Dr Christopher Tonkin

Started at UWA: 2008

Internationally trained electronic music teacher, composer and performer

Student enthusiasm for the subject and for learning is a reminder of why I chose to pursue the field. It’s so rewarding to see them achieve beyond what they thought they were capable of Dr Christopher Tonkin

Dr Christopher Tonkin is Chair of Electronic Music and Composition at the UWA Conservatorium of Music. He is an award-winning teacher who brings his industry expertise and passion for composition and performance to his students. A self-declared ‘music history buff’, Dr Tonkin specialises in electronic music and sound installation, teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate units at the University. A highlight of his time so far has been witnessing the achievements of his students within and beyond their time at the Conservatorium.

After studying violin and piano from a young age, Dr Tonkin completed a Bachelor of Music, majoring in music composition. He went on to study postgraduate degrees in the United States at Rice University and University of California, San Diego.

Before joining UWA in 2008, Dr Tonkin completed an 18-month residency at the Computer Music Research Institute in Paris (IRCAM), where he developed an interest in computers and programming.

As a researcher and current composer/performer in the Australian music industry, Dr Tonkin’s work greatly contributes to the field of musical artificial intelligence and generative art, as well as to cultural life in the creation, performance and recording of new and historical music.


  • BMus (hons) UWA
  • MMus – Rice University (Houston, Texas)
  • PhD – University of California, San Diego

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Australian commissions – Ensemble Offspring, Etica, Decibel Ensemble, TURA, 2008–2017

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Multiple Guild Teaching Awards and Faculty Teaching Awards, 2015–2018

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International commissions – Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Fondation Royaumont, IRCAM, 2003–2005


Supervisor opportunities

Dr Tonkin has been a research supervisor since 2008, supporting topics such as music composition, music analysis and computer music.

He welcomes prospective researchers with a variety of interests to consider undertaking a PhD, Master of Arts or honours under his supervision. Contact Dr Tonkin through the details below.

Contact Dr Christopher Tonkin