A/PROF Melanie Plesch

A/PROF Melanie Plesch


  • Music and national identity (Topic theory; post-colonial theory; Argentina; Latin America.)



  • Melanie studied music and musicology in Argentina where she obtained degrees in Music Performance (Classical Guitar), Music education, and Musicology. She earned her PhD in musicology from the University of Melbourne in 1998.

    Her work focuses on the intersections of music, politics and society, with particular emphasis on the relationship between music and the construction of national identities. She has done extensive research on Argentine art music through a methodology that combines cultural history and discourse analysis with her own adaptation of topic theory to the study of musical nationalism. She is currently working on a monograph on the musical rhetoric of Argentine nationalism. Another strong interest is post-colonial theory and cultural representation; she is also working on a project examining representations of tango dancing in mainstream film.

    In 2006 she was an Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Melbourne. In Argentina she held research fellowships from the National Council for Scientific Research (1991-1993; 1993-1995 and 1996), the Antorchas Foundation (1987-89 and 1998) and the National Fund for Science and Technology (2000-2003).

    Her teaching has received several awards, including a 2014 OLT National Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning and the 2013 Barbara Falk Award for Teaching Excellence. Her teaching approach is grounded in her passion for musicology and her personal belief in the benefits of the scholarly study of music to both performers and listeners. Before relocating to Australia in 2005 she was Associate Professor at the University of Buenos Aires and at the Catholic University of Argentina. She teaches subjects in Music History, Research Methods and Latin American Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

    Melanie is currently the Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of the VCA and MCM and Coordinator of the Honours Program (MCM).   


Member of

  • Asociacion Argentina de Musicologia. Member 2014 -
  • Royal Musical Association. Member 2012 -
  • International Musicological Society. Member 2009 -
  • Musicological Society of Australia. Member 2006 -


Selected publications


Additional Grant Information

  • 2012. University of Melbourne. Early Career Research Grant. “How musical nationalisms work”.
    2005-2009. Chief Investigator. “La música en la prensa periódica argentina.” Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras. (UBACYT F831).
    2007-2008. Chief Investigator. “Relevamiento y descripción de fuentes manuscritas e impresas de canto litúrgico en la ciudad de Buenos Aires”. Instituto Universitario Nacional de Arte. (IUNA 134/07)
    2006. Commonwealth of Australia. Department of Education, Science and Training: Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. (Host institution: Faculty of Music, The University of Melbourne).
    2000 – 2003. Ministry of Education. Department of Science and Technology, Argentina Young Scientists Research Fellow. (Program: IM40 2000. Grant No. 131).
    1996 – 1998. The University of Melbourne. Melbourne University Postgraduate Scholarship.
    1996 – 1998. The University of Melbourne. International Postgraduate Scholarship.
    1995 – 1996. National Council for Scientific Research (CONICET) Argentina. Doctoral Fellowship (Becaria de Investigación Doctoral).
    1993 – 1995. National Council for Scientific Research (CONICET) Argentina. Research Fellowship, Intermediate (Becaria de Investigación Categoría Perfeccionamiento).
    1991 – 1993. National Council for Scientific Research (CONICET) Argentina. Research Fellowship, Junior. (Becaria de Investigación Categoría Iniciación).
    1987 – 1989. Fundación Antorchas. Research Fellow (Becaria de Investigación).   


Education and training

  • GCUT, University of Melbourne 2010
  • PhD, University of Melbourne 1997
  • Inv, Conservatory "Juan Jose Castro" 1988
  • Prof, Conservatory "Juan Jose Castro" 1988
  • Prof, Conservatory "Juan Jose Castro" 1986

Awards and honors

  • OLT National Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, 2014
  • Barbara Falk Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2013
  • DEST, Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, 2006
  • Young Researchers Fellowship awarded by the National Fund for Science and Techcnology of Argentina., FONCYT (Argentina), 2000
  • Re-entry grant, Fundacion Antorchas (Argentina), 1998
  • Beca doctoral (Doctoral scholarship)., CONICET (Argentina), 1995



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • I welcome master’s and PhD candidates interested in art music and national identity, music nationalism and topic theory.