Roger Covell Fellowship

The Roger Covell Fellowship publicly acknowledges the contribution that Roger Covell has made to the development of the performing arts, especially music, within UNSW Australia and the wider Australian community. The Fellowship is intended to bring together leading intellectuals, artists, students, and the public to discuss, debate, and foreground through creative expression, the dynamic relationship between music and the critical issues of the present-day.

The basic aims of the Fellowship are to encourage the general public to:
1. Engage with scholars, composers and performing artists of international standing in a prominent, regular forum that centres on the relationship between music and contemporary social, aesthetic and intellectual issues;
2. Investigate and experience music’s power to critique and express contemporary social experience.

For more information on the Roger Covell Fellowship contact
Associate Professor Manolete Mora:

2017 : Satoko Fujii : Roger Covell Fellow

Satoko FujiiCritics and fans alike hail pianist and composer Satoko Fujii as one of the most original voices in jazz today.  She's “a virtuoso piano improviser, an original composer and a band-leader who gets the best collaborators to deliver," says John Fordham in The Guardian.  In concert and on approximately 80 albums as a leader or co-leader, the Japanese native synthesizes jazz, contemporary classical, avant-rock and Japanese folk music into an innovative music instantly recognizable as hers alone.

Since she burst onto the scene in 1996 after earning her graduate diploma from New England Conservatory, Fujii has led some of the most consistently creative ensembles in modern improvised music. Fujii has established herself as one of the world’s leading composers for large jazz ensembles. 2016 marked her 20th year in creative music and 2017 brings her to UNSW Sydney as the Roger Covell Fellow.

“Whether performing with her orchestra, combo, or playing solo piano, Satoko Fujii points the listener towards the future of music itself rather than simply providing entertainment”
- Junichi Konuma, Asahi Graph.

2017 : Satoko Fujii : Keynote Talk Documentation

Listen to the 2017 Roger Covell Fellowship Keynote Event with Satoko Fujji.

2017 : Satoko Fujii : Events

Friday 19 May, 7pm
Io Myers Studio 

G16 Jazz Collective & UNSW Guitar Ensemble

A thrilling concert exploring music – past, present and future. The students of these two ensembles will share the stage with Satoko, conducted by Sandy Evans.

Bookings & Information

Thursday 25 May, 7pm
Io Myers Studio

"We can play anything": A conversation with Satoko Fujii on creative determination and the musical self

'Unpredictable, wildly creative, and uncompromising…Fujii is an absolutely essential listen for anyone interested in the future of jazz.'
- Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

An interview and demonstration between Alister Spence and Satoko Fujii. A reflection on the importance of curiosity and determination in creative development vis-à-vis the notion of talent. Allied to this is the discussion of the developmental relationship between personal musical expression, formal training and cultural background as exemplified by her engagement with Okinawan music and min’yo vocal styles. Fujii’s broader vision is of a vibrant, multi-faceted, and multi-dimensional music community, one that champions individual endeavour and a commitment to the creative self.

Bookings & Information

Friday 26 May, 7pm
Io Myers Studio 

Listen Up! Satoko Fujii with UNSW Music

Featuring Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura (Japan)
with the UNSW Jazz Orchestra and Advanced Jazz Ensemble

“Unpredictable, wildly creative, and uncompromising … Fujii is an absolutely essential listen for anyone interested in the future of jazz."
– Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

Join us for a spectacular night of contemporary original improvised music!

The 2017 Roger Covell Fellow: virtuoso piano improviser/composer Satoko Fujii and extraordinary trumpet soloist, Natsuki Tamura will join creative forces with UNSW’s own Advanced Jazz Ensemble to play a set of Satoko’s compositions. Then Satoko will take up the baton to conduct the UNSW Jazz Orchestra performing her 2016 composition 'Fukushima Suite,’ with Natsuki Tamura as guest trumpeter and soloist. This is a beautiful, explosive and haunting work written as an evocation of her own reactions to the March 11, 2011 nuclear catastrophe.

Don't miss a special improvisation by Satoko with UNSW staff (and music legends) Sandy Evans, Alister Spence and John Napier.

Curated and conducted by Sandy Evans, an internationally renowned saxophonist and composer with a passion for improvisation and new music, and Alister Spence, one of Australia’s most original, distinctive pianists and composers.

Bookings and Information

2017: Satoko Fujii : Support

Australia Japan Foundation

The Roger Covell Fellowship and ‘Imagine Meeting you Here: Fujii/Spence performance, education, recording' Project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

2015 : Professor Steven Feld: Inaugural Roger Covell Fellow

Steven Feld - portraitSteven Feld is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Music (Ethnology) in the School of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. He is a scholar of international renown in the fields of anthropology, linguistics, and ethnomusicology. He has been awarded a number of prestigious prizes including the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the Chicago Folklore Prize. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has occupied professorial positions at the University of California Santa Cruz, University of Texas, University of Pennsylvania, and Colombia University. His ground-breaking monograph, Sound and Sentiment, remains one of the most important anthropological/ethnomusicological studies of the last 30 years.

Steven Feld is an anthropologist of sound. His work traverses academic fields of music, language, and anthropology, and his publications equally engage writing, film, and documentary sound art. His research projects have been based in Papua New Guinea (1975-2000), six countries of Europe (2000-2010) and Ghana (since 2004). His early interspecies sound ecology work took up the acoustic intricacies of human and avian relations in the Papua New Guinea rainforest. More recently he took that approach to his work on how bells animate relations between shepherds and animals in European villages, and how toads and truck horns similarly mediate everyday mobilities and the sense of place in urban West Africa. From this work Feld coined the term “acoustemology,” (acoustic epistemology) sound as a way of knowing the world. His UNSW lectures, all illustrated with visuals, sounds and film clips, will explore acoustemology by listening to histories of listening across continents, species, musics, and technologies.

2015 : Professor Steven Feld : Keynote Talk Documentation

You can watch a video of Steven Feld's keynote talk below or watch on YouTube here.

Steven Feld also appeared on ABC's The Music Show. LISTEN HERE.

Work by Ghanan artist Nii Otoo Annan appears in this lecture. The works featured are:

  • Bufo Variations: listen and find out more at Cdbaby or Voxlox.
  • Ghana Sea Blues: listen and find out more at Cdbaby or Voxlox.

2015 : Professor Steven Feld : Events

Steven Feld will be in residence at UNSW between May 5-16 and will present several lectures on the theme of: Acoustemology: Sound as a Way of Knowing the World.

Keynote Talk
Roger Covell Public Lecture
This is a FREE event 

The Ethics and Aesthetics of Cosmopolitan Listening

Wednesday 13 May, 6.30pm
Io Myers Studio, UNSW Kensington Campus (Building D9)
Getting to UNSW 

More information | Book now

The Ethics and Aesthetics of Cosmopolitan Listening asks why and how one might challenge elitist and Eurocentric discourses of musical cosmopolitanism through engagements with contemporary world musical practices. Research today reveals forms of musical invention in no way anticipated by the Western notion of cosmopolitanism nor by typical theories of globalization. A set of illustrative stories of vernacular forms of musical cosmopolitanism will be presented through the sonic biography of Ghanaian multi-instrumentalist Nii Otoo Annan. In one project, Bufo Variations, Annan's percussion performances with late night gutter toads simultaneously engage histories of interspecies sound relations, West African polyrhythm, and the principles of variation heard in J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. In another project, Ghana Sea Blues, Annan uses the recording studio and contemporary technology to create a one-man band, overdubbing himself on as many as twelve instruments. In doing so, he explores different ways of hearing and fusing traditional Ghanaian rhythms, West African and African Diasporic popular musics, and experimental jazz. These projects open up new and surprising avenues both to appreciate the contemporary terrain of musical cosmopolitanism, and to refigure classic questions about the ethics and aesthetics of listening.

Other Events at UNSW

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Rainforest Birds and/as Pastoral Bells
This talk ranges across radically different geographical and cultural histories to consider birds and bells as agents for the production of time and space consciousness.

School of Arts and Media : Research Seminar
Tuesday 12 May, 5:00-6:30pm

More Information  |  No bookings. Free event.

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Honking Modernity: Ghana's Musical Car Horns
Stephen Feld takes up the history of how a union of truck drivers in Accra invented both musical instruments from squeeze bulb honk horns, and a genre of music unique to driver funerals.

World Music Lecture
Friday 8 May, 12:00-2:00pm
Robert Webster Building, Webster Theatre A

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Ecoaesthetics and Interspecies Sound Art
Listening to the interspecies histories of cicadas and humans in Papua New Guinea, Japan, and Greece, with particular interest in hearing the heat of climate change and the anthropocene.

Media Studies Lecture
Friday 15 May, 11:00-12:30pm
Robert Webster Building, Room 306

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In partnership with the National Institute of Experimental Arts, UNSW Art & Design

Improvisation and Innovation:
A critical dialogue on collaborative filmmaking in Accra (Ghana) and Gapuwiyak (Australia)
Filmmakers Steve Feld and Jennifer Deger meet in conversation to discuss the ways in which their respective collaborative screen media projects in African and Australian communities have produced a range of unexpected outcomes that reflect unique post-colonial histories and cultures of music and art-making, storytelling and research engagements and articulate contemporary representational possibilities, aesthetic potentials and political urgencies.

Jennifer Deger is an anthropologist, filmmaker and curator, currently an ARC Future Fellow at the Cairns Institute, James Cook University.

Monday 11 May, 5:30-7:30pm
D205, UNSW Art & Design
Paddington Campus

More information  |  RSVP to

Roger Covell : a distinguished music advocate

Roger CovellAs one of Australia’s leading musical figures, Emeritus Professor Roger Covell promoted music in the community as a critic, director, musician, scholar, and educator. His 1967 book, Australia's Music: Themes of a New Society was the first far-reaching study of the history and performance of classical music in Australia, and is now regarded as a seminal text in Australian musicology. He received numerous prestigious awards and honours, most notably: Member of the Order of Australia in 1986 in recognition of service to music; the Pascall Prize for Critical Writing in 1993 for his services to music criticism in Australia; the Long-Term Contribution to the Advancement of Australian Music award at the 2006 Classical Music Awards as an acknowledgement of his lifetime of distinguished achievement and commitment to Australian music.