Perth-based music scholar receives Australia’s most prestigous music award

Dr Sarah Collins is the recipient of the Australian Academy of the Humanities’ prestigious 2019 McCredie Musicological Award, recognising outstanding contribution to Musicology by an Australian scholar.

Musicology is the scholarly study of music that aims to explore its cultural and/or historical context, its aesthetic features as a form of human expression, the modes of performance associated with it, and its role as a social and political activity.

Photo fo Sarah Collins
Photo: University of Western Australia and Travis Hayto

Dr Collins is a senior lecturer of Musicology at the University of Western Australia Conservatorium of Music. She completed her doctoral studies at the University of Queensland and King’s College, University of London, and she has held research and teaching appointments at Monash University, UNSW and Durham University, as well as a visiting fellowship at Harvard University. She joined the UWA Conservatorium of Music in 2018, where she is currently Chair of Research and Chair of Musicology.

Dr Collins’ research focuses on the intersection between political, aesthetic and ethical concerns in music literature of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries (including music historiography, music criticism, and aesthetics). Her broader research interests include British music and modernism, Anglo-European musical relations during the inter-war period, cosmopolitanism, ‘new’ modernism, and disciplinary history.

“As the contours of humanities disciplines shift and expand, we must retain a sense in which research still very much relies on an ecosystem of intellectual exchange, mentorship, collegiality and challenge,” said Dr Collins upon news of her award.

“I feel humbled to receive this award and do so in the spirit of celebrating the daily efforts of disciplinary colleagues and interlocutors who continue to pursue difficult questions and who support others in doing so.”

Award applications were assessed by an Expert Panel of internationally recognised leaders in the field of Musicology: Professor John Griffiths AM Oficial Orden Isabel la Católica FAHA (Chair), Professor Samantha Owens FAHA and the 2015 recipient of the McCredie Musicological Award Dr David Irving FAHA.

“Dr Collins is a tall poppy among Australian musicologists of her generation,” said Professor John Griffiths. “She shows an outstanding level of creativity and intellectual energy.”

The announcement of Dr Collins as the recipient of this year’s McCredie Musicological Award was made on Tuesday 27 August at the Academy’s Intercultural Intersections event held at the University of Adelaide’s Elder Hall. It was fitting to make the announcement during this event, given the deep connection between Professor McCredie and the University.

About the award

The McCredie Musicological Award recognises outstanding contribution in musicology by an Australian scholar, from performance practice, music in the cultural context, through to the theory, analysis and composition of music. It is Australia’s most prestigious award for the study of music.

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.