Peter Tregear takes up the baton at a troubled music institution in transition.

The new dean of the Australian National University’s School of Music has stepped into the role amid the cacophony of budget cuts, job losses, a $2.9 million deficit and public outcry.

Commencing official duties on August 14, Prof Peter Tregear signed on for an initial 18-month contract in a job no one would envy given the current climate. But the 42-year-old says he knows what he’s in for: “I fully expect the student body to hold me and the course to account.

“I don’t expect to be given an easy ride. I want to be judged on the quality of the degree, of the product we provide,” he adds.

Previously executive director of the Academy of Performing Arts at Melbourne’s Monash University, Tregear replaces former ANU School of Music head Adrian Walter, who left abruptly after announcing drastic changes to the curriculum and 13 staff cuts in May. For those who have followed the controversy, it will seem as if he has arrived in time to pick up the pieces after a major bombshell that incited student protests and provoked heated debate in the broader Canberra community. To...