Nunique Quartet

a Melbourne based music ensemble that combines sound with visual media in live performance



Four leading Australian musicians take sound to another level with improvised and scored works that create a colourful and dynamic experience for the listener. Formed in 2015, the group perform regularly in Melbourne including at the Loop Bar, Conduit Arts and at the Make It Up Club.

Exciting things are in the pipeline—stay tuned!


NEXT PERFORMANCE

Saturday 21st January 2017 9:15pm
Tilde New Music Festival
Testing Grounds
City Rd, Southbank, Melbourne
more info and tickets



Brigid Burke
clarinet | visuals | electronics | live video

Brigid is an Australian composer, performance artist, clarinet soloist, visual artist, video artist and educator. Her creative practice explores the use of acoustic sound and technology to enable media performances and installations rich in aural and visual nuance. Her work is widely presented in concerts, festivals and radio broadcasts throughout Australia, Asia, Europe and the USA. Recent appearances have been at Federation Square in Melbourne, Tilde Festival, for ABC Classic FM and at the International Media Festival at the Trafačka Arena in Prague. The Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council, Japanese Printing Corporation, South Australian Government, Australian Asian Foundation, as well as many community arts centres and universities have supported Brigid in her performances, compositions and artwork. She has a PhD in Composition from UTAS and a Master of Music in Composition from the University of Melbourne.

more info


Steve Falk
percussion | marimba | electronic drums

Possessing an interest in music of all genres and origins, Steve embraces the process of creating new works with artists of varied disciplines and traditions. In addition to his work with contemporary classical music ensembles such as Speak Percussion, Chamber Made Opera and the Bolt Ensemble, he performs often with leading contemporary improvisers both within Australia and in Japan. Steve studied at the Victorian College of the Arts, Queensland Conservatorium of Music and later with the assistance of the The Seed Fund, at Toho Gakuen College of Music (Tokyo) where he studied marimba with the renowned soloist and composer Keiko Abe. Steve has played percussion with the Melbourne, Queensland and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Orchestra Victoria and Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa (Japan). As musical director of the popular Australian dance show "Tap Dogs", he toured New Zealand, Japan, China, Korea and India. In 2013, Steve completed a new work for solo marimba entitled “A Long Way Home” and was commissioned by Museum Victoria to write for the Federation Bells. Steve is based in Melbourne and work as a sessional percussion teacher at The University of Melbourne and Monash University.

more info


Megan Kenny
flute | recorder | visuals
 
Megan has a diverse career in music since her early beginnings at age four on piano. Her journey in wind playing began with recorder at age five and then flute at age eleven, before studying with Louise Dellit at the University of Adelaide and graduating with a Bachelor of Music. As an orchestral musician she performed with the Australian Youth Orchestra on their 1988 world tour has worked as a guest with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. She is equally at home in bands and recording studios, including for ABC radio and television and composing for film. She has recorded flute on over 40 recordings and has written and co-written music for the flute and harp duet “Clair de Lune” and band “Light of the Moon”. She leads music workshops and meditations at schools and centres in Melbourne and her recently recorded solo CD “Earth Angel” includes music suited for meditation. She plays concert flute, piccolo, alto flute, recorders, bansuri and piano.


Charles MacInnes
trombone | live electronics | sound design

Charles was awarded the position of principal bass trombone with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra in Sydney in 1985 at the age of nineteen. Four years later he moved to Germany to further his studies with Prof. Joachim Mittelacher at the Hamburg Hochschule für Musik und Theater. After working for two seasons as Praktikant with the Hamburg Staatsoper, he played for eight years as a guest with the North German Radio (NDR) Big Band. Since returning to Australia in 2000, he has performed with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian Art Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music and as a studio and theatre musician. Charles has lectured at the Victorian College of the Arts, Monash University, Australian National University and The University of Melbourne (including two years as Head of Brass). He has a Masters in Composition from the University of Melbourne and is currently undertaking a PhD at Monash University researching improvisation in new music. He has composed music for Melbourne Chamber Choir, violinist Sarah Curro, pianist Michael Kieran Harvey, Australian Brass Quintet, Syzygy Ensemble as well as working as a sound designer for animators, short film makers, and installation artists. He is co-director of the Monash New Music Ensemble and over the past decade has presented hundreds of creative music workshops for young people.

more info

the name

“Nuniques” was a large scale series of works that Keith Humble created in Melbourne in the 1960s that placed an “emphasis on the practical, the immediate, on music being made (even composed) for the audience here and now, on the spot” (from John Whiteoak’s Playing Ad Lib: Improvisatory Music in Australia 1836-1970). The works freely combined concepts, systems, designs, performance talent, recorded sound, technology, music or text, however the improvisational freedom was always within a tightly directed framework.

"I think of composition as being a process, and exchange of concepts, and an exchange of ideas - you can see we're already talking about improvisation. Improvisation is really composition", says Humble (from John Whiteoak’s “Interview with Keith Humble.” NMA Magazine 7, 1989)


new compositions

As well as being fluent and experienced reading musicians across an array of styles, each of quartet member is a composer in their own right. We contribute to the development of new works by working with and commissioning local composers to write for our group.

improvisation

As Humble says above, the line between composition and improvisation is not always clear. In rehearsals we sometimes find ourselves partially planning the improvised material. This might include agreeing on structural signposts or working out duos or other sub-groupings, specific colours, or who begins which section. These are the sorts of things composers do, and these constraints act as scaffolding that allows energetic and easy spontaneous playing.

We are collecting quotes to help define what improvisation is

“I dwell in Possibility”
— Emily Dickinson

“Through spontaneity we are re-formed into ourselves.”
― Viola Spolin, Improvisation for the Theater

“Creativity stems from conscious access to underlying, unconscious forces.”
— Eric R. Kandel, The Age of Insight

“A poem freed from the apparatus of the scribe.”
— Mallarmé

“You cannot create results. You can only create conditions in which something might happen.”
— Anne Bogart, A Director Prepares
“Improvisation is working your way out of a trap”
— Stuart Grant, Director - Graduate Program in Theatre Performance and Music (Monash University)
“When meditation and execution are directly bound up with one another”
— Johan Petri quoted in Derek Bailey’s Improvisation: its nature and practice in music
“The exploration of occasion”
— Peter Riley (poet) quoted in Derek Bailey’s Improvisation: its nature and practice in music

“Art of thinking and performing at the same time”
Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition from 1927

“There is scarcely a single field in music that has remained unaffected by improvisation, scarcely a single musical technique or form of composition that did not originate in improvisatory practice.”
— Ernst Ferand
sound design

The electronic components of Nunique Quartet take many forms:

• triggering pre-recorded material
• designing and using Max patches for specific textures
• live effects processing
• acoustic instruments controlling software instruments
• sampling and looping in realtime
• triggering electronic percussion pads
• attaching contact microphones to the inside of instruments

These additional sound possibilities are like extra ensemble members who increase the range of colours available to us.

We try to record everything we do and often turn to the recorded material as the basis for new visual or audio works.

visuals

We create our own visual material from many sources:

video (including real time video mixing)
print making
pen and ink drawings
mosaic
glass, painting
crayons on different surfaces
water footage
digital animation
retouched and processed scores
edited and re-imagined vintage footage