Ria Andriani lost her sight in early childhood. She is fluent in Braille literacy, is a Braille music reader, and a strong advocate for accessibility and equal opportunity. Ria moved to Australia in 2007 from Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. She attended Canterbury Girls High School, where her passion for music was developed. She became involved with the National Braille Music Camp – held each year in Mittagong, NSW – the annual School Spectacular and other musical activities. After finishing her HSC in 2009, she auditioned for the Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Arts programme at UNSW, majoring in Classical voice and English literature. This is her last semester.
Ria’s interest in music hones in towards the Historical Performance of Early Music: the reconstruction of Medieval to Baroque music performance practices. Her studies lead her not only to a better understanding of the conventions of Early music, but also how music is perceived across history and cultures. Although the emphasis of her curiosity lies mainly in European music, she is also interested in cross-cultural folk song performances as the music of the people. She believes that historical performance of music is a way to give audience a better understanding of peoples’ histories, and can encourage them to accept more diverse genres of music.
As a student with disability, Ria has a strong passion in advocating equal access at university. Her experience with UNSW has been varied. She finds the university as a progressive, encouraging and overall positive learning environment for people with disability. However, the pace in which the university adopts new technology, coupled with outdated attitudes, has often led to challenging circumstances. On the other hand, her experiences at UNSW have given her the necessary self-advocacy, and other invaluable life skills. As a nearly graduated student, she hopes to take her skills and experiences in order to strive for equal opportunities in the Arts industry and communities.
Ria has been recognised as an artist with disability in the wider community. She is the recipient of several dedicated grants from Arts Access Australia and the Australia Council for the Arts. Her 2014 highlight has been attending the Dartington International Summer School, a renowned and progressive music community based in Devon, England. Ria now finishing her last semester of undergraduate studies, and she is constructing several performance plans. She hopes to strengthen her ties with UNSW as a professional artist, enriching cultural diversity and activities around the university.
As an artist, Ria likes to challenge her audience’s perception of her and her artistic practices. Her disability provides a default challenge to her audience. Being a settled immigrant and having a focused interest in Arts ensures that Ria’s life is not a dull one. In the not so distant future, she is planning to perform concerts that draw on her Indonesian heritage, as well as a Western European repertoire and modern Australian music. To stay in touch with Ria, like her Facebook page at Ria Andriani Soprano, and follow her blog at Freeart90.