Five questions for Dr Anthony Lyons, Interactive Composition lecturer, University of Melbourne

Dr Anthony Lyons. Photo by Giulia McGauran.
Dr Anthony Lyons. Photo by Giulia McGauran.

Composer, performer and academic Dr Anthony Lyons has created an incredibly diverse range of music in his career, from orchestral works to EDM to multimedia installations. But how does this all tie together?

As told to Kelly Southworth.

Hi Anthony, how would you sum up Interactive Composition to someone who’s never heard of it?

If I had to sum it up in three words, I’d say it’s fun, challenging, and expanding! We are constantly making sound-led work with film, animation, dance, theatre, installation, design, digital and online platforms, working with electronics, synths, songwriting, EDM and more.

What do you consider your most valuable skill?

In terms of my own practice, it would be the ability be to step across very different creative worlds, mediums and making approaches. And in my teaching approach, it would be helping to uncover and encourage the unique individual qualities in others.

What’s the best thing about working at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music?

Being surrounded by amazingly talented and dedicated colleagues and students who are making exceptional work and helping to change the world.

One of my favourite experiences was leading the Interactive Composition cohort to Singapore in 2017 to develop collaborative new works in response to four sites across the city. We worked with staff and design students from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), as well as our own VCA Animators, and our finished works were installed at the ON-AIR Gallery.

That experience allowed me a deeper understanding of the social, cultural and political landscape of Singapore, as well as the opportunity to make a new audiovisual work with VCA Animation’s Paul Fletcher. When you make work in a particular location, something of the time, place and energy of that environment infuses both you and the work.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Pancakes with my family on a Sunday morning and creating in my studio in the afternoon. I’m usually happy if one of those things happens – often it’s the pancakes.

What is your most treasured possession?

My Buchla Music Easel synthesiser.

Dr Anthony Lyons completed his PhD at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in 2014, and is now a Lecturer in Interactive Composition. His diverse output of musical compositions includes work for orchestra, chamber ensemble, bands, EDM, installation and multimedia based projects. Much of his work is particularly focused towards hybrid-arts collaborations.