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22 June 2011

Speak Emerging Artists speak: Chris Williams

Chris Williams Image: Chris Williams  

The participants in Speak Percussion's Emerging Artists Program write about the intense period of rehearsals and the final performances in Melbourne in April 2011. For their thoughts after the earlier 'creative development week' in December, please see this article on Resonate blog.

'Would you write for percussion again?' was the question my collaborator, the very talented Kaylie Melville, asked as we were waiting for Speak's Meadowcroft concert to begin.

What struck me was that, while it seems a very obvious question, I hadn't even felt the need to ask it of myself: 'of course.' The more I thought about it, the more emphatic this response became, until I realised that the prospect of writing for anything other than percussion started to seem a little dull in comparison. Far from diminishing my desire to write for other instrument types, however, the week imbued me with a new sense of sound and construction that was strong enough to transcend this instrumental scope. As well as exciting me about writing for percussion, it gave me a new way to consider other instruments and ensembles. It has become a real starting point for my compositional process, and given me a glimpse of an ideal environment for collaborative work. These are invaluable gifts, and stand testament to the strength of the program itself, as well as to Eugene Ughetti, Thomas Meadowcroft, Leah Scholes and Laura Holian, whose huge contributions cannot go without mention.

The impact of the weeks in Melbourne, and intervening months, continues to play on my mind, and provide me with insight. This is just one of the reasons I am confident that the impact of the course will be broader and longer than the intense but rewarding time we spent in the rehearsal room this April.

As Thomas's concert began, I found myself listening, as if for the first time, and was overwhelmed by the power and beauty of the sound. I will write for percussion again, but I will also take the spirit of percussion music, and the approach of Speak Percussion and try to bring that to everything I do.

Further links

'Speak Percussion's emerging artists speak for themselves' - Resonate blog (22 December 2010)
Speak Emerging Artists Program (Speak Percussion website)

Chris Williams is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and an associate artist at the Australian Music Centre. In 2011 he is taking up a position at the university of Oxford to complete his MPhil in Music.


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