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Katherine Smith, University Media Unit
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Research into music performance using the clarinet and a laptop computer has won a $20,000 Keith and Elisabeth Murdoch 2011 Travelling Fellowship, worth $20,000, for University of Melbourne student Samuel Dunscombe.

Mr Dunscombe, who is completing his Master of Music Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) this year, has been accepted into the September intake of the doctoral program at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) where he will continue his unique music performance research. He aims to use the Murdoch Fellowship to help cover the tuition and living expenses during his first year of study.

The judges for the award, Associate Professor Mark Pollard (Head of VCA Contemporary Music), Charles MacInnes (Convenor of Brass at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music) and Dr Rob Vincs (Senior Lecturer, VCA Contemporary Music), said Mr Dunscombe’s application and interview illustrated that he is one of the finest emerging contemporary music artists in Melbourne.

“His early career achievements are extraordinary and he has done much to foster the development of new music,” said Associate Professor Pollard.

Mr Dunscombe’s research examines the effect of digital technology on contemporary music performance practice. He sees the doctoral program at UCSD as a crucial element in his development as an artist.

“The program will develop a unique set of skills in the areas of clarinet performance, computer programming and research; directly benefiting my career as a performing musician, a computer programmer for audio signal processing, as well as my research into the impact that computer technology has had on contemporary music performance practice,” Mr Dunscombe said.

Mr Dunscombe, who co-founded the Golden Fur trio in 2008, said: “My vision is to create music that blurs the boundaries between traditional acoustic instrumental performance, digital sound, and real-world acoustic phenomena.” 

The prestigious Keith and Elisabeth Murdoch Travelling Fellowship is awarded biennially to Music graduates, through the generosity of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, AC, DBE. The Travelling Fellowship is designed to allow a young artist to travel and study overseas at a particularly important period in his or her career.