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News March 29, 2016

New Adelaide music institute named after Sia

The University of Adelaide is today announcing that its new contemporary music institute is named after Sia Furler, the Adelaide Advertiser reported.

The Sia Furler Institute for Contemporary Music and Media will be housed at the University’s prestigious 13-year-old Elder Conservatorium of Music. Its courses include music performance, composition, film, digital media, sound engineering and music technologies.

The newspaper quotes Conservatorium Director, Prof Graeme Koehne, as saying, “As a performer and songwriter, and one whose creativity extends equally to video and digital media, Sia has become an inspiration to young artists the world over — and it’s that talent we aim to foster through our new institute.”

Furler did not attend the Conservatorium. But she has been South Australia’s biggest musical export in recent times.

She was born in Adelaide to a musical family. Her father Phil Colson was a guitarist and singer who played in the early ‘70s with the Mount Lofty Rangers (with Bon Scott), Rum Jungle, Fat Time and The Soda Jerx. Her mother Loene Furler is an art lecturer, and her uncles are Colin Hay of Men At Work and actor-singer Kevin Colson.

Sia herself started singing in the mid-90s with acid jazz band Crisp before moving to the UK in 1997 after releasing a solo album.

Furler will be involved in the announcement from Los Angeles. She told the Advertiser, “It’s very exciting and humbling.” It is not known if Furler, who last year had a personal fortune estimated at US$20 million, made a financial donation to the Institute.

Elder Conservatorium has one of the most diverse programs in the country, covering classical, jazz, pop, rock, choral, opera, electronica, world and film music. Its tutors include jazz guitarist James Muller, classical pianist Anna Goldsworthy, indigenous guitarist and festival promoter Grayson Rotumah and guitarist Anthony Pok Poy.

The new Institute is said to have a more contemporary and technology-orientated image.

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