year, including Dr Christopher Sainsbury, Dr Bonnie McConnell, Dr Natalie Williams and composer Kenneth Lampl, who has joined the School from New York.