In 2000, The Verlaines' Graeme Downes took up a position as a lecturer at Otago University overseeing their Contemporary Music Performance programme, a return to the university where he gained his BMus and later his PhD. Dr Downes now heads the department, and counts Tono and the Finance Company's Anthonie Tonnon, Simon Comber and Hannah Curwood as some of the school's student success stories.

For Talking Heads, Radio One breakfast host Aaron Hawkins picked the good doctor's brain about his student days, the role of the critic, and how his life has started to morph into Gustav Mahler's.

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