Graeme Downes was appointed the lecturer at the University of Otago's Contemporary music programme. His main interests are in the related fields of song writing, music theory and analysis. As well as having a high profile in the rock music industry (Verlaines), Graeme is a scholar of western (classical) music, having gained a doctorate on the music of Gustav Mahler.
If you don't know Graeme's previous work with the Verlaines then here's a quick overview:
Formed (in any sort of meaningful way) in 1981 as a three-piece, the Verlaines soon began their recording career with the fledgling Flying Nun label. This relationship continued throughout the 80's, spawning several singles and albums. All the while through this period Downes was studying at Otago University, completing a Bachelor of Music degree and then embarking on a PhD in 1987. As the PhD was nearing completion the band got a little more full on and signed with LA-based label Slash. Two albums were completed with Slash Records before parting ways.
Before taking up the position at the Music Department Graeme taught 'Rock'n'Roll' at an Auckland polytechnic and was plugging away at music for his solo album 'Hammers and Anvils'. With the help of Peter van der Fluit and Mike O'Neil the album was finally released on FMR in 2001.
Aside from remaining active as a song writer and recording artist, Graeme maintains his interest in the classical field having undertaken numerous preconcert lectures for the NZSO and Radio New Zealand programmes on the music of Mahler and Shostakovich.
Graeme has been admired since the very beginning for his superb lyric writing and thorough knowledge of music theory. He is now passing on that talent to young hopefuls in Dunedin's thriving music scene. FMR released a definitive collection of The Verlaines entitled 'You're Just Too Obscure For Me' in 2003. If you're unfamilliar with his work this would be a great place to start.
Graeme's profile is available here