Australian National University Percussion Studies
Percussion and Drums
The percussion students at the School of Music, Faculty of Arts hail from all points within Australia as well as Asia and New Zealand.
Studying percussion at the School of Music involves a total immersion into the full spectrum of percussion though an emphasis on developing the individual percussionist as a chamber and solo musician. Students study the full range of orchestral repertoire as well as cotemporary percussion ensemble, world music and current trends. The percussion program resides within the School of Music with purpose built facilities for practice and performance. The School of Music Library archives an extensive collection of solo and ensemble repertoire written exclusively for percussion. Students have full access to the latest technology in the research of percussion performance practice.
Students have full access to world class traditional western percussion instruments such as an Adams 5.0 octave Marimba, Adams Philharmonic Light Timpani with Super Kalfo skins, several smaller keyboard instruments including a wide variety of orchestral drums and accessories.
The percussion area includes a large ensemble room (big enough for Ionization!) and three specially designed practice rooms with double doors (each large enough for a percussion trio or quartet).
All equipment can move freely around the percussion area as well as a short distance from Llewellyn Hall, Canberra's premiere concert venue.
In addition to a complete range of traditional western percussion instruments, the percussion area is the custodian of a set of West African Ewe and Ashanti drums, a complete Javanese Gamelan and a collection of South Indian and Asian percussion instruments as well as a new set of Brazilian Samba instruments.
Gary France has conducted field research in India (1993), Indonesia (1994) Africa (1999) and Brazil (2007). He shares his enthusiam with students through the various World Music Ensembles he directs as well as the various special master schools and workshops that he convenes and conducts.
Electronic and Digital Percussion
Mr. France is currently the Lead Principal Investigator in the ANU New Media Laboratory (NML), a research team that explores the multifaceted relationships between digital technology and acoustic instruments. His most recent projects have included composing the sound design and music for the Australian premiere production of QED by Peter Parnell (West Wing), Video Phase by Steve Reich with performances at the Taiwan- Australia New Media Art Symposium (AUS 2006) and KOSA International Percussion Festival (USA 2006), collaborative composition and performance for the Southeast Asian segment of the Opening Ceremonies (15th Asian Games DOHA 2006), and the New Directions Music Festival (Singapore 2005).
- Specialists and Honours Students
Students may wish to focus on projects that utilize new media technologies as part of their degrees.
The Percussion New Media Laboratory includes equipment such as: MalletKats, DrumKats, Handsonics, SPDs samplers, a Moog Voyeger, Kurzweil and Yamaha Motif modules, Muse receptor AM, Roland V Drums 20K pro series, Mackie Boards and PA systems and a large array of other products that allow for the exploration between music and technology.
Percussion Chamber Music
The School of Music percussion ensemble “DRUMatiX” presents the rich and divers repertoire written exclusively for percussion. Numerous School of Music percussion students and ensembles regularly perform national broadcast for ABC Classic FM as well as many public performances in Australia and overseas. You will find ANU percussion graduates leading the way as members in both ABC and overseas orchestras performing in the worlds leading percussion ensembles, in the studio and in the pit.
In 2008 The ANU DRUMatiX Percussion Group will present DRUMMING by Steve Reich in a collaborative concert with NY based ensemble SO Percussion as part of the Canberra International Chamber Music Festival!