Presenter Goetz Richter

Photo (c) The University of Sydney / Stefanie Zingsheim

Goetz Richter is a violinist, teacher and thinker with a dual background in music and philosophy. He is currently Associate Professor at the University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music where he co-ordinates performance studies for violinists and supervises research students. Previous positions include a fifteen-year tenure as Associate Concertmaster with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (1987-2002) and early career positions as Associate Principal Violin II with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (1986-87) and Concertmaster of the Queensland Theatre Orchestra (1985-1986).

His students achieve success as prize-winners of national and international competitions, are appointed to positions in orchestras throughout Europe, Asia and Australia and are active as teachers in Australia and abroad. His leadership of the Sydney Conservatorium String department was prominently featured in a special 2004 edition of “The Strad” magazine. In 2005 and 2006 Richter was invited to the faculty of the Euro Arts Music Festival in Leipzig. He frequently gives masterclasses and pedagogical seminars in Shanghai (2015, Shanghai International Masterclasses), Guangzhou, Wuhan and Fuzhou (2017), Singapore and New Zealand (NZ Music Teachers’ Association 2015) and throughout Australia. He convenes the Australian Violin Pedagogy Conference (most recently in 2015 in Launceston and 2017 in Sydney) and he is an editor of the on-line string pedagogy journal String Praxis. He was founding Artistic Director of the Camden Haven Music Festival, Artistic Director of the Riverina Summer School for Strings (2012-2017), founding Artistic Director of the Kendall National Violin Competition and visiting professor at the Wuhan Conservatorium in China. Richter holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Sydney.


The future for String Pedagogy in Australian tertiary education

This paper discusses the current outlook for string teachers in Australia. In essence, I argue that musical performance binds and transforms tensions within life and society. More particularly, string teaching is embedded in the conditions of society and culture. At the same time such teaching must transform these conditions. In this respect string teachers share a common purpose with universities who are charged with the renewal of society. This mutual purpose should provide Universities and musicians in principle with significant opportunities.
In my presentation, I will seek a high level view that also tackles practical issues in a very direct way: At this point, string teaching in Australia seems challenged and somewhat lacking in a coherent vision for the future of its discipline. I will argue that this might have to do with our methodologies, the traditions of our own thinking and a tendency to reuse successful solutions of the past. If we want to address this we will need to look at ways in which we teach string playing and its pedagogy.
One thing is fairly obvious: society and culture are changing and modern life empowers learners to seek many ways to access a given discipline and indeed challenge the foundations of disciplines themselves. We are seeing a rise of social contexts as drivers for learning. This provides string teachers with challenges and opportunities. While the potential for distraction is increasing, the opportunity to reinvent the discipline and our work is real. I seek to outline some core methodological thoughts for string playing communities and university pedagogy and performance programs in the future.