Louise Devenish

Louise Devenish


Louise Devenish – Soloist

Stuart James – Composer

Erin Coates – Visual Artist

Drawing audiences into the changing worlds below river surfaces, Alluvial Gold takes the histories, materials and ecology of metropolitan rivers as a point of departure. During the European settlement establishments and in the decades that followed, native shellfish reefs within Australian rivers were heavily dredged and ground up for mortar, roads and building materials in cities, particularly in areas used as ports or trading routes following European colonisation.

Using musical language derived from the sounds of the Derbarl Yerrigan (WA) river system, sculptural instruments modelled on dolphin bones and native oystershells, vibraphone, percussion and electronics, a mysterious world of floating sounds is created.

Glimpses of the changing world beneath the surface are projected via stunning underwater video and audio, saturating the performance space in both the sonic and the visual, offering an otherwise hidden perspective of what is below the surface. 

City of Melville, Whadjuk Noongar Working Party Group, Australian Research Council, Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries, Monash University. Co-presented by Tura New Music.

Dr Louise Devenish is a contemporary percussionist whose creative practice blends performance, collaboration and artistic research. As a soloist and with ensembles including acclaimed electroacoustic sextet Decibel and percussive studio-lab The Sound Collectors Lab, she develops new works exploring performance, notation and collaborative creativity, performing around Australasia, Europe, North America and UK, at festivals including MONA FOMA, Nagoya and Shanghai World Expos, Ojai Music Festival, Tage für Neue Musik, Darmstädter Ferienkurse, Perth Festival, and Tongyeong International Music Festival. Louise has commissioned over 50 works, and her performances are acknowledged for ‘interpretive flair and technical brilliance’. She has collaborated on internationally distributed recordings with ensembles including Decibel, Intercurrent, Speak Percussion and Synergy Percussion, released on Hat Art, Listen/Hear, Immediata, Innova and room40, as well as her debut album music for percussion and electronics on Tall Poppies.

Most recently, at the 2020 APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards, she won Performance of the Year Award for solo project Sheets of Sound, and the WA Luminary Award. Louise is a Churchill Fellow, Senior Research Fellow and Percussion Coordinator at Monash University, where she is undertaking a prestigious Australian Research Council Fellowship (DECRA) in artistic research, creating five new works with collaborators working across music, visual arts, digital arts and spatial design. Her writing on music focuses on music and gender, Australian music, and notation, and is published widely including her book Global Percussion Innovations:

The Australian Perspective(2019) and academic journals Contemporary Music Review, Tempo and Musicology Australia and Percussive Notes. Additionally, Louise regularly convenes and directs events designed to draw communities together through music making, including the annual Day of Percussion (est. 2012). In 2019 she convened the Gender Diversity in Music and Art conference. Previously, Louise founded and directed Piñata Percussion at The University of Western Australia, where she was Senior Lecturer and Chair of Percussion (2013-2019).

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