World Premiere: Polar Force
Arts Centre Melbourne and Speak Percussion present Polar Force
Immerse yourself in the sound of Antarctica
Polar Force evokes the beauty and infinite complexity of Antarctica through an immersive and multi-sensorial performance work presented in an inflatable performance space.
Imagine being on the Antarctic ice shelf, housed inside a temporary shelter where you are intimately observing aural experiments using the raw polar energies collected from outside. In an investigation of extreme wind and ice, pristine Antarctic field recordings combine with live industrial percussion to envelope the audience in a visceral soundscape and performance environment.
Unsure whether you’re witnessing a sinister activity, cutting edge scientific research or part of a dangerous polar expedition, Polar Force makes us rethink our relationship to the natural world and explores notions of human fragility and isolation from the perspective of the coldest, windiest and driest continent on earth.
New high fidelity field recordings made in the Australian Antarctic Territory are augmented by custom built musical instruments made to manipulate pressurised air, water and ice.
Image: Jeff Busby
Concept, Co-Director, Composer & Instrument Design:
Sound Artist & Field Recordings:
Dr Philip Samartzis
Matthias Schack-Arnott & Eugene Ughetti
Sound Design, Audio System Design, Instrument Design & Construction:
Production & Technical Manager:
Inflatable Design and Construction:
Steve Howden (3D inflate)
RMIT Industrial Design Atelier Leader & Air Consultant:
RMIT Industrial Design Atelier Student contributors
Air table: Aston Chadwick, Phoebe Richardson, Remi Freer, Thomas Grimshaw
Air supply: Will Makarainen, Vasilios Pittas, Edward Sims
2017 students: Mengyu Chen, Damian Dehne, Jed Kelly, Sara Wan Fen Kiew, Xue Miao, Billy Orozco, Dionisius Satriawan Pangkey, Jacob Sandom, Timothy Secombe, Edward Sims, Sebastian Sincich, Akil Wahid, Todd Ward, Ceren Ozcan
2016 students: Jacob Aldrich, Rosemary Boddam-Whetham, Michael Efford, Pan Heyuan, Ian Bunyi, Aidan Chen, Dayne McMahon, Claudio Da Silva, Anthony Dinh, Izaak Madsen, Daniel Robbins, Orlando Seelander, Darcy Jones, Felix Taylor
Polar Force would not have been possible without the support of the following people and organisations.
Arts Centre Melbourne and David Anderson
Stephen Whately for commissioning support
Australian Antarctic Division
Bogong Centre for Sound Culture
RMIT School of Art
for their support for Dr Philip Samartzis’ field recordings
Australia Council for the Arts]
City of Melbourne
Department of Education and Training
City of Darebin
Besen Family Foundation
APRA/AMCOS Art Music Fund
Season: Saturday November 24th – Saturday December 1st
Book tickets through Arts Centre Melbourne HERE
Atlas of the Sky – Podcast now online
Check out ABC Classic FM’s ‘New Waves’ podcast on Atlas of the Sky by Liza Lim. You can listen here.
Before Nightfall #8 – Dans les arbres
Thanks to everyone who came to Before Nightfall #8 with Dans les abres!
Photos by Bryony Jackson.
Before Nightfall #7 – Claire Chase
We had a great time collaborating with Claire Chase for Before Nightfall #7. Stay tuned for more info on this collaboration!
Photos by Bryony Jackson.
Tickets now on sale: Atlas of the Sky
Tickets are now on sale for ‘Atlas of the Sky’ by Liza Lim. Premiering on 18 June 2018, don’t miss the chance to experience this major new staged work by one of Australia’s finest art music composers. Tickets available via Melbourne Recital Centre.
Speak at APAM
Speak heading to the Australian Performing Arts Market (19-23 February) to present a Pitch session about our new work in development, Polar Force, an immersive live performance combining custom built ice instruments with Antarctic field recordings, set within a chilled inflatable performance space. The Pitch session is taking place at 4.35pm on Wednesday 21 February at the Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse.
Image: Jeff Busby
Our Executive Producer is heading to the 2018 Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama. 10-18 February 2018, full program here.
For Speak Percussion 2017 was a year of extremes of scale, from Liza Lim’s new work for solo woodblock, An Elemental Thing, to performing Eugene Ughetti’s work for 12 spatialised bell players Bell Curve and remounting Michael Pisaro’s A wave and waves for 100 percussionists at Perth’s Totally Huge New Music Festival.
Highlights include kicking off our new Before Nightfall series, which saw us creating new work in collaboration with Ingar Zach (Madrid), Tony Buck (Berlin), Chris Corsano (New York) and Steven Schick (San Diego), winning the Art Music Award for ‘Excellence by an Organisation’, embarking on exciting new collaborations with Clare Britton, Cyrus Chan and Jia Jia Chen on Assembly Operation and remounting existing projects across Australia including at Sydney’s City Recital Hall.
Stay tuned for new video content in the coming weeks!
Image by Jodie Foster.
A wave and waves in Perth
Photos of our remount of Michael Pisaro’s A wave and waves at the Totally Huge New Music Festival, courtesy of Bohdan Warchomij.
Before Nightfall #4 – Photos
We had a great time collaborating with Steven Schick (USA) for Before Nightfall #4. The day culminated in a new work for massed timber and electronically activated gongs. Stay tuned for a recorded release. Photos by Bryony Jackson.
We won! Australian Art Music Awards
Speak won the award for Excellence by an Organisation at the 2017 Aus Art Music Awards. Full list of winners here.
Art Music Awards Finalists
Speak Percussion has been selected as a finalist for the 2017 Art Music Awards in the category ‘Excellence by an Organisation’ for it’s 2016 Program and a sustained contribution to Australian music.
Also, Matthias Schack-Arnot has been selected as a finalist in the ‘Excellence in Experimental Music’ category for his work Anicca!
Just announced as part of Arts House’s Season 2 program, ‘Assembly Operation’, a new work by Eugene Ughetti in collaboration with Clare Britton, Cyrus Tang, Jia Jia Chen and Nick Roux. More info here.
Anicca on ABC Classic FM
The full (50 minute) audio recording of Anicca by Matthias Schack-Arnott is now online through ABC Classic FM. Presented by Stephen Adams and the New Waves team, the podcast also includes a post-show interview with the artists. Listen here!
The Necks / ASO collab now online
Our collab with The Necks, Ilan Volkov and Adelaide Symphony Orchestra is now online. ABC Classic FM have included the recording in their New Waves podcast, including an interview with two of The Necks. Check it out here!
APRA AMCOS Art Music Fund
Eugene is one of the recipients of the APRA AMCOS Art Music Fund. He will be using the fund to develop his new work, Polar Force, which explores new sonic worlds through the use of ice. Full list of recipients here.
A wave and waves: Live recording
The live recording of our performance of ‘A wave and waves’ by Michael Pisaro is now online on our Bandcamp page. Click here to listen to this epic work for 100 percussionists, realised in collaboration with the composer.
Green Room Finalists
Two Speak projects have been shortlisted for the 2016 Green Room Awards in the Contemporary and Experimental Performance Category. Annica in the ‘Design’ category and Fluorophone in both ‘Design’ and ‘Sound Performance’. Full list of finalists here.
Bell Curve tickets
Tickets now on sale for our Bell Curve performance at the Northcote Town Hall next nonth. Ticket link and more info here!
Before Nightfall #2 – Tony Buck
Speak Percussion partners with MPavilion on the second of it’s Before Nightfall series. Featuring guest artist Tony Buck of The Necks, performing as a duo with our Artistic Associate Matthias Schack-Arnott. Don’t miss this free event at Melbourne’s MPavilion. 7.30pm start, free entry. More info here.
Realtime and Artshub sing their praises of Anicca.
Great reviews of our recent project, FLUOROPHONE, in Limelight and Realtime.
“Fluorophone is an electrifying experience that truly lives up to its name. Speak Percussion is to be commended not only for an exhilarating performance but also for curating a program that maintains diversity in instrumentation and style while successfully synthesising music and light.” Realtime
Melbourne Prize for Music 2016 – Development Award
Matthias took home the Development Award at this year’s Melbourne Prize for Music. Full list of recipients:
Melbourne Prize for Music 2016 – Kutcha Edwards
Outstanding Musicians Award 2016 – Scott Tinkler
Beleura Award for Composition 2016 (new category) – Kate Neal
Development Award 2016 – Matthias Schack-Arnott
Distinguished Musicians Fellowship 2016 (new category) – Kutcha Edwards
Anicca – Photos
We had a great premiere season of Anicca, which was met with rapturous audience responses. Photos by Bryony Jackson.
Anicca – Premieres next week!
Anicca premieres next week. Don’t miss this unique event! A work exploring cycles in sound, Anicca features a rotational instrument, multi-channel audio and a spinning lighting system. Inspired by the relationship between the cyclic and the transcendental in Hindu and Bhuddist thought. More info here!
The Guardian on Fault Traces
The Guardian sings it’s praises of Matthias’ recent solo. “Matthias Schack-Arnott’s immersive, elemental Fault Traces is visually and sonically exquisite. Using subsonic frequencies and a plethora of organic materials, it evokes tectonic murmurings and the frenetic desiccation of shell, wood, stone and metal, giving way to the late, mechanised pound of heavy industry – the audible memory of a mountain.” Full article here!
Melbourne Music Prize
Matthias is a Finalist for the 2016 Melbourne Music Prize – Development Award. Full list of recipients here.
Art Music Awards: We won!
We won the award for Excellence in Experimental Music at the 2016 Art Music Awards. Full list of recipients here.
Fremdarbeit (Outsourcing) by Johannes Kreidler
Speak is thrilled to be supporting Liquid Architecture in realising the Aus premiere of Fremdarbeit by Johannes Kreidler. In a cutting critique of free market practice, Kreidler outsourced the compositional process to third parties in China and India for this work. The result is an outsider’s take on German new music and a conceptually fascinating work. Don’t miss this free event! 7pm 19 Aug 2016 at the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture in Melbourne. Details available here.
Art Music Award Finalists
We’re stoked to have been selected as finalists for two APRA AMCOS & AMC Art Music Awards. We’re up for Excellence by an Organisation and Excellence in Experimental Music! Full list of finalists here.
Anicca & Bell Curve premiere at Arts House
48 Hours to Donate!
There is just over 48 hours to go till the end of the financial year. In that time, Speak Percussion is striving to raise $4,800 to enable us to realise all our projects in 2016.
At the end of 2016 Speak will give the world premiere of two ambitious works, Anicca & Bell Curve, as well as the Australian premiere of our 2015 touring project Fluorophone.
Please help us realise our projects to their full potential and reach our target of $4,800.
As of today our Give Now page is at $7,895 for 2015/2016 – let’s get it to $12,695 by Friday!
All donations over $2 are tax deductible!
Speak returns to Salihara, Jakarta
Speak is excited to be returning to the Salihara International Performing Arts Festival in Indonesia. More info here.
Tectonics 2016 Review
Nice review of our performances of David Shea and Klaus Lang at this year’s Tectonics in GlamAdelaide. Full review here.
New Videos Online
New videos now online. Check out our Media page to see documentation from recent projects Fluorophone and Pisaro’s ‘A wave and waves’.
Speak’s returning to Adelaide Festival for Illan Volkovs infamous Tectonics Festival. Including collabs with The Necks + Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, plus world premieres by Eyvind Kang (USA), David Shea (USA/AUS) & the Aus premire of a major percussion quartet by Klaus Lang. More info here.
International Tour 2015
Speak takes TRANSDUCER and our new project Fluorophone to Singapore and Europe. Check out venues and dates here.
Tickets On Sale! Melbourne Festival
We’re excited to be premiering Michael Pisaro’s A wave and waves for 100 musicians at Melbourne Festival. Tickets are selling fast, get yours here.
New work for MPavilion
Speak Percussion’s Artistic Associate Matthias Schack-Arnott creates a new 30 minute work for the 2015 MPavilion. In collaboration with celebrated British architect Amanda Levete and lighting designer Ben Cobham, the work will be an immersive performance taking place each evening at sunset from 6 October 2015 to 7 February 2016. More info here.
New Work for Supersense – Festival of the Ecstatic
Matthias Schack-Arnott has been commissioned to create a new solo work for the inaugural Supersense Festival. Schack-Arnott, who’s work has been described as ‘beautiful’ (The Wire), ‘brilliant’ (Artshub) & ‘stunning’ (ABC), has developed a unique musical vocabulary using wireless lapel microphones attached directly to his wrists, allowing him to amplify rapid shifts in movement between massed chinese cymbals. Dreamy & ritualistic… Harmonic patterns cycle in and out of audibility as asymmetric shapes simultaneously emerge in sound and gesture.
Speak NOW – Ends Tomorrow!
Speak NOW ends tomorrow. And we are very close to reaching our target of $10,000! Speak NOW a special donations program in which every dollar is matched by Creative Partnerships Australia. Donate now and double your impact on Speak Percussion. In these uncertain times, we need your support more than ever! All money goes directly to making new art – new compositions, projects and performances.
2015 Young Artist In Residence
Welcome to our 2015 Young Artist in Residence, Kaylie Melville. Kaylie will be performing with Speak in a range of contexts, as well as working behind the scenes as an administration intern.
Kaylie Melville is a Melbourne based percussionist whose practice focuses on ensemble performance and new music. Kaylie holds a Masters of Music degree from Melbourne Conservatorium and is completing her studies at the Australian National Academy of Music in 2015. Kaylie has worked with many of Australia’s leading ensembles and orchestras, and champions Australian works as a member of the contemporary ensembles Bricolage and Rubiks. In 2013 Kaylie performed at the So Percussion Summer Institute at Princeton University, and will return to the USA in July 2015 to participate in the Bang on a Can Summer Institute.
Photo: Cameron Jamieson
New Education Program: Sounds Unheard
We’re excited to launch our new education program, Sounds Unheard. Sounds Unheard is a free music education program for gifted and talented Victorian secondary music students. Click here for more info!
For a limited time only, every dollar donated to Speak Percussion will be doubled by Creative Partnerships Australia. This special program, Speak NOW, will only last till 30 May 2015! Donate now and double your impact on Speak Percussion. All money raised will go directly to the art – new compositions, projects and performances!
As part of our new fundraising campaign, we’re auctioning off a limited edition print. To raise funds for our new fundrasing program, Speak NOW, we’re auctioning a beautifully framed print of the score for Mark Applebaum’s The Metaphysics of Notation. Click here for more info, to watch a video of Eugene talking about the work, click here.
Composition Machine #1 premieres this Saturday!
We’re giving the Aus premiere of Composition Machine #1 this Saturday. Seven soloists will inhabit the spaces of the South Melbourne Town Hall, simultaneously realising this exciting new work by Mark Applebaum. For more info, click here.
New Executive Producer!
We’re excited to announce our first ever Executive Producer, Michaela Coventry. Michaela is one of Australia’s finest arts administrators, and we’re honoured to have her join the team. She brings a wealth of experience to her role, including working as the Executive Producer of Lucy Guerin Inc, the General Manager of Megafun and in various roles with many of Australia’s leading arts organisations.
New Artistic Associate!
A new Artistic Associate has joined the Speak team. USA born percussionist Jennifer Torrence is an exceptional solo and chamber musician who has for the last three years been the Principal Percussionist of Bodø Sinfonietta in Norway. Jennifer has performed with world class ensembles in Europe, USA & Australia, and was in 2009 a Fullbright Scholar to the United Kingdom. Her work includes commissioning solo, site-specific, and hybrid-art productions, concerti performances and interdisciplinary collaborations.
As an Artistic Associate for the 2014-15 period, Jen will be a key performer and help shape the artistic direction of Speak Percussion.
MONA FOMA 2015
We’re playing TRANSDUCER for the opening night of the 2015 MONA FOMA Festival. More info here.
CIRCUIT on ABC Classic FM
If you missed it live, listen back to our national broadcast of CIRCUIT on ABC Classic FM. Click here.
Nice review of our recent Transducer project in The Age. Click here to read.
Barrett/Transducer Article in The Age
The Age has just published an in-depth article on our current projects. Click here to read.
Speak is delighted to welcome our new Administrator, Susie Thatcher, to the team. Susie is a very talented arts administrator who has worked in various roles at the Australian National Academy of Music over the last four years, and also has a background playing french horn with some of Australia’s finest orchestras.
Review: Speak in Taiwan
Awesome review from Partial Durations/Realtime of our first show in Taiwan. Click here to read.
“Speak Percussion are more than just a virtuoso ensemble. They display a lively good taste in repertoire, and a strong commitment to the communication of their love and fascination for this music. They have a distinctive style of performance, combining a genuine jouissance with an unassumingly Australian theatricality, that brings to life even music that might seem alarming or pretentious in other hands.”
Speak tours Taiwan
Speak is about to head off on a four city tour of Taiwan. More info here.
See below for a few reviews for Speak’s Next Wave project, Fluvial.
ABC Arts: “…an intimate and fascinating theatrical work. He’s clearly a consummate musician, and the sounds and rhythms he creates are constantly surprising. This is a must-see.”
Matthew Lorzenzon/Realtime: “The installation is as thought-provoking as it is beautiful. Theatrically stunning, aurally stimulating, Fluvial is an unmissable experience at this year’s Next Wave festival.”
Emerging Artist Program – Applications Now Open
Applications for this year’s Emerging Artist Program are now open. Click here for more info.
Artist Talk – Matthias on Fluvial
Matthias will be giving an artist talk on his new solo, Fluvial, this Friday at Moreland City Band’s venue at 16 Cross Street Brunswick, where Matthias has been developing the work. Also on the bill, some incredible improvisors…
7.30pm: ARTIST TALK by Matthias on his new large-scale kinetic percussion solo for Next Wave, which he is currently developing at the space.
Venue: 16 Cross St East Brunswick
A big thanks to the Moreland City Band for hosting Matthias’s creative development and this evening of music & conversation.
Fluvial – Next Wave Festival
Reviews – Speak @ Adelaide Festival
Speak garnered several glowing reviews for its Adelaide Festival performances.
Tectonics Program 1 – The Gaurdian: ‘Listening Styles is an early highlight, a demented cross between big band swing and contemporary classical music which sees Australian percussionist Eugene Ughetti, clad in canary yellow while everyone else is in black, batter the living daylights out of a drum kit while crazy dissonance erupts all around him.’
Tectonics Program 1 – Glam Adelaide: ‘The second premiere, Listening Styles by Matthew Shlomowitz (attending), performed by the ASO and soloist Eugene Ughetti sounded like a fabulous melange in a dance hall, contrasted with stark silences… Ughetti stood out, not just for his yellow shirt; his lightning fast cymbal stops and energy a highlight.’
Tectonics Program 2 – Glam Adelaide: ‘Speak Percussion (commissioners), with telepathic-like communication, delivered the greatest of complexities in the quietest of pianissimos.’
Tectonics Program 1 & 2 – The Australian: ‘Committed performances over the two days by Soundstream and Speak Percussion helped make this event a huge success.’
Speak’s TRANSDUCER project is featured on a new ABC CLassic FM Podcast. The work was co-composed by new media artist Robin Fox and Speak’s AD Eugene Ughetti and premiered at the 2013 Totally Huge New Music Festival, Perth. To listen, click here.
Adelaide Festival – Tectonics
Speak is featured in Adelaide Festival’s Tectonics program. Performing on the same bill as a line-up of experimental greats, we’ll be premiering a new sextet by James Rushford and Scelsi’s percussion quartet. More info here.
The Black of the Star – Reviews
We received three glowing reviews for The Black of the Star.
The Age: With each musician playing different parts at different tempi, the precision and focus required for this piece are extraordinary. But in its humble profundity, it is the sound of the pulsars that give the work its emotional heftiness, reminding us of the vastness that lies beyond our human experience.
False Relations: Speak Percussion gave an astonishing performance of this very difficult and in its own way, awe-inspiring work.
Partial Durations/Realtime: Once captivated, the audience are auditory pioneers at the unstable intersection of technology and science.
Artistic Advisory Group
We are proud to announce the members of our new Artistic Advisory Group. It has been formed to provide support, perspective and scrutiny to the work and vision of Artistic Director, Eugene Ughetti.
Andrew Byrne (USA/Australia) – Composer, Manager of Festivals and Special Projects at Carnegie Hall (New York)
Brett Dean (Germany/Australia) – Composer, Conductor and Violist
Liza Lim (UK/Australia) – Composer, Professor of Composition and Director of the Centre for Research in New Music, University of Huddersfield
Steven Schick (USA) – Percussionist, Conductor, Distinguished Professor of Music at University of California, San Diego, Music Director and conductor of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus, Director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players
Melbourne Festival 2013
Speak’s Melbourne Festival project has just been announced. We’re excited to be working with the Spatial Information Architecutre Laboratory (RMIT) and the CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science Division to create a new interpretation of Black of the Star (Le Noir de L’Etoile), Gerard Grisey’s masterwork for spatialised percussion sextet and pulsars. Book your tickets here.
Finalist for APRA-AMC Art Music Awards
We’re stoked to have been selected as a finalist for two APRA|AMC 2013 Art Music Awards. Speak is in the running to win the Excellence by an Organisation for its 2012 program, and Excellence in Music Education for its Emerging Artist Program and regional school workshops. Other finalists include Australian Chamber Orchestra, Soundstream Collective and Acacia Quartet.
THNMF Tickets Now Onsale
Tickets for Speak’s performances at Totally Huge New Music Festival are now on sale. We’re presenting our avant-drum’n’bass project City Jungle, as well as an exciting new collaboration between Robin Fox and Speak Percussion called TRANSDUCER. Click here to get your tickets.
Welcome to our new website. Thanks to all our wonderful donors who made this possible!
MearzMusik Review in Realtime
Partial Durations review of City Jungle
Partial Durations have written a glowing review on our MRC performance of City Jungle. To read, click here.
Best Music Award at Melbourne Fringe
We are delighted to have won the Best Music Award at the 2012 Melbourne Fringe Festival. The award was for Speak’s AUTOMATION project, which you can read more about here.