Music graduates make world headlines

22 Apr 2016

Image credit: Peter Brew-Bevan.

Two UQ School of Music alumni have made international headlines with prestigious achievements that include a Grammy award and representing Australia at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest.

Dami Im, who is best known for her X Factor win in 2013, the ARIA-topping single “Alive”, and a self-titled album that followed, will take the stage in Stockholm in mid-May in what will be the performance of a lifetime.

As only the second Australian musician to ever appear in the world-renowned Eurovision Song Contest, which is now in its 61st year, she follows 2015 contestant Guy Sebastian, who finished in the top five.

Ms Im is set to join pop royalty like Céline Dion and ABBA in the annals of the competition, performing an original song, the anthemic “Sound of Silence” to a television audience estimated to be about 180 million.

She will compete in the second semi-final alongside contestants from countries such as Ireland, Norway, Lithuania and Albania, and must get enough votes from the jury and viewers to go through to the competition’s grand final.

SBS Television announced Ms Im as “the perfect artist to capture Europe’s attention with her unique personal style and show-stopping voice,” and described her as “an artist who is ready to showcase our musical talent to the world.”

Ms Im graduated from UQ’s School of Music in 2009 with a Bachelor of Music, earning first class honours in Music Performance. Her former chamber music teacher, UQ’s Professor Patricia Pollett, said that Ms Im’s focus was actually piano, not singing.

“Most people would know Dami for her great voice, but she’s also a very talented pianist,” she said.

“Dami was very dedicated and got top marks in almost everything she did.

“We look forward to seeing her light up the stage at Eurovision.”

Alumnus Tim Munro celebrated his third Grammy win in February for Best Chamber Music Performance as part of the chamber ensemble eighth blackbird.

Based out of Chicago, Tim Munro was sextet eighth blackbird’s flautist and co-artistic director from 2006 to 2015, and during this time the ensemble won three Grammys for their albums and performed to large concert crowds across 40 US states and at other locations around the world.

As a soloist, he has worked with America’s finest orchestras, curated three music festivals, premiered more than 100 new works and in 2014 released his first solo album called one two three.

The 37-year-old left eighth blackbird in 2015 to “wander more diverse creative avenues” as a flautist, speaker and writer, and said he aimed to draw audiences into “an engrossing and whimsical musical world.”

Mr Munro’s solo performances have been described as “captivating…bravura…charismatic” in The New York Times, “engrossing” in Chicago Tribune, and “brilliantly clear and beautifully balanced,” in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Munro is an Adjunct Associate Lecturer at UQ, has taught music at the University of Chicago, The University of Oregon and the University of Richmond, and has appeared as a guest lecturer at more than 50 universities across America.

In 2013, Mr Munro was celebrated as an exemplar of outstanding UQ graduates, winning a Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

Head of the School of Music, Professor Margaret Barrett, said the School was thrilled to hear of the success of both musicians.

“We are so proud of Tim and Dami’s achievements,” Professor Barrett said.

“Both musicians graduated with first class honours from UQ’s School of Music – Tim in 1999, and Dami in 2009 – and both have enjoyed extraordinary success as musical artists.”