Over the past forty-five years, contemporary percussion has taken up an increasingly prominent role in Australian music performance and composition. Since it first emerged in Australia in the early 1970s, a relatively rapid period of development has seen percussion become established as a stylistically diverse and continually evolving discipline. Percussion music, once existing at the fringes of Australian contemporary music, now occupies a place at the forefront of Australian contemporary music activity. Very limited research into this percussion activity has been undertaken during this time, thus this study fills a gap in Australian musical history by exploring how and why percussion activity emerged during the 1970s. The historical contexts that encouraged the formation of professional percussion ensembles will be the focus of this thesis, with an emphasis on significant performers, percussion ensembles, educators and events in the field that affected change. Documentation of the activities of a number of professional percussion ensembles active in Australia between 1970 and 2000, including the Australian Percussion Ensemble, Synergy Percussion, Adelaide Percussions and Nova Ensemble, is supported with repertoire lists of Australian commissions for these ensembles. The thesis concludes with an examination of various influences present in Australian contemporary percussion music. It is hoped that this study will go some way towards an understanding of the genre’s origin and identity in Australia and will consequently inform the platform from which new Australian contemporary percussion work is created.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2015|