New York composer to lead ANU School of Music

9 February 2017

Internationally recognised composer and performer Ken Lampl, who has written music for more than 70 films, TV shows and video games, has been appointed as Head of The Australian National University (ANU) School of Music.

Renowned tenor and early music specialist Dr Paul McMahon has been appointed Deputy Head of the School.

Professor Lampl, who joined the ANU as Professor of Composition in 2016, has been trained in both classical music and jazz and is a former faculty member of the renowned Juilliard School in New York City.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC said Professor Lampl and Dr McMahon would form an energetic and inspirational leadership team who will ensure that the recently announced $12.5 million strategic investment in the School would build the its reputation and ensure ANU music students were sought after and well prepared for careers in music.

"I'm absolutely delighted to appoint Ken Lampl and Paul McMahon to lead the School of Music," Professor Schmidt said.

"During his career, Ken has played alongside some of the world's greatest jazz musicians, while his compositions for film, TV and games are known around the world.

"The University is particularly pleased that Ken, while Head, will continue to teach students at ANU and pursue his vision for excellence in teaching and research at the School of Music, and that Paul will foster growth of the performance program."

Professor Lampl has strong expertise in recording and music technology.

For the past decade he was Director of the Music Business and Technology Program at Hofstra University in New York, which Billboard Magazine ranked as one of the top music industry programs in the United States.

He has studied with legendary film composer John Williams and taught at Juilliard, the Shanghai Conservatory and the Danish National Conservatory.

He has composed music for dozens of films and TV shows, including the first two Pokemon movies.

Professor Lampl said he was excited to become the new Head and he looked forward to building an elite program to take the School of Music into the 21st Century.

"Together with my colleagues at the School of Music, we will build an education program which emphasises the highest level of performance skills alongside skills in multi-media, audio recording, music technology and research," he said.

"I'm committed to building on the great strengths of the ANU and to position the School of Music as the premiere school for 21st Century musical training."

Dr McMahon, who is currently head of the Performance program with responsibility for all instrumental and vocal courses in the School of Music, will focus on building internationally ranked performance tuition as the School builds up its numbers of internal performance teachers. 

"This is a crucial time for the School," said Dr McMahon. "I am proud to be working with Ken Lampl, to meet the opportunities presented in the report of Andrew Podger last year, which were built upon extensive community consultation." 

"We know what the University, the community and the profession expect from the School.  We now want to deliver so many of those expectations, within a framework of strong education, quality practice and insightful research."

As part of the University's Music leadership arrangements, Professor Malcolm Gillies, current interim head of the School, will remain as the School's mentor, and Will Christie, the head of the Humanities Research Centre, will retain the role of supervisor. Both are committed to a smooth transition for the School when the new leadership arrangements take effect on 1 March 2017.  

The appointment of the new Head and Deputy Head of School follows the ANU decision in October 2016 to commit an extra $12.5 million to the School of Music over five years to ensure a bright future for music teaching and research at the University.

To watch a video on Professor Lampl visit ANU TV.