Robert Burke

Associate Professor
Bmus (VCA), MMus (VCA), PhD (Monash)

MONASH.FIGSHARE , Jazzhead Artist, Australian Real Book Artist

Robert Burke is a practice-based researcher (Artistic Research).

  • Performance – Saxophone – Flute – Clarinet (CD recordings and Performances)
  • Practice-based Research in Music Performance (Jazz and improvisation)
  • Jazz and World Music pedagogy

Robert Burke is Co-ordinator of Jazz and Popular Studies at Monash University. (He was head of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music from 2011 – 2014). An improvising musician, Rob has performed and composed on over 300 CDs and has toured extensively throughout Australia, Asia, Europe, and USA over the last 30 years. He has also released 12 CDs under his own name whilst focusing on understanding and articulating what happens in the moment of improvisation from the perspective of practice-based artistic research.  Rob researches performance in a context of improvisation (jazz sensibility), investigating the sonic ecology through ego, agency, indeterminacy, choice and audience participation. Rob has collaborated/recorded international leaders in the field:  George Lewis, Dave Douglas, Enrico Rava, Hermeto Pascoal, Kenny Werner, Mark Helias, Ben Monder, Tom Rainey, Nasheet Waites, George Garzone, Paul Grabowsky, Tony Gould, Johannes Weidenmueller, Debasis Chackroborty, Paulo Angeli, Tony Malaby and Richie Barshay.

In 2015 Rob initiated AJIRN (Australasian Jazz and Improvisation Research Network) and is currently a board member and president. He also has convened three conferences – (Nov 2016 and June 2017 and June 2018)

Publications include edited book, Perspectives on Artistic Research in Music (Lexington) and currently co-writing with A/prof Andrys Onsman  Experimentation in Improvised Jazz: Chasing Ideas (Routledge 2018)

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Postgraduate and Honours Supervision:

 My area of expertise in postgraduate (HDR) supervision is in practice-based artistic research in jazz and improvisation. My research emanates from the creative process of music making such as, what happens in the moment of playing, insightful practitioner-based commentary on the process of creativity and the making of music from the music maker’s perspective. This allows prospective students to investigate their performance/composition from the past and the present, the intuitive and the intellectual, abstract and embodied; researching what they do when they create.

My students focus on developing a strong understanding of process and analysis and what is a scientific approach to their research combined with an artistic methodology. My aim is to create a strong research group that supports each other in developing new knowledge in the area of jazz and improvisation
A sample of past and current students include:
Rod Davies: Critical relationships between creative singing and improvisation skill-sets (PhD)
Jonathan Zion: Organic interplay in a jazz trio context: identifying idiosyncratic communicative musical language (PhD)
Chris Vizard: An Analysis of the Doodle Tonguing Technique and its Application to the Trombone (Masters)
Jack Beeche: Improvised Counterpoint (Masters)
Caleb Garfinkel: An investigation into the use of the drumkit as a melodic instrument  (Masters)
Glenn Cannon: Functional and non-functional progressions in improvised music; a method of facilitating linear and harmonic flow (Masters)
Ben Delves: The shaping of a Melbourne contemporary Jazz scene: the Melbourne Jazz Co-operative, its beginnings and influence (Masters)

Latest News & Events

  • by Rob Burke, Debasis Chakroborty, Stephen Magnusson, Sam Evans   1. Sarang 06:48 2. Improvisation 1 02:30 3. Tremor 05:51 4. Improvisation 2 00:46 5. Tilak 1 00:50 6. Tilak 2 01:53 7. Joga 08:23 8. Beyond the Mountain 08:02 9. Improvisation 3 00:19 10. Stranger 04:51 11. Tilak 3 05:08 about The new CD release, Barlines and Beyond explores the intersection ... Read more
  •   SHIFT Rob Burke – George Lewis – Paul Grabowsky – Mark Helias Released through FMR Records (UK)   This musical collaboration originated with four improvising musicians meeting in ... Read more
  • The Australasian Jazz and Improvisation Research Network (AJIRN) is pleased to announce a call for papers/presentations for a 3-day research conference on jazz and improvised ... Read more

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