Research Seminar: Associate Professor Diana Blom and Dr Le-Tuyen Nguyen

Asian influences in Australian music: two composers talk

Australia has a long tradition of drawing on the sounds and music of Asian countries. Nguyen and Blom are composers who are part of this tradition but have different backgrounds which encourage these influences. Nguyen is Vietnamese-Australian, drawing on the music of Vietnam. Blom studied ethnomusicology with Peter Sculthorpe in the 1970s, in particular the music of Bali and Japan, and lived in Hong Kong and Malaysia in the 1980s and so can be described as a musical tourist. This seminar begins with an overview of Australia’s interest in Asia through tourism, politics and as an artistic destination in the 1960s, and discusses the Asian influence in the music of major Australian composers. The talk then takes an artistic practice turn, focusing on works of Nguyen and of Blom, investigating musical influences, where they come from, and how they are used and incorporated into the music.

*Note: There will be a world premiere performance of Le-Tuyen Nguyen’s piano composition ‘Song of the South’ performed by Diana Blom and recorded later at the ANU Recording Studio.

Associate Professor Diana Blom, composer and keyboard player, is Associate Professor of Music, Western Sydney University. Compositions include chamber music, vocal music, music for string orchestra, children’s operas/musicals and she is currently writing a musical. Research interests include higher education music performance, the artist as academic, student popular songwriters, preparing new music for performance, and the meaning of music in relation to Australian popular songs about the Australian experience of the Vietnam War, and music heard online during COVID 2020. Books include Teaching and evaluating performance at university: beyond the conservatory model, co-edited with John Encarnacao, and Music Composition Toolbox, a co-authored composition textbook, published by Science Press. A composer and pianist, Diana’s scores and CDs are published by Wirripang Pty. Ltd., Orpheus Music and Wai-te-Ata Press.

Dr Le-Tuyen Nguyen is an Australian composer, researcher, and teacher. Born in South Vietnam, he settled in Sydney in the 1990s. He studied music and education at the University of New South Wales and completed his doctorate at the Australian National University. His music has been performed in Asia, Europe, Australia, and the USA. He has worked in leadership positions within the New South Wales Department of Education and a Teaching Fellowship at the Australian National University School of Music. More information:

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