A Wave and waves

A Wave and waves by Michael Pisaro, an immersive work for 100 performers on 100 percussion instruments.


Speak Percussion and guests perform A Wave and waves by Michael Pisaro, an immersive work for 100 performers on 100 percussion instruments.


The 2015 premiere at Melbourne Festival was the world’s first live performance of the work. A rare deep listening experience in which the audience sits between the performers, experiencing the music as if part of an ocean of sound. An intimate experience of monumental proportions. Massive waves of sound are formed cumulatively from the tiniest sounds – seeds falling on glass, paper tearing, sandpaper on stone or bowed bells.


As the title suggests, A Wave and waves is inspired by the sound and regularity of the ocean’s waves, as well as by the duality between the collective action of granular sounds (drops of water) and the large event (the wave). In Michael’s words, A Wave and waves is “about confounding the small and the large.


Small sounds.

Many different kinds of them.

Very soft.

On a large timescale.


Pisaro realises the duality between the small and the large by employing 100 individual percussive sounds in ever-evolving textures across an expansive 74-minute structure comprised of two 35-minute sections and a 4-minute bridge of silence. The first section is one colossal percussive wave lasting the entire 35 minutes. The second section is a series of 100 small waves that move across the grid of performers. A Wave and waves is a massive organism. The proportions of the work, and the sheer beauty of the sound world, will offer an unforgettable evening for both Melbourne audiences and performers alike.


Each presentation included working with 100 community members to rehearse and perform the work.

Past Performances

29 October 2017

Totally Huge New Music Festival

Midland Railway Workshops, Perth

with 96 local performers.

15 October 2015

Premiere, Melbourne Festival

Meat Market, Melboure


Aaron Searcy, Abigail Barr, Aidan Tringas, Amy Harris, Andrew Aronowicz, Anna Camara, Ash Briody, Ashlee Clapp, Ben Byrne, Ben Ingvarson-Favretto, Bethany Lei, Carl Polke, Caroline Lim, Carolyn Schofield, Casey-John Prater, Cat McGauran, Christine McCombe, Chris Nankervis, Daniel Dwyer, Dannielle Wilkinson, David Cramond, David Robertson, Deanne Muir, Derek McCormack, Diya Menon, Don Jordan, Eduardo Venegas Rivera, Elisabeth Bodey, Elizabeth Sarroff, Ellan Hyde, Eloise Gleeson, Emmanuella Grace, Erica Dawkins, Eyal Chipkiewicz, Fintan Hocking, Fleur Rubens, Gloria Ghent, Greg Stuart, Hamish Upton, Harry Shaw-Reynolds, Isabel Cameron, Jackson Vickery, Jacob Abela, James Townsend, Joanna Kerr, John Rechter, Jon Smeathers, Jordan Dale, Judy Pile, Jules Borghouts, Julie Ghent, Julie Ughetti, Karina Liu, Kate Bright, Kaylie Melville, Kim Ho, Kirsten Symczycz, Krysztyna Eira, Lachlan Harris, Lee Zelda Hunt, Lewis de Zoete, Liza Lim, Louisa Rankin, Louise Devenish, Lucy Walton, Madi Chwasta, Maria Moles, Mary Angeline Gonzales, Matthew Horsley, Matthew Wilson, Matthias Schack-Arnott, Meg Hale, Mia Rowland, Mikaela Banitsiotis, Mitchell Mollison, Morna Hu, Mungo Moje-O’Brien, Natasha Prewett, Newton Peres, Nick Yates, Oliverio Furfori y Perry, Owen Bomford, Paul Wookey, Peter Kidson, Phoebe Kinrade, Regina Tan, Renee Koh Shuyi, Ruby Willis, Sam Gilfillan, Samantha Wolf, Sonja Boon, Sophie Dunn, Stacy Chang, Stacy Teuber, Stephen Kinrade, Tamara Kohler, Thea Rossen, Tiffany Tan, Timothy Phillips, Tom Stewart-Toner, Yunjia Liu, Zac Ohman, Zach Tay and Zoë Petch.


Michael Pisaro
Eugene Ughetti
Guest Artist
Greg Stuart
Louise Devenish
Kaylie Melville
Matthias Schack-Arnott
Michaela Coventry
Production Manger/ Lighting Designer
Richard Dinnen
Sound Engineering & Production Management
Tilman Robinson


A Wave and waves would not have been possible without the support of the following people and organisations.