Music students with Dr Ros McMillan and Martin Foley MP.

Brian Brown Recording Studio continues the legacy of a visionary Australian artist

By Alix Bromley

On Friday March 27, the upgraded Brian Brown Recording Studio at the University of Melbourne’s Southbank campus – home to the VCA and MCM – was launched by the Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley MP.

The studio is named in honour of the brilliant Australian jazz musician Brian Brown OAM (1933-2013) who established the jazz and improvisation course at the VCA in 1980. The upgrades, funded by the State Government through Creative Victoria, will allow for a bigger live recording space, high-end technology and a range of new teaching, research and community activities.

The development of the original studio, known as the Sound Research Studio, was overseen by Brian Brown in 1980 and the studio was regarded as one of the foremost centres for electro-acoustic composition in Australia.

Dr Ros McMillan, Brian Brown’s widow, spoke of her husband’s legacy at the launch and led a rendition of one of Brian’s compositions Wildflowers, played by herself, David Jones, Ashley Cross and Bryce Turcato.

Senior Lecturer in Music at the VCA, Dr Robert Vincs, who studied and played with Brian Brown said: “Brian was an inspired musician who used the most advanced technology he could find, weaving it into his saxophone and flute playing, painting the vision of 21st century music-making.”

The Studio now has a “live” sounding space in addition to a “dead” space; a 36 channel in-line recording console with digital integration; a comprehensive collection of new microphone technologies as well as sought-after vintage mics; low-latency HD video monitoring to allow musicians in a variety of spaces to record and communicate via video; an audio and video link with adjacent teaching space and an ensemble room to deliver studio classes on a large scale.

There are also plans to set up full synthesiser integration to allow digital input into our analogue synthesiser collection – including the rare Synthi 100 – meaning new production technologies can be used in conjunction with old.

Music student Liam Whittaker, Martin Foley MP, Professor Mark Pollard and Dr Ros McMillan. Photo: Peter Casamento.
Music student Liam Whittaker, Martin Foley MP, Professor Mark Pollard and Dr Ros McMillan. Photo: Peter Casamento.

Director of the VCA, Professor Su Baker, said: “As a result of the upgrade, the studio now offers all the functions required by emerging musicians in the 21st century, continuing the legacy of a visionary Australian artist.”

The studio was and continues to be the centre for jazz and improvisation recording at the VCA with constant links to ensemble teaching led by prominent musicians on staff including Alex Pertout, Rob Vincs, Geoff Hughes, Ashley Cross and Geoff Kluke.

(Main image: Music students with Dr Ros McMillan and Martin Foley MP.)

A version of this article originally appeared on Channel, the Faculty’s previous publishing platform.