Excelsia College

Integrative Studies & Research

Professor Kirsty Beilharz | Integrative Studies Program Director | Excelsia College

Integrative Studies Program Director & Deputy Director of Research

Professor Kirsty Beilharz

BMus(Hons) Performance and Composition, LTCL, PhD, post-doctoral studies in music
PhD Theology and Philosophy
Contact Details

Telephone Number

02 9000 9604



Biographical details

Dr. Kirsty Beilharz is a composer, researcher, educator and author. She is the Integrative Studies Program Director at Excelsia College. Kirsty has previously conducted research at the University of Notre Dame (Australia) in bioethics, healthcare ethics and spirituality, in collaboration with St. Vincent’s Health Network. Kirsty was a conjoint academic of UNSW Faculty of Medicine, of Sydney University’s Kolling Institute, and at HammondCare investigated the impact of music in dementia and palliative care. Kirsty was a Senior Creative Fellow at Anglican Deaconess Ministries, Visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Professor of Music and Interaction Design at UTS, and Digital Media Program Director at Sydney University.


Kirsty’s music has been performed worldwide, and by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Western Australian Symphony Orchestra, Australian chamber Orchestra, and her 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 Taiwan, Japan, Paris and the UK.

Profile of Professor Kirsty Beilharz


Kirsty completed a Bachelor of Music Honours degree in performance and composition at Sydney University, LTCL, PhD, post-doctoral studies in music at the University of York — UK, and computer music at IRCAM — Paris. She has subsequently undertaken studies at Moore Theological College, and a PhD in theology and philosophy at Sydney College of Divinity

Awards and Honours

Kirsty has won prizes at Gaudeamus World Music Days Amsterdam, Paris Rostrum, Hannover Biennale, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne Forum Montreal Québec, Young Australian of the Year Arts Category, a Churchill Fellowship, the Sir Charles Mackerras Prize of the British Council; and Sydney University Vice-Chancellor’s Special Award for Excellence in Teaching.


Kirsty was selected for IRCAM Electronic Music Course, Matsumae International Science Research Fellowship (A.I. Lab Tokyo), Asialink Arts Residency, and won prizes in the World Bass Clarinet composition competition, and Angoulême Colloque International du Basson composition prize; and her music won Symphony Australia the Award for Best Performance of Australian Contemporary Music in the APRA & AMC Australian Classical Music Awards.

Research interests

Kirsty is investigating theological and pastoral aspects of formation amongst culturally diverse students in the Christian higher education context, and practical theology in healthcare, ethics, ageing, palliative care, and thanatology. Kirsty has a special interest in Trinitarian theology, sacramental hermeneutics, phenomenology, epistemology, a focus on Karl Barth, John Calvin, Jean-Luc Marion, Olivier Messiaen, and theological readings of music. Kirsty is concerned with the intersection of philosophy and theology in the arts; and the impact of Christian theological and humanitarian ethical engagement in social dilemmas and dystopias which are catalysed by the increasingly secular, exploitative, and marginalizing agendas of consumerist, capitalist power. Kirsty’s past research, spanning music, sonification, human computer interaction and artificial intelligence, has attracted over AUD $2M in grants of the Commonwealth Government Australian Research Council (ARC), Collaborative Research Centre (CRC), Commonwealth Government Department of Social Services, The Thomas Foundation, and HammondCare Foundation.


Member of the Australian Music Centre

Member of International Society for Arts, Science and Technology

Associate of the Mental Health Professionals’ Network

Member of The Matsumae International Foundation

Member of the Australasian Performing Rights Association

Member of the Australian Shakuhachi Society

Deaconess and Member of the Anglican Deaconess Ministries

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, Hilton June 2016

Selected publications

Kirsty has composed more than 40 published music works, held by the representative peak body, the Australian Music Centre.


(2017) Music Remembers Me: Connection and Wellbeing in Dementia. HammondCare Media, ISBN 978-0- 9945461-1-1.

Beilharz, K., Johnston, A., Ferguson, S., and Chen, A.Y-C. (2010) Proceedings of the 2010 Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), Sydney, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. ISBN: 978-0-646- 53482-4 (printed proceedings, CD-ROM proceedings & available online) 504 pages.

Book Chapters

(2020) Beilharz, K. Ageing well: music and meaning in dementia and de-medicalising palliative care. In Embracing life and gathering wisdom: Theological, pastoral and clinical insights into human flourishing at the end of life. SCD Press, in press.

(2020) Beilharz, K. Human Flourishing until death: Living well until the very end. In Smith, D. (Ed.) Human Flourishing, Wipf & Stock, in press.

(2018) Beilharz K. ‘Music Engagement and Music Therapy’. In: MacLeod R, Van den Block L (ed.s) Textbook of Palliative Care (Springer Cham) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-31738-0_39-1, pp.1-22 08/06/2018 ISBN 978-3-319-31738-0 (Biomedical and Life Sciences).

(2018) Beilharz K., Poulos C., Poulos R., Fodera J., Cole A., MacLeod R. ‘Creative Art Making in Palliative Care’. In: MacLeod R., Van den Block L. (eds) Textbook of Palliative Care. (Springer, Cham) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3- 319-31738-0_38-1. ISBN978-3-319-31738-0.

(2017) Beilharz, K. ‘Grace and Nurture: Connecting and Engaging Through Music in Dementia Care’ in Doru Costache, Darren Cronshaw, James R. Harrison (Ed.s) Well-being, Personal Wholeness and the Social Fabric, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2017) ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-9858-4) pp. 184-208

(2014) Mills, Roger & Beilharz, K. ‘The Network Unveiled: Evaluating Intercultural Musical Interaction in Telematic Improvisational Performance’ in Candy, L. & Edmonds, E. (Ed.s) Art Evaluation and HCI, Springer.

(2012) Beilharz, K. Chapter 17: ‘Information Engagement through Interactive Sonification Design’ in Gu, N. & Wang, X. (Ed.s) Computational Design Methods and Technologies: Application in CAD, CAM and CAE Education, IGI-Global, DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-180-1.ch017, pp. 299-318.


(2019) ‘Encountering the Trinity through a sacramental framing of music: Participation and analogy in Olivier Messiaen’s Quatour pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time)’ in Special themed edition – Embodied spiritual practice(s) ed. Darren Cronshaw, Practical Theology Volume 12: Issue 2 (2019). https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/TieaidAAk6Ae9jeuUw3K/full?target=10.1080/1756073X.2019.1598 699

Poulos R.G, Marwood S., Harkin D., Opher, S., Clift S., Cole A.M.D., Beilharz, K., Poulos, C.J. ‘Arts on prescription for community dwelling older people with a range of health and wellness needs’ in Health & Social Care in the Community. Wiley. First published: 21 October 2018. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12669.

(2018) Beilharz, K. ‘Applications of Trinitarian analogy in contemporary thought and the potential for Eucharistic encounter in Olivier Messiaen’s music’ in Phronema, Journal of St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox College, Vol.33(2), 2018, 83-117.

(2016) ‘Engaging and connecting through music: enablement in practice’ in Australian Journal of Dementia Care, Vol. 5 No.1 February/March, pp. 21-25.

(2012) Mills, R. & Beilharz, K. ‘Listening through the Firewall: Semiotics of Sound in Networked Improvisation’ in Landy, L. (Ed.) Organised Sound: An International Journal of Music and Technology, Volume 17, Issue 01, Special Issue ‘Networked Electroacoustic Music’, Cambridge Journals, Cambridge University Press, pp. 16-27.

(2011) Ferguson, S., Beilharz, K.A., and Calo, C.A. ‘Principles for tabletop computing in interactive sonification and visualisation of data’ in Hermann, T., Bresin, R., and Hunt, A. (Ed.s) J. Multimodal User Interfaces, Springer http://www.springer.com/computer/hci/journal/12193, JMUI-D-11-00018R1.

Conference Papers

(2012) Beilharz, K. & Martin, A. ‘The “Interface” in Site-Specific Sound Installation’ in Proceedings of the New Interfaces for Musical Expression Conference, Ann Arbor MI, USA, 20-23 May 2012.

(2012) Martin, A. & Beilharz, K. ‘Windtraces: Accessible Sonic Art’ in Docherty, M. & Hitchcock, M. (Ed.s) Proceedings of Apple CreateWorld 2011 Conference, Brisbane 28-30 Nov 2011, ISBN: 978-0-947209-38-4, Apple University Consortium Australia, pp. 64-71.

(2011) Haeusler, M. & Beilharz, K. ‘[Architecture = Computer] – from computational to computing environments’ in Proceedings of CAAD Futures, Liège, Belgium, 6-8 June 2011, ISBN: 978-2-8745-6142-9, pp. 217-232 http://cumincad.scix.net/cgi-bin/works/Show?cf2011_p019.

(2011) Mills, R.H. & Beilharz, K. ‘Distant Presences: Case Studies of Intercultural Transferences in Networked Improvisatory Performance’ in Proceedings of the Digital Resources for the Humanities and Arts 2011 Conference, 4-7 September 2011, University of Nottingham Ningbo, China.

(2011) Mills, R.H. & Beilharz, K. ‘Ethernet Orchestra: Intercultural Engagement through Networked Improvisatory Performance’ in Proceedings of the 17th International Symposium on Electronic Art, Istanbul, Turkey, 14-21 September 2011, pp. 1-7.

(2010) Haeusler, M., Beilharz, K. and Barker, T. ‘Interactive Polymedia Pixel and Protocol for Collaborative Creative Content Generation on Urban Digital Media Displays’, International Conference on New Media and Interactivity, Istanbul, Turkey, 28-30 April 2010.

(2010) Beilharz, K., Vande Moere, A., Stiel, B., Calo, C.A., Tomitsch, M., and Lombard, A. ‘Expressive Wearable Sonification and Visualisation: Design and Evaluation of a Flexible Display’ in Proceedings of New Interfaces for Musical Expression, Sydney, Australia, 15-18 June 2010, 323-326.

(2010) Martin, A., Ferguson, S. and Beilharz, K. ‘Mechanisms for Controlling Complex Sound Sources: Applications to Guitar Feedback Control’, in Proceedings of New Interfaces for Musical Expression, Sydney, Australia, 15-18 June 2010, 364-367.

(2010) Nugroho, J. and Beilharz, K. ‘Framework for Understanding and Evaluating User Centred Design in Wearable Expressions’, in Proceedings of New Interfaces for Musical Expression, Sydney, Australia, 15-18 June 2010, 327-330.

(2010) Beilharz, K. & Ferguson, S. ‘Augmenting Musical Gesture in Interactive Electro-Acoustic Composition’ in 5th International Conference on Multimodality, UTS.

(2010) Beilharz, K., Ferguson, S. & Calo, A. ‘Multi-Touch Gestural Interaction with Multimodal Data Representation’ in 5th International Conference on Multimodality, UTS.

(2009) Beilharz, K., Ferguson, S. ‘An Interface and Framework Design for Interactive Aesthetic Sonification’ in (Ed.s) Aramaki, M., Kronland-Martinet, R., Ystad, S. & Jensen, K. Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Auditory Display, Copenhagen, Denmark, May 18-22, ISBN 978-87-7606-033-6, http://www.icad.org/Proceedings/2009/BeilharzFerguson2009.pdf

Beilharz K., Bongers B., Vande Moere A. and Ferguson S. (2009) ‘Aesthetic Wearable Interfaces for Multimodal Information Access’ in ‘Innovation for An Inclusive Future’ Workshop, INTERACT Conference, Uppsala Sweden

(2009) Ferguson, S., Beilharz, K. ‘An Interface for Live Interactive Sonification’ in Proceedings of New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh PA, 4-6 June, pp.35-36.

(2009) Beilharz, K. ‘Gesture Sonification in Interactive Instrumental Music Performance’ in Proceedings of Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Jan 9-12, Honolulu HI, pp.389-400.

(2009) Beilharz, K. and Ferguson, S. ‘Aesthetic Sonification Toolkit for Real-time Interaction with Data’ in Proceedings of Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Jan 9-12, Honolulu HI, pp.401-408.

(2009) Nugroho, J. and Beilharz, K. ‘Wireless Gamelan (Spatial RFID Cyborg Sonic Interaction)’ in Proceedings of Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Jan 9-12, Honolulu HI, pp.3006-3013.

(2008) Song, H.J. and Beilharz, K. ‘Aesthetic and Auditory Enhancements for Multi-stream Information Sonification’ in Proceedings of DIMEA 2008 3rd ACM International Conference on Digital Interactive Media in Entertainment & Arts, Athens Greece, pp.224-231.

(2008) Song, H.J. and Beilharz, K. ‘Information Sonification Changing the Culture of Communication’ in Proceedings of Young Investigator’s Forum on Culture Technology 2008, August 22-24 KAIST, Korea.

(2007) Song, H.J. and Beilharz, K. ‘Exploration of Spatialization and Timbre towards Effective Divided Attention in Auditory Graphing’ in 8th WSEAS (World Scientific and Engineering Academy and Society) International Conference on Acoustics and Music: Theory and Applications (AMTA ’07), Vancouver, Canada, June 19-21, pp.18-26.

(2007) Song, H.J. and Beilharz, K. and Cabrera, D. ‘Evaluation of Spatial Presentation in Sonification for Identifying Concurrent Audio Streams’ in Proceedings of International Conference on Auditory Display, Montreal, Canada, pp.285-292.

(2007) Beilharz, K. & Ferguson, S. ‘Gestural Hyper Instrument Collaboration with Generative Computation for Real Time Creativity’ in (Ed.s) Fischer, G., Giaccardi, E., & Eisenberg, M. Creativity and Cognition Conference ’07, Washington D.C. USA, ACM CHI Sheridan Printing, pp.213-222.

(2007) Jakovich, J. & Beilharz, K. ‘ParticleTecture: Interactive Granular Soundspaces for Living and Entertainment’ in Proceedings of New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME’07) NYC, pp.185-190.

(2006) Jakovich, J. & Beilharz, K. ‘From Audience to Inhabitant: Interaction as a medium in architecture’ in Proceedings of Engage: Interaction, Art & Audience Experience – CCS / ACID Symposium, Creativity and Cognition Studios Press, pp.40-49, ISBN 978-0-9751533-4-5

(2006) Beilharz, K., Ferguson, S., Song, H.J. & Cabrera, D. ‘An Interactive Approach for Teaching Information Sonification’ in Proceedings of International Conference of Auditory Display (ICAD), London, pp.164-171.

(2006) Cabrera, D., Ferguson, S., Beilharz, K. & Song, H.J. ‘Using Psychoacoustical Models for Auditory Display’ in Proceedings of International Conference of Auditory Display (ICAD), London, pp.113-120.

(2006) Beilharz, K., Jakovich, J. & Ferguson, S. ‘Hyper-Shaku (Border-Crossing): Towards the Multi-modal Gesture-controlled Hyper-Instrument’ in Proceedings of New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), IRCAM, Paris, pp.352-357.

(2005) Beilharz, K. Integrating Computational Generative Processes in Acoustic Music Composition, in Edmonds, E., Brown, P. and Burraston, D. (Ed.s) Generative Arts Practice ’05: A Creativity and Cognition Symposium, University of Technology Sydney, pp. 5-20.

(2005) Beilharz, K. Gesture-Controlled Interaction with Aesthetic Information Sonification, in Pisan, Y. (Ed.) The Second Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment, Sydney, pp. 11-18.

(2005) Beilharz, K. Wireless Gesture Controllers to Affect Information Sonification, in Brazil, E. (Ed.) ICAD, Limerick, Ireland, CD-ROM proceedings July.

(2005) Beilharz, K. Architecture as the Computer Interface: 3D Gestural Interaction with Socio-Spatial Sonification, in Duarte, J.P., Ducla-Soares, G. and Zita Sampio, A. (Ed.s) Digital Design: The Quest for New Paradigms – eCAADe Proceedings, Lisbon, pp. 763-770.

(2005) Jakovich, J. & Beilharz, K. A Framework for the Extension of Kinaesthetic Modality to the Design of Sensate Spaces, in Duarte, J.P., Ducla-Soares, G. and Zita Sampio, A. (Ed.s) Digital Design: The Quest for New Paradigms, eCAADe Proceedings, Lisbon, pp. 427-432.

(2005) Song, H. J. and Beilharz, K. Time-based Sonification for Information Representation, in World MultiConference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, Orlando, USA, pp.376-380. Best Paper Award in session: Image, Acoustic, Speech and Signal Processing.

(2005) Beilharz, K. Responsive Sensate Environments: Past and Future Directions: Designing Space as an Interface with Socio-Spatial Information, in B. Martens and A. Brown (eds), CAAD Futures, Springer Verlag; Vienna, pp. 361-370.

(2004) Beilharz, K. (Criteria & Aesthetics for) Mapping Social Behaviour to Real Time Generative Structures for Ambient Auditory Display (Interactive Sonification), in INTERACTION – Systems, Practice and Theory: A Creativity & Cognition Symposium hosted by The Dynamic Design Research Group, Creativity and Cognition Press, UTS, Sydney, pp. 75-102.

(2004) Beilharz, K. Interactively Determined Generative Sound Design for Sensate Environments, in Sound and Music Computing, in Sound and Music Computing Conference, IRCAM, Paris, pp. 193-200.

(2004) Beilharz, K. Building Intelligence – Ambient Visualization and Sonification in Social Sensate Spaces, in Proceedings of the 38th Australian & New Zealand Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA) Conference, University of Tasmania, Hobart, pp. 71-77

(2004) Vande Moere, A. and Beilharz, K. Interaction Design for Smart Spaces – a Constructivist Design Studio, in Proceedings of the 38th Australian & New Zealand Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA) Conference, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 335-342.

(2004) Reffat, R. M. and Beilharz, K. A Framework of Semantic-based Agents to Support Designing in Virtual Environments, Proceedings of the 10th International Multimedia Modeling Conference ’04: 167-172, IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, USA.

(2004) Beilharz, K. Designing Generative Sound for Responsive 3D Digital Environment Interaction, in CAADRIA’04 (Computer Aided Architecture Design Research in Asia), Seoul, Korea, pp. 741-757.

(2004) Beilharz, K. Interactively Determined Generative Sound Design for Sensate Environments: Extending Cyborg Control, in Y. Pisan (eds), Interactive Entertainment ’04, Creativity and Cognition Studios, University of Technology, Sydney, pp. 11-18.

(2003) Reffat, R. M. and Beilharz, K. A New Perspective of Transforming the Use of CAAD in Designing the Built Environment, ANZAScA Conference, Faculty of Architecture, University of Sydney: 494-501.

(2003) Beilharz, K. Designing Sounds and Spaces: Interdisciplinary Rules & Proportions in Generative Stochastic Music and Architecture, in N. Cross and E. Edmonds (eds), Expertise in Design – Design Thinking Research, Creativity and Cognition Studios Press, UTS Sydney, pp. 3-21.

Magazines/Newspaper Articles/Media

(2017) Australian Ageing Agenda June.

(2017) 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) Interview with the Centre for Public Christianity.

(2017) Interview with Eternity Magazine.

(2016) Australian Ageing Agenda February.