Law, Humanities and The Arts


Terumi Narushima

Current Positions:

Senior Lecturer in Music


Following a teaching career in secondary education, I was appointed to the position of Lecturer in Music in the Faculty of Creative Arts in 2008. My teaching areas include composition, performance, aural skills, music theory, non-Western music as well as computer music.

I completed a Bachelor of Music (Honours) at the University of Sydney, studying composition with Eric Gross and Peter Sculthorpe, and gained a Master of Music (Composition) from Sydney Conservatorium, studying with Bozidar Kos, Gillian Whitehead and Greg Schiemer. I also have a Diploma in Secondary Education from Sydney University. My PhD thesis entitled "Mapping the Microtonal Spectrum Using Erv Wilson's Generalized Keyboard" received Examiners' Commendation for Outstanding Thesis and was also awarded the inaugural Creative Arts HDR Thesis Prize.

My main area of research is the application of microtonal tuning systems in music composition. My microtonal projects include "Tritriadic Chimes", a sound installation for Los Angeles MicroFest, and "Hidden Sidetracks", a composition for custom-made instruments commissioned and premiered by Ensemble Offspring at the Sydney Opera House.

As a composer, I write acoustic and electronic music, as well as music and sound design for film and theatre. My work has been presented at conferences and festivals in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Cuba, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland and the USA, as well as broadcast on national radio and television. I was also a guest composer for New Music Works in Santa Cruz, USA in 2007.

As a performer, my main instruments are keyboards and koto (a traditional Japanese zither). I play in a duo called "Clocks and Clouds" with fellow musician/instrument-builder Kraig Grady, featuring his retuned vibraphone and pump organ.

In addition to teaching in Creative Arts, I have also tutored in Japanese in the Arts Faculty since 2006.

Research Interests:

A major concern for microtonal musicians is the difficulty in finding suitable performance interfaces that can accommodate more than one tuning system. My research examines a particular musical instrument called the MicroZone keyboard which was designed by contemporary tuning theorist, Erv Wilson. I am investigating the potential of Wilson's keyboard designs not only in the composition and performance of microtonal music, but as a tool for analysis and development of new tuning resources with wide applications in musical instrument design.

Professional Activities:

Judge for 2010 UnTwelve Composition Competition, an international competition to foster the creation of works in new tunings, temperaments and microtonality
Peer reviewer for Leonardo Music Journal

Future Research Topics:

Composition and performance of music in experimental scales; microtonal interfaces (e.g. keyboard designs); tuning theory; compositional approaches informed by non-Western musical practices.