Speak Percussion Emerging Artists Program

Supporting the creation of new works composed and performed by emerging artists

The Emerging Artists Program was a collaboration with Richard Barrett and Speak Percussion, as two weeks of lectures, workshops and rehearsals between the 14th to 25th of July 2014.


Artists were selected from a national call for participants while the mentors included members of SIAL Sound Studios, leading British composer / improviser Richard Barrett (Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble, FURT), local percussion virtuoso Peter Neville (Convener of Percussion, Australian National Academy of Music and Head of Percussion/Chair, New Music Studio, Melbourne Conservatorium Of Music) and Speak’s Artistic Director Eugene Ughetti.


The lectures and workshop topics included:

  • Why structure? The materials of music – Richard Barrett

  • An Introduction to Spatial Composition and Performance – Lawrence Harvey

  • The Big Picture – Eugene Ughetti

  • Diffusion Systems and Centres – Lawrence Harvey

  • Chamber Music projects with Richard Barrett & ELISION – Peter Neville

  • Running an Arts Organisation: how to make contemporary music projects happen from scratch – Eugene Ughetti

  • Radically idiomatic approaches to instruments and electronics – Richard Barrett

  • CONSTRUCTION part A – creation – Richard Barrett

  • CONSTRUCTION part B – presentation – Richard Barrett

  • Speak Percussion commissions: Australian works for percussion & electronics – Eugene Ughetti

  • Composing with Spatial Parameters – Lawrence Harvey

  • Contemporary Improvisation – Eugene Ughetti

  • Dynamic Geometries: spatialisation for CONSTRUCTION – Lawrence Harvey


The emerging composers each developed 2 new electro-acoustic percussion pieces – one using conventional notation, the other structured improvisation – under the guidance of Richard Barrett and the entire team of mentors. Barrett’s own compositional practice spans complex notational methods and structured improvisation, and varies from large scale orchestral works (BBC Symphony Orchestra) to chamber ensemble pieces (ELISION Ensemble). Lawrence Harvey and the SIAL Sound Studios team provided the composers with expert tutelage in live sound spatialisation and audio processing techniques. Composers also had the opportunity to direct their own rehearsals and receive one-on-one time with the mentors including expert advice about writing for percussion.


Participants also took part in a series of intensive workshops on group improvisational techniques led by Richard Barrett and Eugene Ughetti. The workshops focused on the creation of improvised works that move between highly structured and open-ended forms.


Participants also received instruction on the performance of complex notated music, with a focus on the music of Richard Barrett. Speak Percussion also presented a series of open-rehearsals of new pieces by Richard Barrett which were performed on Saturday 26 July. The 2014 Emerging Artist Program culminated in the recording and performance of six new electro-acoustic works by the emerging composers on 20 December 2014 in The Design Hub Multipurpose Room.

Richard Barrett
Lawrence Harvey
Eugene Ughetti
Peter Neville

14th to 25th July, 2014