Speak percussion

In 2010 Kim Chalmers, Max Allen, James Erskine of Jauma wines and Eugene Ughetti from Speak Percussion put together a series of fascinating and fun events and tastings around Music and Wine how the two can affect each other’s perception and testing the innate and cognitive links between hearing and taste.  Since then Chalmers has supported the unique and exciting work of Speak Percussion as their official wine partner.

Speak Percussion debut performance was in 2000, performing as part of Musica Viva’s Menage Series to  sold‐out crowds and receiving glowing praise from critics.  “…sent the audience once again into a frenzy.  It was power playing at its best” (The Age, 2000). From the beginning, Speak Percussion’s primary focus  has been to  develop close relationships with living composers from Australia and abroad. This has led to  Speak to working with many of the world’s leading exponents of new music, including Steve Reich (USA), Liza Lim (AUS), Mark Applebaum (USA), Richard Barrett (UK), Jon Rose (AUS), Bent Sørensen (DK), Fritz  Hauser (CH), Michael Pisaro (USA) and Robin Fox (AUS).

Key to Speak Percussion’s success has been the development of long‐term artistic relationships spanning   multiple works. With Fritz Hauser (Switzerland), Speak Percussion has developed six major projects from  2004‐2012, including a chamber opera, installation, notated works and spatial improvisations in festival  contexts in Australia and Switzerland. From 2004‐2011 Speak commissioned works from Anthony  Pateras ranging from solo through to twelvetet, released multiple recordings, performed on the feature  length film Errors of the Human Body and performed his work in four continents. With Thomas Meadowcroft and James Rushford, Speak has commissioned and recorded multiple works and  presented them in prestigious contexts such as MaerzMusik (Berlin Festspiele), Adelaide Festival and the  Taiwan International Percussion Convention.

Early on, Speak Percussion began engaging with artists from diverse disciplines in cross artform  collaborations. Notable collaborators include architects Boa Baumann (Schallmachine 06, Schallmachine  Maximus, Speak & Unspoken) and Büro Architects (Chrysalis), chef Glenn Flood (Pasta Percussion), new  media artist Robin Fox (TRANSDUCER) and the CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science Department (The  Black of the Star).

From 2003‐2012 collaborations with Aphids Inc. occurred with David Young, Rosemary  Joy and Willoh S. Weiland. Such projects included Schallmaschine Kleine (Melbourne International Arts  Festival 2006), Yakumo Honjin (Japan/Australia), Exile, System Building (China, The Netherlands, Sydney,  Melbourne, Germany) and The Box.

International touring began in 2005 with a twelve‐city tour of Europe performing exclusively Australian  music. Speak now regularly tours to many of the world’s leading festivals and venues including  Maerzmusik 2013 (Germany), SONICA 2015 (UK), Tage für Neue Musik 2015 (Switzerland), Café OTO  (UK), TIPC  2014 (Taiwan), Salihara 2014 (Indonesia), CONNECT 2014 (Sweden), ARENA 2014  (Latvia),  GAIDA 2014 (Lithuania) and Batteries IV 2013 (Switzerland).

In 2011 Speak Percussion established a prestigious national Emerging Artists Program focussing on new  chamber music and experimental music practice. Each year a group of Australia’s brightest music talents  now come together to develop new work alongside Speak Percussion and an international guest artist.  Guest artists have included Mark Applebaum (Stanford University, USA), Richard Barrett (Sonology/UK),  Kroumata (Sweden), Eighth Blackbird (USA) and Thomas Meadowcroft (GER/AUS).

In 2015 Speak Percussion launched Sounds Unheard, a free music education program for secondary  school music students. It offers a range of music education opportunities, from performance through to  online content, that develops students’ skills and inspires through innovative approaches to music  making.

Speak Percussion has twice been awarded an AMC/APRA Art Music Award, including the 2014 State  Award for Excellence by an Organisation, the 2012 Melbourne Fringe Festival Best Music Award for it’s  large‐scale robotics project Automation and a 2014 Green Room Award for Fluvial.

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