Before Nightfall (series)

Before Nightfall is Speak Percussion’s ongoing collaboration with guest artists. They spend the day exchanging ideas and present the findings in a free performance to the public after the night falls.


Before Nightfall is a series of new artistic encounters between Speak Percussion and invited guest artists. Each guest artist works with Speak artists intensively across one day, experimenting with a range of musical concepts. In the evening, these investigations culminate in an intimate live performance. Before Nightfall started in 2017.

Past Performances

21 May 2022

Before Nightfall #15 James Nguyen and Amias Hanley

Gertrude Contemporary



In collaboration with artists James Nguyen and Amias HanleyBefore Nightfall #15 was developed onsite and presented at Gertrude Contemporary.

Gertrude Studio Program alum, James Nguyen makes video, installations and performance ranging from the diasporic absurd to institutional loneliness, everything is up for grabs and anything is possible in his work. Amias Hanley is an artist using sound and media to explore relations among queer ecologies, attunement, situatedness and speculative practices.

The guest artists were joined on stage by Speak’s Eugene Ughetti and Kaylie Melville, with audio engineering by Jonathan Griffiths.


4 December 2021

Before Nightfall #14 Alon Ilsar

Grainger Museum, University of Melbourne


Drawing on inspiration from the life and work of celebrated Australian composer Percy Grainger, Before Nightfall #14 features Australian drummer, composer, sound designer and instrument designer Alon Ilsar and is presented in partnership with the Grainger Museum.

This project will see Speak artists Eugene Ughetti and Kaylie Melville perform alongside Alon Ilsar using a combination of his Air-Sticks and unique instruments from the Grainger Collection, with sound design by Speak’s Tilman Robinson and gesture design by Ciaran Frame.

11 - 28 March 2021 

Before Nightfall #13

Fuse Festival, Autumn 2021
Home delivery

Before Nightfall #13 is a collaboration with Bundoora Homestead and writer Claire G. Coleman, and draws inspiration from a video artwork featured in the Darebin Art Collection – Collider by Jon Butt.

Due to the physical distancing restrictions of COVID, all artists worked, performed and recorded their new pieces, in isolation and across the space of one day, onsite at the Bundoora Homestead.

As a gift to our absent audience, the works have been packaged onto a limited edition USB and will be presented alongside writing by Claire. G Coleman and images of the artists, artworks and Homestead. All you need to do is register to receive this unique home delivery.


6 - 23 August 

Before Nightfall #12 Lamine Sonko

Online Streaming


Before Nightfall #12 is in collaboration with Senegalese-born, Melbourne-based artist Lamine Sonko. All music created has been inspired by an adaptation of the famous Senegalese film Hyenas, restored in 2018.

This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, all artists worked across one day, in isolation. Their music was recorded and mixed and the final presentation is offered online as an audio-visual work as part of MIFF 68 1/2.

Before Nightfall #12 can be watched in conjunction with the fully restored feature film Hyenas. “The newly restored masterpiece from Senegalese auteur Djibril Diop Mambéty follows a woman who returns to the poverty-stricken town that shunned her to strike a vengeful bargain.” MIFF

22 November 2019

Before Nightfall #11 Jane Sheldon

Trocadero Art Space, Footscray

Before Nightfall 11 with Jane Sheldon image by Bryony Jackson

Before Nightfall 11 with Jane Sheldon image by Bryony Jackson


Before Nightfall 11 with Jane Sheldon image by Bryony Jackson


Guest artist Jane Sheldon is an Australian-American soprano who specialises in the creation and performance of exploratory chamber music. Praised by the New York Times for singing “sublimely”, Jane has collaborated extensively with composers as they create new works for voice, most frequently with John Zorn, performing his music across the globe. She is Artistic Associate with Sydney Chamber Opera.

28 July 2019

Before Nightfall #10 Robyn Schulkowsky

124 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Before Nightfall 10 with Robyn Schulkowsky image by Bryony Jackson

Before Nightfall 10 with Robyn Schulkowsky image by Bryony Jackson

Before Nightfall 10 with Robyn Schulkowsky image by Bryony Jackson

Born and raised in South Dakota, Robyn Schulkowsky has been an innovator and collaborator throughout her life. She has dedicated herself to revealing the wonders of percussion to people around the world. Her continuous exploration of new sound dimensions has led to the development of new and unusual musical instruments.

18 October 2018

Before Nightfall #9 Inland

Rosina Auditorium, Abbotsford Content

Before Nightfall 9 with Inland

Before Nightfall 9 with Inland

Before Nightfall 9 with Inland


Guest artists include Gamelan DanAnda’s Jeremy Dullard and Inland’s Alexander Garsden, alongside the composer Thomas Meadowcroft. This work, titled “Our Ancestors went on those TV shows to learn how to cook and find love…” will form around the notion of synthesising the music, culture and thought South East Asian, Western, and experimental music practices.




25 June 2018

Before Nightfall #8 Dans les arbres

75 Reid Street, North Fitzroy

Before Nightfall 8 with Dans les arbres - image by Bryony Jackson

Before Nightfall 8 with Dans les arbres - image by Bryony Jackson

Before Nightfall 8 with Dans les arbres - image by Bryony Jackson

Dans les arbres are a European improvisation quartet consisting of pianist Christian Wallumrød, clarinetist Xavier Charles, guitarist Ivar Grydeland and percussionist Ingar Zach.


29 May 2018

Before Nightfall #7 Claire Chase

The Mission to Seafarers, Docklands

Before Nightfall 7 with Claire Chase image by Bryony Jackson

Before Nightfall 7 with Claire Chase image by Bryony Jackson

Before Nightfall 7 with Claire Chase image by Bryony Jackson

Claire Chase, described by The New Yorker as “the young star of the modern flute,” is a soloist, collaborative artist, educator, curator and advocate of new and experimental music. Over the past decade she has given the world premieres of hundreds of new works for the flute in performances on five continents.

14 March 2018

Before Nightfall #6 Robbie Avenaim

Northcote Town Hall, Northcote

Before Nightfall 6 with Robbie Avenaim (image care of artist)

For over 25 years, Robbie Avenaim has been at the forefront of the Australian experimental music scene both as a performer and a curator. Focused primarily on percussion and instrument building, he has developed a unique approach to performance which draws from a range of traditions: from non-idiomatic improvisation, to aleatoric, structural approaches and more formalised compositional frameworks utilising both extended and traditional techniques, and percussive automation.

27 February 2018

Before Nightfall #5 Carolyn Connors

Bishop's Parlour, Abbotsford Convent

Carolyn Connors is a vocalist, composer, and instrumentalist who was awarded the 2015 Age Melbourne Music Award for Avant Garde and Experimental music. Carolyn’s solo vocal works have been presented by the Melbourne Recital Centre, Sydney Festival, Dark MOFO, Liquid Architecture, ABC radio’s Sound Proof, The Ian Potter Museum, and Gertrude Contemporary.

4 October 2017

Before Nightfall #4 Steven Schick

Collingwood Arts Precinct

Before Nightfall 4 with Steven Schick image by Bryony Jackson

Before Nightfall 4 with Steven Schick image by Bryony Jackson

Before Nightfall 4 with Steven Schick image by Bryony Jackson

Steven Schick is a percussionist and conductor from the United States, specializing in contemporary music. He is Distinguished Professor of Music at University of California, San Diego and is currently the Music Director and Conductor of the La Jolla Symphony Orchestra. For the past 40 years he has championed contemporary percussion music as a performer and teacher, by commissioning and premiering more than 150 new works for percussion. He was the percussionist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars of New York City from 1992 to 2002, and from 2000 to 2004 served as Artistic Director of the Centre International de Percussion de Genève in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2012 he became the first Artist-in-Residence with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).

25 May 2017

Before Nightfall #3 Chris Corsano

Speak Percussion Studios, Thornbury

Chris Corsano is an upstate NY-based drummer who has been active at the intersections of collective improvisation, free jazz, avant-rock, and noise music since the late 1990’s. He began a long-standing, high-energy musical partnership with saxophonist Paul Flaherty in 1998. Their style, which they occasionally refer to with (semi-)tongue-in-cheek humor as “The Hated Music”, combines modern free-jazz’s ecstatic collectivist spirit and the urgency and intensity of hardcore punk.

29 January 2017

Before Nightfall #2 Tony Buck

MPavilion, Melbourne

Before Nightfall 2 with Tony Buck photo by Holimage

Tony Buck is regarded as one of Australia’s most creative and adventurous exports, with vast experience across the globe. As a drummer, percussionist, improviser, guitarist, video maker and producer, he has been involved in a highly diverse array of projects but is probably best known around the world as a member of the trio “The Necks”.

18 January 2017

Before Nightfall #1 Ingar Zach

The Substation, Newport

Before Nightfall 1 with Ignar Zach image by Ariele Monti

Ingar Zach (Norway) is one of the world’s leading improvising percussionists, known for his highly subtle and dynamic approach to instrumental performance. With Ivar Grydeland, he founded the record labels Sofa (2000) and Sillon (2007). He leads an international career as a solo performer and in permanent ensembles, including Dans les arbres and Mural (with Kim Myhr and Jim Denley). Zach is also involved in multiple collaborations and has shared the stage with many other instrumentalists such as Barry Guy, Evan Parker, Axel Dörner, Kevin Drumm, Susie Ibarra, Jaap Blonk, Annette Krebs, Andrea Neumann, Phil Minton, Jean Marc Montera, John Butcher, Mazen Kerbaj, Agustí Fernández, John Tilbury, Derek Bailey, Charlotte Hug, Bent Sørensen, and Esteban Algora. He can be heard on over 40 recordings, including his solo albums Percussion Music (Sofa) and IN (Kningdisk).


Before Nightfall would not have been possible without the support of the following people and organisations.

City of Melbourne
City of Darebin
City of Yarra
Grainger Museum
University of Melbourne


Before Nightfall 1 with Ingar Zach