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Michael Pignéguy : Associate Artist

Photo of Michael Pignéguy

Photo: Courtesy of No Black Tie, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Michael Pignéguy's music has been performed around Australia as well as in the US, Asia, the Middle East and New Zealand. He is known for his ability to blend seemingly disparate influences and instruments into cohesive groups which result in exciting and dynamic works.

His initial training in jazz and percussion at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts has had a prolonged influence on his writing, particularly from a harmonic and rhythmic standpoint. In the late 1990s many of Michael's early compositions found a voice through the recordings of his group, the Michael Pignéguy Sextet, in particular on the group's first two albums MPS Live and MPS Pure, featuring iconic Australia saxophonist Dale Barlow. The lead track on MPS Live, 'Mi Maruca', was included in Geoff Lowe's critically acclaimed Jazz and Rock Resource book (McGraw Hill).

Michael has been commissioned regularly to write works such as Common Ground (Perth Jazz Society), Got the Funk and Cyberstorm (Tetrafide Percussion), When Worlds Collide (Western Australian Youth Orchestra) and, later, the CYO'Connor Jazz Suite (Perth International Jazz Festival for the Fremantle International Jazz Festival). This four-movement crossover composition for mixed jazz and classical ensemble, became a designated work in Jazz category by the Western Australian Curriculum Council in 2008.

Michael was lead arranger and artistic director for the 'Jazz Meets Mozart' component of the 2006 Mozart Festival (Perth Concert Hall). Although his role was primarily arranger and coordinator, Michael did write a new work called Impressions of Amadeus (aka Visions of Vienna) for the 8-piece jazz quartet and string quartet format featuring Jamie Oehlers (tenor sax) and Paul Wright (violin). This later led to the commission of Lingua Franca by the E<n>A Band which sought to find a similar balance between instruments of different genres.

Collaborations such as ARG (Audio Response Group) vs MPS for Artrage (WA) in 1999 later led to the formation of the group Salamander by Michael with Peter Jeavons and Nathan Winterflood. Their debut album ADAPT brought together a large number instrumentalists, DJs and electronic artists and received critical acclaim in Australia.

His move to the Middle East in late 2006 saw him exposed to a range of Arab and Oriental genres with the formation of the Awakenings Ensemble in 2011 as the perfect vehicle for compositions which brought together elements jazz, world music and electronica. The group's first album Speak was recorded in Dubai, Doha, Perth and Melbourne featuring musicians from around the world highlighting compositions for instrumentalists such as cellist Hassan Moataz (Egypt) and ney flautist Yassine Ayari (Tunisia) and oud performer Bayan Rida (Syria).

Music for media became a regular part of Michael's work from 2007 including for documentary: minimalist soundtrack for The Last Nazi Hunter (CNN, 2009), short films such as Once (2007) by Emirati director Nayla Al Khaja, Ajyal Film Festival (2013) and for Ido Fluk's The Ticket (2016) as well as many other projects.

In 2018, Michael will premiere his works for the Awakenings Ensemble at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York in July.

Michael Pignéguy — current to March 2018