Anton Killin named as Lilburn Research Fellow 2021

25 June 2020: Anton Killin named as Lilburn Research Fellow 2021

The Alexander Turnbull Library and the Lilburn Trust are delighted to announce that Dr Anton Killin has been awarded the prestigious Lilburn Research Fellowship for 2021.

Dr Killin will formally take up the Fellowship in January 2021 to further his study “Indonesian gamelan in New Zealand composition”. His research will focus on cross-cultural music composition in New Zealand relating to use of gamelan, a traditional ensemble music of Indonesia. Gamelan has been a significant cultural influence on New Zealand composers since it was introduced here in the 1970s.

Dr Killin studied music composition and philosophy at Victoria University of Wellington, with cross-cultural music being the focus of much of his research. Since being awarded his doctorate in 2017, he has held post-doctoral fellowships in Australia, USA, and Canada.

Smiling man with long hair and beard.
Dr Anton Killin.

Dr Killin says he feels excited and honoured to be awarded the 2021 Lilburn Research Fellowship. “Indonesian gamelan music has been and continues to be a significant source of non-Western musical influence for generations of New Zealand composers, from Douglas Lilburn and Jack Body to emerging composers today. This research project aims to provide an account of this influence, with which I hope to benefit both contemporary New Zealand music studies and cross-cultural philosophical aesthetics, as well as promote gamelan music itself,” he says.

Gamelan first arrived in New Zealand in 1975 when Allan Thomas imported a set of instruments from Java to Victoria University of Wellington to support ethnomusicology teaching with a performing ensemble soon being formed. There are now ensembles based around the country. Composers who were subsequently inspired to write works for gamelan include David Farquhar, Jack Body, Gareth Farr, John Psathas, Helen Bowater, and Juliet Palmer.

The Alexander Turnbull Library’s Music Curator, Dr Michael Brown, says that the Lilburn Research Fellowship was established as a biennial award in 2012 to encourage scholarly research about New Zealand music.

“It serves an important role as there is no other fellowship available in New Zealand specifically to support New Zealand music research. The fellowship is open to both freelance and university-based researchers. Anton will receive a $70,000 grant, an office at the National Library and access to our collections. It’s one of the most significant fellowships awarded by the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa (NLNZ),” he says.

“An exciting aspect of Anton’s research is that he will be investigating a number of rich collections in the Turnbull Library’s Archive of New Zealand Music”, Dr Brown says. “These include the manuscript scores of a number of eminent composers, and related material in the collections of Allan Thomas and the late Jack Body.”

The Lilburn Research Fellowship is funded by the Lilburn Trust, established by the composer Douglas Lilburn (1915-2001) to support New Zealand music. Lilburn also helped with the formation of the Archive of New Zealand Music at the Turnbull Library in 1974. The Turnbull is the pre-eminent institutional collector of New Zealand music, including published and unpublished material relating to all aspects of music in this country.

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Dr Anton Killin — bio notes

Dr Anton Killin, the Alexander Turnbull Library’s Lilburn Research Fellow 2021, studied music composition, sonic arts and philosophy at Victoria University of Wellington, graduating with a Master of Music (Composition) in 2012 and PhD (Philosophy) in 2017.

Dr Killin’s research has been wide-ranging, including in the fields of philosophy of music, evolutionary theories of the arts, and philosophy of science. He has published widely and been awarded post-doctoral fellowships at the Australian National University, Florida International University and Mount Allison University (New Brunswick, Canada). Dr Killin is also a seasoned gamelan performer — having performed with Gamelan Padhang Moncar and other groups for over 15 years — and was awarded Victoria University’s Indonesian Gamelan Prize in 2005 and Max Julian Prize in Ethnomusicology in 2008.

The Douglas Lilburn Research Fellowship and the Lilburn Trust

The biennial Lilburn Research Fellowship encourages scholarly research leading to publication on some aspect of New Zealand and music, using the resources of the Archive of New Zealand Music and the wider collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library.

The Fellowship is funded by the Lilburn Trust, which was established by Douglas Lilburn in 1984. It is administered as a charitable trust under the Alexander Turnbull Library Endowment Trust. Previous recipients of the Douglas Lilburn Fellowship include:

  • Daniel Beban (2019)
  • Aleisha Ward (2017)
  • Chris Bourke (2015)
  • Philip Norman (2013)

The Douglas Lilburn Research Fellowship and the Lilburn Trust website

Douglas Lilburn (1915 – 2001)

Douglas Lilburn was an influential composer and music teacher who inspired and promoted later generations of New Zealand composers.

The Alexander Turnbull Library Archive of New Zealand Music (which Lilburn helped establish) continues to preserve New Zealand's musical heritage and The Lilburn Trust continues to fund music related projects and offer annual composition awards.

Douglas Lilburn website

Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand — Douglas Lilburn biography