Associate Professor Kim Cunio

Head of School
School of Music

ANU School of Music Building [100], William Herbert Place

+61 2 6125 1386

DCA, (Comp), UWS, M Mus, (Comp) UoN, B Mus (Comp & Voice), B Comm UTS

ANU Researcher page

Dr Kim Cunio has studied with a number of Australia's finest musicians including Australian composer Nigel Butterly, conductor and producer Eric Clapham, and Jazz guitar legend Ike Isaacs. Kim is an accomplished researching composer and performer and was awarded an ABC Golden Manuscript Award in recognition of his work with traditional music. Kim can write in many mediums from full scoring for opera or music theatre, orchestra, traditional ensembles, or in modern contexts using sound design and samples. Kim has also provided music for many installations and outdoor events including working to picture and live visuals with large ensembles and choirs. Many of Kim’s commissions have a serious research component, where he combines anthropological work with transcription. Kim takes the position of being a participant observer in such work; and is part of an international push to preserve the dying art of Eastern Jewish (mizrachi) music. 

Kim’s music has been played around the world including performances at the Whitehouse, United Nations NGO’s, and festivals in a number of countries, and his list of commissioning organisations is significant, including the Olympics, The Art Gallery of NSW, The National Gallery of Victoria, The Melbourne International Arts Festival, The Foundation for Universal Sacred Music (USA), and many others. A number of Kim’s projects have been funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, and his touring has been funded by the Commonwealth Government. Kim is published by the ABC, records with New World Music and lectures in composition at The Australian National University.


Some of Kim's recent commissions and projects include, Beyond Karma with the Gyuto Monks of Tibet,  Ishq, music for Khalili collection of Islamic Art at the Art Gallery of NSW; working with researcher Genevieve Campbell on her led project of music of the TIWI Islands; Songs to RA, music for the Egyptian Antiquities exhibition from the Louvre; Mandala for Dawn, an orchestral and choir work commissioned and performed in New York, The Thread of Life, a live recording of an international ensemble in New York for US release; The Temple Project, a realisation process setting ancient Psalms and Biblical texts to Baghdadian Jewish chant on replica instruments; The Sacred Fire, an ABC commission to reconstitute the music of the first woman composer Hildegard of Bingen; Tomorrow's Islam, a commission to write music reflective of contemporary, modernist Islamic thinkers; and Buddha Realms, a response to the diversity of Buddhist music, written as a response to transcriptions of Buddhist players and singers. Kim has also written a significant body of music for television and screen in this period, principally for the ABC, which has seen him nominated for two Guild of Screen Composers Awards. Many of these projects include collaborations, particularly with soprano Heather Lee who has one of the finest high voices of Australia, and their work together combines classical methodology, traditional performance practice, new composition and wild improvisation.

Other noteworthy projects include Rising, a new opera which recently toured QLD, a planned recording of the landmark 13th Century collection, the Cantigas de Santa Maria, producing soprano Heather Lee and the Statny Komorny orchestra, producing composer Yitzhak Yedid’s music for Challenge Records Germany, three discs with the visionary writer Stephanie Dowrick, CDs with Canadian clarinet virtuoso Francois Houle, a commissioned sertting of the stories of assylum seekers in Australia and a new work for The Song Company. Between this Kim is building towards an international project based on the precepts of field recording and acoustic ecology. In the field of technology Kim has beern making a number of sample libraries with Evolution Series, and an upcoming work titled the extended violin is planned with Grame Jennings.

Kim also works in the Indian subcontinent. His work there include sThe Kalpa, a long instrumental work with eminent Carnatic flautist Dr Natesan Ramani; Garden and Cosmos, the Art Gallery of NSW and the Maharaja of Jodhpur’s sacred art collection; Oneness, an international commission on the life of Swami Vivekananda premiered at the Opera House and a project to set Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem Savitri to early Christian chant. A project close to Kim’s heart is The Vanishing, which is concerned with the practice of female feticide in India. The project has seen a multi channel installation prepared for Australia, the US and India, which combines field recordings with fictionalised stories based on ethnographic research in the field, written by Dr Manisha Sharma. Kim is also involved in a major project to document and write music with the Gyuto Monks of Tibet, with 2 releases in 2015-16, and a multi disc set to capture traditional practices that Kim is hoping to combine with a scholarly musicological book. In mid 2016 Kim presented a first work for string orchestra and the Gyuto Monks at the Tyalgum festival in NSW. Future invitations include the Pushkar Sacred Music Festival and the Jaipur Writers Festival.


Updated:  24 February 2021/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications