Dr Nicholas Bannan

Started at UWA: 2006

Vocal master exploring the evolutionary origins of the human capacity for music

I enjoy making a difference to students that sets them on a pathway to distinctive and fulfilling careers. I also enjoy interacting with my colleagues at UWA on the phenomenon of musicality and creativity.Dr Nicholas Bannan

Dr Nicholas Bannan is an accomplished international composer, conductor, music researcher and Associate Professor at the UWA Conservatorium of Music. His research focuses on the evolutionary origins of the human capacity for music; vocalisation in song and language; music in child development; and musical communication and pedagogy. His teaching specialises in vocal studies and composition.

Dr Bannan was a Canterbury Cathedral chorister and choral exhibitioner at Clare College, Cambridge.  He joined UWA from the University of Reading in 2006. He won several competitions as a composer, including the Fribourg Prize for Sacred Music in 1986, and has completed commissions for the Allegri and Grieg Quartets, the Guildhall String Ensemble, Cantemus Novum of Antwerp, and the Gentlemen of St Paul's Cathedral.

Awarded his doctorate in 2002 for a study of the evolutionary origins of the human singing voice, Dr Bannan’s research has extended to work with Alzheimer’s patients on the UK project Singing for the Brain, examining the potential of singing for retaining social communication between carers and people with dementia.


BA (Hons) University of Cambridge

MA (Cantab) University of Cambridge

PhD (Reading University)

Positions held:

  • Assistant Choir Director, St Mary’s Cathedral, Perth
  • Chair, WA branch of the Australian National Choral Association
  • Deputy Chair, WA branch of the Musicological Society of Australia

quality Created with Sketch.

Director, The Winthrop Singers, 2007-2018

star Created with Sketch.

Churchill Fellow, researching choral singing in the US, 1992

trophy Created with Sketch.

Every Child a Composer (Peter Lang Publishing, Oxford)

The Winthrop Singers

After starting at UWA in 2006, Dr Bannan set up The Winthrop Singers, an élite chamber choir for UWA students, staff and community. The group performs choral evensong every Thursday during term-time in the Chapel of St George's College. The group has toured to Albany, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton and Beijing. Continuing to compose while teaching, Dr Bannan believes the purpose of engaging with the music of the past is to develop the confidence and fluency to enable original self-expression. A highlight for Dr Bannan’s time at UWA was the 10th anniversary concert of The Winthrop Singers, bringing together a choir of 66 current and alumni performers.



Contact Dr Nicholas Bannan