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15 June 2011

Speak Emerging Artists speak: Lionel Pierson

Lionel Pierson Image: Lionel Pierson  

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. For more blog articles by program participants, see the Resonate blog.

The second and final week of Speak Percussion's Emerging Artists program proved to be a very exciting and valuable learning experience. After having received and practised my percussion parts a couple weeks earlier, I arrived in Melbourne eager to hear how these new compositions would fit together logistically and musically.

James Paul was extremely kind to host me during my stay, and together we seized many opportunities to discuss musical, performance and compositional ideas. As it turned out, James and I were to work very closely on the premiere of his composition, with the work undergoing two major rewritings during that week. I must admit that while it was a bit daunting to have to relearn my part at very short notice, I felt a sense of pride and ownership as the work crystallised into a unique and beautiful soundscape through our collaboration. Eugene, Kaylie and Rory also contributed significantly to this crystallisation, and together I feel we successfully interpreted James's work. I certainly learned a lot through my collaboration with James, including the optimisation of notation and a new-found interest in electronic-based and electronically altered music.

Furthermore, my involvement with Micah and Owen's compositions offered very different challenges and rewards. Though ensemble communication and performance were common challenges, I found myself lost within a world of ever-changing sounds with Owen's Enso, while rhythmic complexity and structures were at the forefront of Micah's evolve theory. It was simply great to experience percussion performance from such widely different angles. And I feel that it is through fostering this extensive exploration of different angles that Speak Percussion's emerging artist program was most successful. Each and every one of the participants were able to widen their horizons as to how one explores percussion and stretch their perception as to how one hears sounds.

To me, the beauty of the program was that these learning experiences emerged not only from the work of Thomas Meadowcroft and members of Speak, but also directly from the participants through their collaboration. In a sense, I feel this reflects the program's extensive accomplishments, as such personal development came in addition to the highly successful new music concert we created at the end of the program.

I would like to thank all of the emerging artists, all members of Speak Percussion and Thomas for a truly unique and eye-opening experience. New music has never felt so alive and attractive as with this group of people. A new world has opened for my future career, and having completed this program I feel I am already connected and established for all future endeavours.

Read also: James Paul's blog article.

Further links

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

Subjects discussed by this article:

Lionel Pierson is currently studying at the University of Western Australia in Perth, and hopes to complete a double degree in music and engineering by 2014. Over recent years, he has been involved with the WA Youth Orchestra, WA Charity Orchestra, percussion ensemble Defying Gravity, vocal sextet 'Just After 5', nationally acclaimed barbershop ensembles such as quartet '3 men and a tenor', 'RefriDgerator' and national champion men's harmony chorus Vocal Evolution (of which Lionel is the current Assistant Music Director). Lionel has also been learning piano with Ross Bolleter since 2003, with a special interest in jazz piano, ruined piano improvisation and free improvisation.
In 2010/2011, Lionel participated in a new music emerging artist program hosted by Speak Percussion. Upon the completion of his studies, he hopes to travel to Europe to further expand his musical knowledge and gain perspective on European approaches to mechanical engineering.


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