Speak Percussion


Quasi Una Fantasia

A program of revolutionary works for the keyboard.

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Speak Percussion have spent the last decade rerouting, deconstructing and all together shattering preconceptions of what classical music can be. Now, with Quasi Una Fantasia (Almost A Fantasy), Speak set their sights firmly on the foundation point of the Western tradition itself: the keyboard. Toy pianos and music boxes are set alongside marimbas, harpsichords and mechanised electromagnetic pianos in a playful program that strays from arch-minimalism to works that overturn conventional notions of keyboard music.
Part conceptual exploration, part reverential tribute to the infinite possibilities of the keyboard, Quasi Una Fantasia showcases this most familiar of instruments in ways you’ve never heard before.


John Cage 4.33’
Helmut Lachenmann Guero for solo piano
Rohan Drape See hearer clearer for mechanical piano, percussion & electronics *
Iannis Xenakis Evryali for solo piano
Adam Simmons Pandora’s Box for eight music boxes and toy piano *
Chris Dench Permutation City for marimbas, vibraphone and crotales *
La Monte Young Piano Piece for David Tudor No. 1 for piano, hay and a bucket of water
Conlon Nancarrow Player Piano Studies (arr. Speak Percussion) for keyboard instruments
* World Premieres


Michael Kieran Harvey: Piano
Eugene Ughetti: Percussion
Matthias Schack-Arnott: Percussion
Peter Neville: Percussion

Past Performances

2012 Melbourne Festival. 6pm & 9pm Tuesday 23 October 2012, Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre



A large-scale project exploring automated percussion.

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Intimate performance installations and a collaborative community performance are presented free followed by the performance of a new massed automated percussion work by Artistic Director Eugene Ughetti. Robotic bass drums, prepared turntables and radio-controlled robotic-tappers will take the stage in this rare juxtaposition of diverse automated percussion languages


Director: Eugene Ughetti

Automated Percussion Artists: Ernie Althoff, Robbie Avenaim, Matt Gardiner, Adam Simmons and Graeme Leak

Speak Percussionists: Eugene Ughetti, Matthias Schack-Arnott and Matt Horsley

Emerging Artists:Jonathan Griffiths, Yvonne Lam, Rebecca Lloyd-Jones, Kaylie Melville, Anna Ng, Zela Papageorgiou and Hugh Tidy.

Past performances


Melbourne Melbourne Fringe Festival. The Substation, Saturday 29 September 2012. Presented by Speak Percussion and the Substation


Emerging Artist Program

National program for the next generation of percussionists and composers

Monday 23 April – Thursday 3 May 2012

Monday 24 September – Saturday 29 September 2012

The 2012 Speak Emerging Artists Program will provide the opportunity for 12 Australian emerging percussionists, aged between 18-28, to join forces in presenting two major projects alongside Speak Percussion.

Successful applicants will participate as performers and collaborators in John Luther Adam’s Inuksuit for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Metropolis New Music Festival, and in the AUTOMATION project, featuring some of Australia’s leaders in the field of robotic and automated percussion.

They will receive mentorship and perform alongside nationally and internationally recognised professionals from Speak Percussion, percussionists from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Kroumata (Sweden), Eighth Blackbird (USA), and the guest artists in the AUTOMATION project (Graeme Leak, Robbie Avenaim, Matt Gardiner, Ernie Althoff and Adam Simmons).

The program will be made up of rehearsals, professional development and performance activities as well as master-classes and lectures. The focus will be on developing an artist language, specialised performance techniques, collaboration and new music practice.

All successful applicants will be expected to participate in the Autumn program (23rd April – 3rd May) and will then be asked to submit a proposal in order to qualify for the Spring program (24th September – 29th September).


A performance-installation for one person at a time.

Chrysalis – SPOR Festival

Chrysalis explores the archetypal human emotions that are triggered by confined spaces. Percussionist Matthias Schack-Arnott has collaborated with Büro Architects to create a unique structure that is both a percussion instrument and an architectural micro-space. Alone and enclosed in complete darknesss, one person at a time experiences the work from inside the structure. Matthias uses falling grains of rice and sand to perform on the exterior walls, creating an immersive 10-minute composition that references live burial and pre-natal experience.


Concept, Composition, Performance: Matthias Schack-Arnott
Design: Büro Architects – Paul von Chrismar, Bronwyn Stocks & Scarlett Moloney
Construction: Adam Stewart

Lighting: Bronwyn Pringle

Past Performances


Melbourne Blindside Gallery, 23-27 May 2012. Presented by Next Wave Festival and Speak Percussion


Århus (Denmark) Spanien 19B, 9-12 May 2013. Presented by SPOR Festival




Music by Steve Reich

Speak works with Reich on two of his iconic percussion works.

8pm Monday 30 April 2012

Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre

Metropolis New Music Festival, presented by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Melbourne Recital Centre.

We will be performing Part 1 of the iconic minimalist work Drumming, which explores rhythmic phasing in hypnotic afro-inspired bongo grooves. Eugene will also be performing the duo Clapping Music with Steve Reich himself!


Reich - Clapping Music
Reich – Vermont Counterpoint
Reich – Different Trains
Reich – Drumming – Part One


Steve Reich
eighth blackbird
Members of the MSO
Eugene Ughetti
Speak Percussion – Eugene Ughetti, Matthias Schack-Arnott, Peter Neville & Leah Scholes


 For 9-99 percussionists.

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Inuksuit for 9-99 percussionists is a 21st Century American masterwork for percussion. This 80-minute masterwork was described by New York author and music critic Alex Ross as “…a sonic and scenic glory almost beyond description”. Elements of Inuit culture and Arctic spaces shape the rhythmic layers of the piece, creating a slowly shifting play of sound and space.


Members of the MSO
Eighth Blackbird (USA)
Speak Percussion & Speak Emerging Artsists
Kroumata (Sweden)

Past Performances


Melbourne Metropolis New Music Festival. University of Melbourne, 4:30pm Saturday 28 April 2012. Presented by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Recital Centre

The Box

A chamber opera for 3 percussionists, a soprano and a box.
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Presented by Chamber Made Opera, in association with Speak Percussion and Aphids

A new chamber opera composed by Fritz Hauser (Switzerland), who is renowned for his explorations of sound and space, in collaboration with architect Boa Baumann.

Three of Australia’s most innovative arts companies come together to present a new chamber opera by Switzerland’s Fritz Hauser in collaboration with architect Boa Baumann. With a libretto by Aphids Artistic Director Willoh S Weiland, THE BOX starts its life as a Living Room Opera in a 1955 Grounds, Romberg & Boyd House overlooking the steep banks of the Yarra River.

Hauser and Baumann’s collaborative partnership spans more than 20 years, during which time they have worked together on both performance and architectural projects. These have included SCHALLMACHINE with Aphids and Speak Percussion which took audiences literally underneath Federation Square for the 2006 Melbourne Festival; going on to perform in Basel’s Kaserne in 2007. They have designed houses, vineyards and even castles – Castel Burio in the Piedmont in Italy has been the subject of their architectural experiments since the 1970s. This extraordinary relationship is currently subject of a major retrospective at the Zug Kunsthaus in Switzerland, and is chronicled in an 80 page full colour publication.


Concept, Music, Space, Object: Fritz Hauser with Boa Baumann
Libretto: Willoh S. Weiland
Soprano: Deborah Kayser
Percussion: Eugene Ughetti, Matthias Schack-Arnott & Leah Scholes


Past Performances


6:30pm Saturday 17 March 2012
6:30pm Sunday 18 March 2012
6:30pm Wednesday 21 March 2012
6:30pm Thursday 22 March 2012
6:30pm Friday 23 March 2012
6:30pm Saturday 24 March 2012

Venue: A private living room in Kew


Nightclubs / Concerthalls

Concerthall pieces to underground club music.

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Speak tours a new program of works, from concerthall pieces to music inspired by underground genres. An all-Australian program of our finest composers for percussion, nightclubs/concerthalls reveals some of the hidden connections between electronic and acoustic music, pop and art music through a rich musical landscape of layered rhythms and shifting timbres.

Join Speak Percussion before the performance (Mildura and Castlemaine only) for a special workshop that dissects their performance nightclubs/concerthalls. They will draw connections between pop, electronic and art music through live performance examples, analysis and discussion.


Thomas Meadowcroft – The Great Knot (percussion trio and electronics)
Javier Alvarez – Temazcal (solo maracas and electronics)
Eugene Ughetti – Syncretism A (drumkit trio)
Terminal Sound System – City Jungle (percussion duo and electronics)
(arr. Speak Percussion)


Eugene Ughetti: Percussion
Matthias Schack-Arnott: Percussion
Leah Scholes: Percussion

Past Performances


Bendigo Old Fire Station, 8pm Sunday 4 March 2012. Presented by Undue Noise.

Mildura Evolution Bar, Thursday 8 March 2012. Presented by Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival

Frankston Frankston Arts Centre, 7.30pm Wednesday 14 March 2012. Presented by Speak Percussion, Frankston Arts Centre & New Music Network

Castlemaine Phee Broadway Theatre,  6pm Workshop & 7:30pm Performance, 9 June 2012. Presented by Speak Percussion, Punctum & New Music Network

Eltham Montsalvat, 4pm Sunday 10 June 2012. Presented by Speak Percussion, Montsalvat & New Music Network


INTERIOR DESIGN: Music for the Bionic Ear

interiorSix of Australia’s foremost experimental music composers have been commissioned to research and test new sounds and musical forms both in the lab and with cochlear implant users themselves.

These tests have resulted in unique new approaches to the composition and diffusion of musical ideas and sensations. The concert is designed to be enjoyed by both cochlear implant users and audiences with normal hearing.

There are over 1000 Bionic Ear users in Victoria today. For these people the Bionic Ear brings sound into a previously silent world, and for the most part allows them to converse with friends and family. However, listening to live music can be a difficult, or even annoying experience!

INTERIOR DESIGN: Music for the Bionic Ear aims to start addressing that problem. Prepare to be challenged by what you hear and be careful not to make assumptions about what others might experience!

Time & Venue

5:30pm & 8pm Sunday 13 February 2012
Fairfax Theatre, The Arts Centre Melbourne


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