Kirsy Beilharz


Dr. Kirsty Beilharz is a composer, researcher, educator and author. She is a researcher at the University of Notre Dame (Australia) Institute for Ethics & Society (Bioethics & Healthcare Ethics) in collaboration with St. Vincent's Health Network (conducting a mixed methods qualitative & quantitative study with 1,000 patients to evaluate spiritual care screening in hospitals). She is also a conjoint academic at the University of New South Wales Faculty of Medicine, and research professional at Kolling Institute of Research, the University of Sydney.

Previously, she was the Director of Music Engagement at HammondCare (2014-2018, researching the impact of music engagement in dementia and palliative care) and Senior Creative Fellow at Anglican Deaconess Ministries (2018, composing music for end-of-life, spirituality and wellness). Kirsty was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh U.K. (2014-17); Professor of Music and Interaction Design at the University of Technology, Sydney (2008-2013); and Digital Media program director at the University of Sydney Design Lab (2001-2008).

Kirsty studied music performance and composition at the University of Sydney (BMus Hons 1st class & PhD, with Peter Sculthorpe) and postdoctoral studies at the University of York (with Nicola LeFanu). Kirsty is currently completing a Ph.D in Trinitarian theology at Sydney College of Divinity (supervised by Prof. Rev David Höhne & Prof. Philip Kariatlis).

Kirsty's research integrates music, wellness & spiritual care, and healthcare ethics applied in dementia, palliative care and general healthcare; phenomenology, epistemology, and Trinitarian theology in philosophical theology and philosophy of religion. Kirsty's music and interaction research has been funded by Australian Research Council grants.

Kirsty's music compositions have been performed internationally by the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (Montreal, Canada), Ensemble Recherche (Freiburg, Germany), Charisma Ensemble, and the Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmanian and Western Australian Symphony Orchestras. Kirsty's installations have been exhibited at the Media Architecture Biennale in Vienna, Bondi Sculpture by the Sea, Paris Cité International des Arts, Sydney Powerhouse Museum, and in the U.K., Taiwan, Japan and Paris.

She has won International prizes at Gaudeamus World Music Days Amsterdam, Paris Rostrum, Hannover Biennale, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne Forum Montreal, and commissions by the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Seymour Group, and AustraLYSIS. Kirsty was selected for IRCAM Electronic Music Course, Matsumae International Science Research Fellowship (AI Lab Tokyo), an Asialink Arts Residency, Young Australian of the Year Arts Category, a Churchill Fellowship, the Sir Charles Mackerras Prize of the British Council, and prizes in the World Bass Clarinet composition competition, and Angoulême Colloque International du Basson composition prize.


2018: Senior Creative Fellowship Anglican Deaconess Ministries (to compose music for the end of life) Sydney.

2014: Australian Deaconess Ministries, Anna Pallister Scholarship for Doctoral studies.

2012: 'Diffuse' Concert Series (of 2011) Finalist in Australian Rights Association & Australian Music Centre (APRA/AMC) Awards Education category.

2008: Burning in the Heart of the Void selected for inclusion on Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Quebec Canada's 20th Anniversary CD.

2007: AsiaLink (Melbourne University) Artist Residency funded by the Australia Council for the Arts & NSW Ministry of the Arts for study in Japan (music composition and interactive media).

2007: Matsumae International Foundation Research Fellowship at Tokyo University Artificial Intelligence Lab with Professor Hori (creative and design applications of Artificial Intelligence and A-Life models & interactive sonification).

2007: Kokusai Shakuhachi Kenshukan Residency, Chichibu Japan.

2007: Selection for Residency at Youkobo Tokyo Art Space, Japan.

2005: Best Paper Award in World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, Orlando, USA, (Image, Acoustic, Speech and Signal Processing).

2005: Fluid Sinews in the World Bass Clarinet Convention in Rotterdam, top 4 selected world-wide, Honorable Mention.

2005: Angoulême Colloque International du Basson (France) for Tide-etched Sand Spirals, top 6 selected world-wide.

2000: Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition for Floriferous Rage 1st place National competition, Newcastle Conservatorium of Music, Australia.

2005: Residency - Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris.

2004: The 10th International Multimedia Modeling Conference Award for Best Presentation.

2003: University of Sydney Faculty of Architecture - Special Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.

2005: Selected by IRCAM (Paris) Pedagogy Committee for sound and music computing course, 10 people selected world-wide.

2003: Symphony Australia won the Award for Best Performance of Australian Contemporary Music in APRA / AMC Australian Classical Music Awards for performance of Vortex by Kirsty Beilharz in the ABC Adult Themes Series conducted by Richard Gill OAM.

1999: International Composition Competition 2nd prize (DM 8,000) & The White Face of the Geisha (Das weiße Gesicht der Geisha) Music Theatre Chamber Concerto for shakuhachi and ensemble selected for performance in the Biennale Neue Musik Hannover 1999 by Ensemble Recherche Freiburg. 

1999: ABC Australian under-30 National representative for 1999 Paris Rostrum.

1998: Lauréate of the Jury and Prix du Public (public vote and jury 1st prize, International Composition Competition) - Nouvel Ensemble Moderne Forum '98, Montréal for Burning in the Heart of the Void.

1998: Sir Charles Mackerras / Australia-Britain Society Music Scholarship for 8 months study in the U.K. and Europe.

1998: Finalist in Western Australian Symphony Orchestra Twentieth Century Ensemble ABC Young Composers' Competition.Jean-Lec Marion

1997: Selected for the (AMC) Australian Composers' Orchestral Forum with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Porcelijn.

1996-1997: Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship for 3 months study of contemporary composition in The Netherlands, Germany, Austria & U.K.

1996: Sydney Moss Scholarship (University of Sydney grant for continental music study).

1996: Albert Traveling Scholarship in Music (University of Sydney academic study outside Australia).

1996: Winner of the Australian Young Composers' Competition, Fellowship of Australian Composers & Between Five Bells performed representing Australia at the 1997 Asian Contemporary Music Festival in Manila, The Philippines. 

1996: Alfred S. White Bequest for attendance at the International Gaudeamus Week in Amsterdam.

1996: Australian winner of the International Gaudeamus Competition for Young Composers under 35, represented at the International Gaudeamus Week Amsterdam, recorded by the Dutch National Radio, Ensemble of the Sweelinck Conservatory, conducted by Harry Sparnaay.

1996: Medibank Private NSW Arts Award Category of the Young Australian of the Year Award.

1995: Youth Music Australia Opportunity Grant, to attend International Gaudeamus Week.

1992-1995: Australian Postgraduate Research Award.

1993: Australia Council Individual Development Grant, to attend the 1993 Asian Contemporary Music Festival in Seoul, Korea as the Australian Young Composer, for performance of Kunmunya String Quartet.

1991: Donald Peart Prize for Scholarly Excellence in Two Disciplines - Performance and Composition.

1991: Ignaz Friedman Memorial Prize for Machu Picchu.

1990: Sarah Teresa Makinson Prize for Composition, for Transient Rays.

1989: First Prize in the 2MBSFM Young Composers' Competition for Blueshift for String Orchestra.

1988: Frank Hutchinson Memorial Prize for Senior School Composition.



2018: Music and Sound design for Joining the Dots Theatre Company's production of W;t by Margaret Edson

2004-5: Sydney Symphony Orchestra - Symphony Australia commission, conductor Richard Gill.

2002: Commissioned by Symphony Australia to write orchestral work, Vortex for the Sydney Symphony Sinfonia, conducted by Richard Gill.

1992: Commissioned by Roger Dean of AustraLYSIS to write Earth Essence.

1991: Commissioned by the ABC to write orchestral fanfare, Plutonium, performed by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Western Australian Symphony Orchestra & Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.



2016-2018: The HammondCare Foundation: Psychosocial, spiritual and physical impacts of personalized music in palliative care ($280,000)

2015-2017: Australian Commonwealth Government Department of Social Services, Co-investigator on project: ‘Arts on Prescription’ led by Prof. Chris Poulos ($876,238)

2014: The Thomas Foundation: Impacts of interventional personalized music in dementia ($540,000, 2014-16)

2013: UTS Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences Research Development Grant with Anne Cranny-Francis, Devleena Ghosh, Meredith Jones in Culture & Technology, especially movement and gesture, and democrastisation of knowledges.

2009: UTS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Research Development Grant. Mechanisms to Enable Musical Uses of Complex Sound Sources - Professor Kirsty Beilharz (mentor) with Dr Samuel Ferguson (mentoree Early Career Researcher).

2007-2010: Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project (Chief Investigator: Kirsty Beilharz) 'Gestural Interaction with Aesthetic Sonification' $255,000.

2006: University of Sydney Bridging Grant - A Model of Gestural Interaction for Sonification $36,400.

2004: University of Sydney Sesqui New Staff Support Scheme - Sound Design for Way-Finding and Spatial Orientation in 3-Dimensional Digital Environments $13,000.

2003-5: Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Construction Innovation - Team Collaboration in High Bandwidth Virtual Environments $800,000; Participants: University of Sydney, Woods Bagot, CSIRO, Arup Australasia, University of Western Sydney (University of Sydney researchers: Professor Mary Lou Maher, Professor John Gero, Dr Mike Rosenman, Dr Kirsty Beilharz); Research: Application of recent developments in networked 3D virtual worlds and high bandwidth communications technology to dramatically improve collaboration in the construction industry.



2010: UTS Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building CapEx Research and Teaching Infrastructure Grant 'Polymedia Pixel' - mutlimodal visualization and sonification autonomous structural, sensing and displayunits - Prof. Kirsty Beilharz, Dr. Hank Haeusler, Prof. Tom Barker $125,000.

2009: UTS RIBG Research Grant for Sense-aware: Situated Eco-aware and Wearable Health-Info Display Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building $90,294.

2009: UTS Learning and Teaching Performance Fund Grant. Smart Mobile Innovation Community of Practice and Learning collaboration with Professor Mary-Anne Williams (Innovation and Enterprise Research Laboratory) University of Technology, Sydney; Faculty of I.T., Faculty of Business, Apple and IBM $10,000.

2007: Teaching Infrastructure Grant (with Densil Cabrera and Simon Hayman) for Sonification of Sound teaching integration, web-based learning and research exploration resources $5,000.

2003: Teaching and Learning Grant for Development of Innovative Online Learning $15,000.

2003-2004: Teaching Infrastructure Fund Grant for development of the Student Intranet (with Prof. Peter Phibbs) $10,000.


HammondCare Professional Training - Music Engagement for Dementia Consultants -

University of Technology, Sydney 2008 - 2014 - Bachelor of Sound and Music Design curriculum design of degree, degree coordination, & teaching.
A degree training students for careers in music, creative arts, design and technology, and interactive media.

University of Sydney 2001 - 2008 - Bachelor of Design Computing teaching & Graduate CourseworkMaster of Design Science - Digital Media curriculum design, degree coordination and teaching.

Postgraduate Supervision 2002-2013



I am a public advocate for dignity, respect, whole-person care and de-stigmatising dementia, conversations about death, palliative care and mental health. Quality of life as a universal human right, equality of human beings irrespective of circumstances predicated on virtue ethics, availability of best practice care, medical and spiritual ethics, sensitivity to cultural, indigenous and religious variances,civil liberty, and the non-discrimination of mental illness, cancer and diseases of ageing for the foundation for my advocacy and speaking into public awareness, especially to challenge contemporary culture’s focus on hyper-cognition and material productivity as measures of human value.

Keynote Speaker – Music engagement in dementia care and palliative care. ACOM, SCD and CSU Ageing Conference: Embracing life and gathering wisdom: Theological, pastoral and clinical insights into human flourishing at the end of life. 27 - 28 September, Sydney Australia (2018)

Plenary Speaker: Grand Designs International Dementia Conference, Sydney Hilton (2016)

'Human Flourishing until death: Living well until the very end’ at Australasian Centre for Wesleyan Research Conference, September, Sydney Australia (2018)

‘Mental Health’, Church by the Bridge Refuel Women’s Community Presentation, 4 September 2018 (invited by Sarah Condie, Co-Director of the ADM Pastoral Care and Mental Health Institute)

Music, ageing and dementia, St. James’ Anglican Church, Croyden, 10 April (2018) 

Music, dementia and mental health, Mental Heath Professionals Network (2018)

Music engagement for older people, Northern Beaches Palliative Care Community Services Forum & Primary Health Network, St. Leonards, 2 May (2018) 

Music, ageing and dementia, TAFE Gore Hill, 21 May (2018) 

Music, ageing and dementia, Home Instead Senior Care Lower North Shore, 28 June (2018) 

ABC Radio National’s program, God Forbid on music, spirituality, palliative care and end of life (2017)

ABC Radio Sydney, Tasmania, Adelaide and Canberra, on Music Remembers Me and dementia (2017)
National Palliative Care Conference Adelaide (2017)

Interview with the Centre for Public Christianity (2017)

Interview with Eternity Magazine (2017)

University of Edinburgh, UK – School of Health in Social Science  (2016)

Songwriter Speaks, Australasian Performing Rights Association & the Australian Music Centre

Graphite (Sydney Chapter of SIGGRAPH)

The Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA)

Tokyo University, Artificial Intelligence Lab

University of Sydney Faculty of Architecture Public Lecture Series

University of Sydney, Technology’s Public Lecture series



2014-… HammondCare. Responsible for individualised music services to more than 1,000 residents in 14 HammondCare nursing homes in NSW and VIC; 3,000 clients in community care; and more than 1,000 clients of the Dementia Centre and Severe Behaviour Response Team (responding to severe crises in behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia - BPSD); and inpatients in Greenwich Hospital Palliative Care Services. Specialist staff direct reports and care staff education.

2013: Music Performance & Installation Chair: Creativity & Cognition International Conference June at UTS

2010: Conference Chair: New Interfaces for Music Expression international conference June at UTS

2008-2013: Postgraduate PhD Supervisor (10 FT PhD students UTS)

2008-2013: Degree Head, Bachelor of Sound and Music Design in FASS UTS

2008: Acting Associate Dean Research (Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning) University of Sydney (Postgraduate admissions, University Graduate Committee, overseeing higher degree supervisors, candidates, degree publicity, examination process, scholarships, International partnerships; Academic staff research evaluation)

2008: Acting Head of Design Computing Discipline (Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning) University of Sydney (curriculum design Bachelor of Design Computing, postgraduate student and academic staff research)

2001-2008: Director of Graduate Digital Media Program (large coursework program with Graduate Certificate, Diploma and Master's Degree awards)



2014-2018: Implemented organization-wide programs of music engagement for people living with dementia and receiving palliative care

2016: Developed staff training course on music engagement in dementia care

2008-2011: Dean’s Advisory Committee (DAC) in DAB UTS

2008: Developed new Graduate Master’s Degree Program - Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts (M.IDEA), embodying a new degree and 12 new Units of Study to supersede former Digital Media and Design Computing streams (with Andrew Vande Moere)

2006: Vice-Chancellor's Senior Management Forum, University of Sydney

2006: ICT Committee, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney

2004-5: Associate Director (Academic) ICT in Teaching & Learning (College of Science & Technology).



2010: Australian Research Council: Advisory Committee for Humanities Future Fellowships ACT

2008: Adjudicator, Research Expo (Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning) University of Sydney

2001-2008: Sony Foundation Scholarship adjudication committee

2001-2008: Faculty Board of Graduate Studies, University of Sydney

2008: Adjudicator Faculty Noel Chettle Art Prize, University of Sydney

2007: Design Computing Discipline member of Research & Research Training Committee, University of Sydney

2006: Curator Velocity Graduate Public Exhibition (curation, catalogue design and preparation) of Faculty Staff and Student work across 12 Graduate streams (Digital Media, Architecture, Urban Design, Art Workshops, Sustainability, Design Computing, etc.)

Member of the Australia Music Centre



2019-[...]: Research Associate, The University of Notre Dame (Sydney) - Institute for Ethics & Society in collaboration with St. Vincent's Health Network

2018-19: Senior Creative Fellow - Anglican Deaconess Ministries

2017-[...]: Adjunct academic, Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales

2016-[...]: Research Professional, Kolling Institute of Research, Univeristy of Sydney

2016-2018: Director of Music Engagement, HammondCare, Learning and Research Centre (Palliative Care & Arts in Health)

2014-2016: Director of Music Engagement, HammondCare - Dementia Centre

2008-2014: Professor - Sound, Music and Interaction Design (Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences and Faculty of Design, Architecture & Building) University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)

2004-2008: Senior Lecturer; Program Director - Graduate Digital Media (Design Lab, formerly Key Centre of Design Computing & Cognition: Faculty of Architecture, Design Science and Planning) University of Sydney

2001-2004: Lecturer (Assistant Professor); Program Coordinator Graduate Digital Media (Key Centre of Design Computing & Cognition: School of Architecture, Design Science and Planning) University of Sydney

1998-2000: Lecturer (Music Department, Faculty of Arts) University of Sydney

1999-2000: Lecturer - I.T. Multimedia & Web Design, Crows Nest TAFE

2000: Lecturer - Sydney Conservatorium of Music



2016-[...]: Harp for Healing - Clinical Musician Certification Program (CMCP) – accredited by the USA National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians

2014-[...]: Doctor of Philosophy (Trinitarian Metaphysics, Epistemology, Philosophical Theology), Sydney College of Divinity

2014: Certificate in Theology (Moore Theological College)

1997-8: Post-Doctoral Research, University of York, U.K. (British Council Award)

1996-7: Post-Doctoral Research, University of York, U.K. (Churchill Fellowship)

1996: Doctor of Philosophy (Music), University of Sydney

1993: Bachelor of Music (Honours 1st Class), University of Sydney

1997: Certificate IV - I.T. (Multimedia)

1989: Licentiate Diploma, Trinity College London (Performance)

1988: Associate Diploma, Trinity College London (Performance)

1987: A.Mus.A (AMEB) (Performance)



2010-[...]: Australian Research Council (ARC)

2011: UTS Vice-Chancellor's Research Awards

2010: UTS Research and innovation Office Partnerships

2010: Australian Research Council Future Fellowship Humanities Advisory Panel

2006 & 2007: Australian Research Council Discovery Projects



A sort of Memoir - A Cunning Blog - Harriet Cunningham 9 June 2017 (Music Remembers Me book review)

Music and the mind - CPX 27 July 2017 (music and dementia)

Music and healing - Radio National God Forbid programme hosted by James Carleton 23 April 2017 (extended interview)

Music Remembers Me book review - Australian Music Centre Resonate 18 May 2017

"Discover the colour and sounds of aura" - Jeremy Stevens Daily Telegraph, p. 17 (16 Nov 2005)

"Pixel packing for art's sake" - Vincent Blake The Australian, Biz Tech, p. 10 (22 Nov 2005)

"Digital new world" - Jeannette Francis Inner Western Suburbs Courier, p. 41 (29 Nov 2005).

Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) public lecture podcast