About Niki Johnson & Hamish Upton

Hamish Upton and Niki Johnson are percussionists based in Australia. Hamish Upton works and lives in Naarm/Melbourne, and Niki Johnson works and lives on Gadigal Land/Sydney. This collaboration was born out of their long distance artistic collaboration as part of SPEAK Percussion’s Bespoke program. Upton and Johnson’s collaborative process examines the possibilities of communication and connection despite physical separation, in both the process of working with a remote collaborator, and as a key feature of composition and performance. Their composition ‘Navigating Distance and Closeness’ (NDAC) features multiple setups with custom built stands made by Upton and Johnson. Through spatialisation of instrument set ups, and an accompanying electronic track, NDAC explores the similarities and differences of the bamboo and ceramic instruments, and the gesture required to sound them.

Hamish Upton is a percussionist who thrives as a contemporary percussion collaborator and educator. Hamish Upton holds a Master of Music Research from Griffith University, where he explored the use of laptop-based sound technology as an enhancement to solo percussion playing. He moved to Melbourne in 2014, and spent three years at ANAM, receiving multiple awards for his curation and performance of contemporary art music. Prior to this, he was supported with full tuition and board to study at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory at the National University of Singapore.

Niki Johnson is a percussionist and composer-performer whose musical practice incorporates contemporary classical repertoire, improvisation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and performance art. Niki holds a Bachelor of Percussion Performance from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and is a current Master of Research student at Monash University. Her research explores percussionists’ collaborations with sculptors and designers, and the process of co-creating, and composing for new sculptural instruments.