Robert Burke

Assoc Professor

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Linkage application: Melbourne International Jazz Festival Gender in Jazz:


Research output per year

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Personal profile


Robert Burke was the instigator and has been the coordinator of Jazz and Popular Studies at Monash since 2002. From 2011 – 2014, Rob was Head of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music

Robert Burke has enjoyed a diverse and wide-ranging career as a performer, composer and educator in music. Although classically trained on the clarinet and saxophones, his main focus as a performer has been in jazz and popular music, including eight years performing and composing with Kate Ceberano (including a top-ten Australian hit) and fifteen years with ARIA award-winning band The Black Sorrows. Rob has performed on and contributed compositions to over 200 CDs by groups ranging from pop acts such as John Farnham, Ice House, Real Life, Vika and Linda Bull, to contemporary jazz projects with leading artists including Tony Gould, Tony Floyd, Doug De Vries, Slava Gregorian, Geoff Hughes, Nick Haywood, Stephen Magnusson, Don Burrows, Tony Floyd and Mike Nock.

Rob has performed /recorded with many international jazz artists including Kenny Werner, Mark Helias, Nasheet Waits, Tom Rainey, Tony Malaby, Enrico Rava, Dave Douglas, George Lewis, Red Rodney, John Abercrombie, Paul McCandless (Oregon), George Garzone, Richie Barshay, Johannes Weidenmueller (USA), Lula Galvao, Roberta Valente, Hermeto Pascoal (Brazil), Mirko Guerrini, Debasis Chakroborty (India) and Qmars Piraglu (Iran)

Rob has also toured extensively through Asia, Europe, the United States and locally, including as leader of his own projects. He has studied under influential and pioneering jazz musicians including the likes of Dave Liebman, George Garzone and George Coleman in New York.

Rob initiated (2015) and is currently president of the Australasian Jazz and Improvisation Research Network (AJIRN)

Rob had convened 3 conferences: AJIRN 2016 (Uni Melb, Monash), 2017 (Monash) and Perspecives in Artistic Research in Music  (Monash)

  • Performance – Saxophone – Flute – Clarinet (CD Recordings and Performances)
  • Practice-Based Artistic Research in Music Performance (Jazz and improvisation)
  • Jazz and World Music Pedagogy (Oxford Handbook of Education)

Rob’s research focus is in Practice-Based Artistic Research. A practising musician, Rob is currently co-writing a book on Practice-Based Artistic Research (Idea Chasing:the Anatomy of Experimentation and Improvisation in Free Jazz)  with Dr Andrys Onsman. Rob initiatedAJIRN (Australasian Jazz and Improvisation Research Network) and convened its first conference in November 2016 and in 2017 in association with the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Rob is  also a member of the MSA steering group for ARiM (Artistic Research in Music) also convening  2-day symposium in Artistic research in Music in 2015,


Rob is also leading efforts to build philanthropic support for the School of Music at Monash University, with a view to expanding the facilities, scholarships and resources available to students.

'A stunning jazz album that identifies Melbourne as a significant contributor of talent and inventive and pioneering jazz on the world stage. Beautifully recorded and presented. andhellip; This record is a collaboration of some of the most influential protagonists on the Melbourne scene and is undoubtedly a masterpiece.' - Eddie Naran - Jazz on the Street.Rob is Head of the School of Music and Coordinator of Jazz and Popular Studies.

'An exciting tour of Melbourne. There are moments where you will get chills down your back' 4.5* - The Age Green Guide. Melbourne, 28th July 2005.

'There is a romance in the tracks that comes from an exploration of a stage of jazz which has pleasured many for a long time. While gentleandhellip; it is quietly persuasive of all the life, clarity and brilliance to be found in mainstream jazz. Emotional and relaxing.' Canberra Times, Canberra, 18 Aug 2003.

Robert Burke on JazzHead:

Research area keywords

  • Jazz, Improvisation, Artistic Research, Music Performance, Music Composition, Music Pedagogy, Music Analysis, Reflective Practice, Cyborg Jazz, Experimentation in improvised Music

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Research Output

Experimentation in Improvised Jazz: Chasing Ideas

Onsman, A. & Burke, R. L., 11 Oct 2018, New York: Routledge. 192 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review

Manipulating Hip Hop Beats: Collaborative improvisation and composition

Burke, R., Grabowsky, P., Nakamura, N. & Choulai, A., 2018

Research output: Non-textual formRecorded/ Rendered PerformanceResearch

Pathways to Learning and Teaching Indigenous and World Music Ensembles

Burke, R. L. & Evans, S. J. N., 28 Jun 2018, 2018 Vocal, Instrumental, and Ensemble Learning and Teaching: An Oxford Handbook of Music Education. McPherson, G. & Welch, G. (eds.). 1 ed. UK: Oxford University Press, Vol. 3. p. 347-363 17 p. (An Oxford Handbook of Music Education).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review

Discordant methodologies: prioritizing performance in artistic research in music

Burke, R. & Onsman, A., 17 Jan 2017, Perspectives on Artistic Research in Music . Burke, R. & Onsman, A. (eds.). Lanham Maryland USA: Lexington Books, p. 3 - 17 15 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

Disturbing perspectives of research in music

Onsman, A. & Burke, R., Jan 2017, Perspective on Artistic Research in Music. Burke, R. & Onsman, A. (eds.). Lanham Maryland USA: Lexington Books, p. 201-214 14 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Bell Award - Best Avant garde record

Burke, Robert (Recipient), Paul Grabowsky (Recipient), Williamson, Paul (Recipient) & Murray, Jordan (Recipient), 15 Mar 2014

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Monash Art Ensemble - Hexis

Burke, Robert (Recipient), Paul Grabowsky (Recipient), Williamson, Paul (Recipient) & Murray, Jordan (Recipient), 12 Mar 2015

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

The Australian Bell Award - Best Produced Album

Williamson, Paul (Recipient), Burke, Robert (Recipient), Murray, Jordan (Recipient) & Paul Grabowsky (Recipient), 23 Sep 2019

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Press / Media

The Gravity Project

Robert Burke & Paul Grabowsky


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Review

Gravity Project

Robert Burke


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Review