Shortly before retiring as head of ideaschool, Chris Verburg introduced Professor Matthew Marshall to the team he will be leading when he takes up the EIT position early in December. A classical guitarist, Matthew has shaped a career that combines performance music and academic management.
“The two work very well together,” he points out.
Head of Music at Massey University in Wellington for many years, Matthew was most recently Dean of Arts and Social Science at Southern Cross University in Lismore in northern New South Wales. Prior to that he was Dean of Creative and Performing Arts at Central Queensland University in Mackay.
A Kiwi who studied music in Wellington and later in England at the Royal Northern College of Music, Matthew was born into a family of dancers.
“The world’s a better place for me not dancing,” he jokes.
However, he is collaborating with his uncle, the famed ballet dancer Jon Trimmer, for a performance in Dunedin in November. Sir Jon and actor Tina Regtien are to narrate poems by New Zealand poets Alistair and Meg Campbell – effectively love letters, Matthew says – while he will play guitar.
The music for the performance is written by New Zealand composer Philip Norman, a work commissioned by Matthew and funded by a grant from Creative New Zealand. “That’s the basis for my research, commissioning composers to write new music for the guitar, and especially music that is representative of New Zealand.
“I’m in the process of recording my 12th album, which will include guitar chamber music written by key New Zealand composers and performed with friends and colleagues who are all outstanding artists in their own right.”
The album will be released worldwide, exposing New Zealand music to an international audience. Matthew likes the sense of community he’s seen at ideaschool – “they’re a supportive, enthusiastic and dedicated group of people.” He sees his role as a wonderful opportunity to develop collaboration and cooperation between the school’s various programmes, culminating next year in a new degree.
Designed for students interested in different creative endeavours, the Bachelor of Creative Practice will better prepare them for employment, says Matthew – “they will more readily be able to work across different art disciplines.”
Meanwhile Chris is looking forward to a retirement based at Waimarama. Head of ideaschool for the last three years, he arrived at EIT in 1995 as coordinator of the video and electronic media certificate. “I wrote the programme before starting,” he says. “It launched with a mid-year intake and then moved to two intakes a year.”
The certificate was subsequently replaced by an advanced certificate, and then by the two-year Diploma in Screen Production in 2000. It has since become the New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production.
During his time at EIT, Chris has seen the school of creative arts rebranded as ideaschool, a move to more project-based learning and the integration of different creative fields. “The school has become far more industry-based,” he says, “including for those enrolled for a fine arts education.”
Top image: Incoming head of ideaschool Matthew Marshall, left, with recently retired head Chris Verburg.