Document Type



Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)




White, T., Askill, M. & Defying Gravity Percussion Ensemble. (2019). Alchemy. Australia: Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.


The outstanding musician described as an icon of Australian percussion took to the stage of the Richard Gill Auditorium with WAAPA’s award-winning percussion ensemble, Defying Gravity, for its concert, Alchemy.

“Michael Askill has been a pioneer and an inspiration for generations of Australian percussionists, as a performer, composer, educator and visionary,” says Tim White, WAAPA’s Coordinator of Classical Music and Music Director of Defying Gravity.

Askill has held the positions of Principal Timpanist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Percussionist of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He founded Synergy Percussion, Australia’s leading professional percussion ensemble, and was the driving force behind Synergy with Synergy, the first of many collaborations with the Sydney Dance Company.

Perth audiences had the exciting opportunity to see this master percussionist in action as he performed with 18 Defying Gravity members in Alchemy. Joining this huge percussion ensemble were student dancers from WAAPA’s Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA) course, adding movement to the musical magic on stage.

The Alchemy program featured several of Askill's own compositions including Fire, which he composed for the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games and was broadcast live around the world; and No Rest from the Dance, a mesmerising Middle-Eastern-flavoured work for drums.

Other works included Knee Play 5 by Philip Glass from his famous opera Einstein On The Beach; Astor Piazzola’s Tango Suite for two marimbas; Peter Sculthorpe’s How The Stars Were Made; Marc Mellits’ This Side of Twilight; Pavan Kumar Hari’s Where Does My Future Lie?; and Evan Chapman’s Honeybee 1820.

Additional Information

Performed at Richard Gill Auditorium, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Mount Lawley, Western Australia at 7.30pm on 2nd, 3rd and 4th May 2019 with a matinee performance at 2.00pm on 4th May 2019.

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