I need to thank the following experts, all talented people who were prepared to discuss their views on silence with me.  Each conversation generated a new insight, a nuanced entry into the search for silence.  These are the first three interviews and are featured on the first program.  I knew Guntis as a teacher and mentor at AFTRS.  David I met when doing the SoundMinds Radio Project and Richard Gill I had met 30+ years earlier at an Orff Schulwerk Conference at the NSW Conservatorium of Music.


Guntis Sics

Guntis is well known in the film industry as a sound recordist, working on over 30 films since the 1990s.  Guntis’ work is an integral part of many films providing seamless audio files for post production.  He has worked on so many projects, but is publicly best known for his Academy Award nomination for Best Sound for Moulin Rouge (2001), as well as his work on The Great Gatsby (2013) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009).  One of his latest projects is a soon to be released film with Martin Scorcese, called ironically, Silence.

He was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal in the 2001 Queen’s New Years Honours List for his services to Australian society and to Australian film production.

In his own right, Guntis is also a soundtrack composer. Guntis hears everything, even the faint sound of a bird at the other end of a house when you are on a webchat with him.

David McAlpine

Professor David McAlpine is Macquarie University’s Director of Hearing Research at the Australian Hearing Hub and is a 2016 Australian Laureate Fellow by the Australian Research Council (ARC). Dr McAlpine joined Macquarie University in 2015, after a decade as the Professor of Auditory Neuroscience at University College London and Director of the UCL Ear Institute.

David’s research interests include investigations into brain mechanisms underlying spatial hearing, cochlear implantation and biological advances in hearing therapies including tinnitus.

In addition to his day job, he works with a range artists and theatre groups on projects at the ‘science-art’ interface, and occasionally dabbles in stand-up ‘science’ comedy. David is like a juggler who can keep many objects floating in his mind at any one time, like a real-time exhibition of neuroplasticity.

Richard Gill credit Jeff Busby
Richard Gill

Richard Gill, founding Music Director and Conductor Emeritus of  Victorian Opera, is one of Australia’s most admired conductors specialising in opera, musical theatre and vocal and choral training and is internationally respected as a music educator.

He has been Artistic Director of the Education Program for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of OzOpera, Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, and is currently Artistic Advisor for the Musica Viva Education program and Music Director of the Sydney Chamber Choir.

Richard has conducted all the major Australian opera companies and orchestras, New Zealand Symphony and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. For the Sydney Symphony he has conducted Meet the Music, Family and Discovery concerts, and Sinfonietta concerts.

This year he continues his ‘Ears Wide Open’ series with Melbourne Symphony, ‘Unwrap the Music’ with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and returns to West Australian Academy of Performing Arts to conduct Mozart’s Coronation Mass and to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Youth Orchestra.

Richard Gill’s posts have included Dean of the West Australian Conservatorium of Music and Director of Chorus at The Australian Opera. His many numerous accolades include an Order of Australia Medal, the Bernard Heinze Award, Honorary Doctorates from the Edith Cowan University of Western Australia, and the ACU, and the Australia Council’s Don Banks Award.