01 Mar 2024

2024 Associate Artists: Zela Papageorgiou and Alon Ilsar

Alon Ilsar and Zela Papagergiou join Speak Percussion as Artistic Associates.

Speak are thrilled to announce that Alon Ilsar and Zela Papageorgiou are our 2024 Associate Artists!

Speak’s Artistic Associates contribute towards the creative developments, presentations, recordings and tours within the company’s annual program as either lead artists, collaborating artists or project managers. In 2024 this position will be held by Zela Papageorgiou, a past Sounds Unheard and Bespoke Artist participant and Alon Ilsar, previous Before Nightfall collaborator and contributor to the Sounds Unheard program. Speak Percussion are thrilled to be supporting Alon and Zela’s practice and upcoming projects; ‘Realtime’ and ‘Tidelines’.

Alon and Zela have been mentored by Speak since the beginning of 2024, as they work towards their new projects, ‘Realtime’ and ‘Tidelines’, and have each recently completed residencies in New South Wales; Alon at Critical Path and Zela at Bundanon.

We look forward to continuing to work with these incredible artists as they develop both their practice and projects!

Read more about these artists and their projects below!


Alon Ilsar

Alon Ilsar is a drummer, improviser, instrument designer and researcher. He is currently an ARC Industry Fellow at Monash University’s SensiLab researching the uses of the AirSticks, a gestural instrument he invented, in the field of health and well being, making music creation more accessible to the broader community.Alon has played the AirSticks at Sydney Festival, Sydney’s Vivid Festival, on Triple J’s Like a Version and at NYC’s MET Museum, with projects such as Trigger Happy ‘Visualised’, The Hour, The Sticks, Tuka (from Thundamentals), Sandy Evans’ ‘Ahimsa’ and ‘Rockpool,’ Ellen Kirkwood’s ‘[A]part‘, Kirin J Callinan, Kind of Silence (UK), Cephalon (US), and Melinda Smith’s ‘Conduit Bodies’ and Speak Percussion’s Before Nightfall.He has played drums in Belvoir Theatre’s ‘Keating! the Musical,’ Sydney Theatre Company’s ‘Mojo,’ Meow Meow with the London Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Western Australia Symphony Orchestras, Stephanie Lake’s ‘Manifesto,’ Alan Cumming, Jake Shears and Eddie Perfect.

“Realtime” – Alon Ilsar (NSW)

Realtime (working title) is an interactive audio-visual percussion work using Alon Ilsar’s custom built, gestural instrument; the AirSticks. The AirSticks trigger and manipulate sounds/ visuals via small motion tracking devices attached to drumsticks. Realtime will see three generations of percussionists working with different intervals of time, referencing Stockhausen’s Unity of Electronic Music. Through the interplay of synchronised / unsynchronised movement and sound the audience will be mesmerised into a sense of timelessness. 


Zela Papageorgiou

Zela Papageorgiou is a Naarm -based percussionist, creating and performing in the fields of contemporary-classical music, Sound Art and improvisation. As a chamber musician and creative collaborator, she has appeared with leading organisations and ensembles including Speak Percussion, Play On, Ad Lib Collective, and is the core percussionist for Forest Collective. She has performed in local festivals such as Melbourne Music Week, Melbourne Festival, Brunswick Music Festival, Midsumma Festival and Art After Dark. Zela was a Bespoke Artist in Speak Percussion’s inaugural Bespoke Artist program (2020-2022), where she composed and premiered Dissipative Structures, an immersive work for 7 spatialised performers, synchronised to a pre-existing video work by renowned Australian Artist Cameron Robbins. She has participated in artist residencies with organisations including The Australian Tapestry Workshop (VIC), and in 2024 will attend the Bundanon Artist in Residence program (NSW).


Zela’s passion for cross-genre, collaborative and interdisciplinary music-making extends to her work in music education and community engagement. She performs regularly in programs that introduce young audiences to music, and recently undertook two school residencies with Musica Viva as a teaching artist. Zela is a current recipient of Creative Victoria’s Creators Fund, working on a research project that explores techniques in electroacoustic percussion.

“Tidelines”  – Zela Papageorgiou

Tidelines is a solo project by Zela Papageorgiou that explores dream-like soundscapes reflective of nature through the combination of percussion and electronics. This work will be informed by a period of research and experimentation, supported by Creative Victoria Creator’s Fund, where Zela will develop her practice in live electronic processing for electro-acoustic percussion performance, and develop improvisation techniques alongside compositional material.

Image 1: Byrony Jackson
Image 2: Darren Gill