Professor Richard Kurth is Director of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne. Prior to this appointment in July 2019, he served as Director of the School of Music at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, from 2007-2018. During his tenure as Director at UBC he shaped the School’s future by leading renewal of almost half the full-time faculty positions, evolution of the undergraduate and graduate curricula, and renovation of the Opera Theatre and Roy Barnett Recital Hall. He also initiated strategic planning for a new rehearsal facility and a capital campaign to renew the School’s fleet of pianos.
Richard grew up in a literary and musical family, playing piano from age six and oboe from age 10. He studied mathematics and physics as an undergraduate (BSc, University of Toronto) and then pursued graduate studies in oboe performance, with Bert Lucarelli (MMus, Hartt School of Music) and with Robert Bloom and Sara Lambert Bloom (Artist Diploma, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music). He earned his PhD in music theory at Harvard University (1993) under the supervision of David Lewin. He has held appointments as a faculty member at McGill University (1992-93), the University of Western Ontario (1993-94), and UBC (1994-2019).
Richard’s research interests include theory and analysis of 19th- and 20th-century repertoires, connections between music and poetry in vocal music, and relations between performance and analysis. His publications on diverse aspects of Arnold Schoenberg's music have appeared in the Cambridge Companion to Schoenberg, multiple edited volumes, Music Theory Spectrum, and the Journal of the Arnold Schönberg Center. Articles on a broad range of theoretical, analytical, and critical topics have appeared in the Journal of Music Theory, Theory and Practice, and 19th-Century Music. He was co-recipient of the 1993 Society for Music Theory Young Scholar Award, and has received research grant funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. His doctoral students hold full-time positions at numerous universities in Canada and the United States. Since his arrival in Australia, his research interests have shifted to the music of Australia’s many extraordinary living composers.