Graeme Leak, music maker
height: 175cm

WELCOME

​I am a music performer, composer, leader and instrument maker from Australia, now based in Scotland more | biog | CV

PLAYING

SAVED, Scotland 2020
SAVED

SAVED is my new solo show built around retro-tech in which the mundane and the ordinary transform into a hypnotic and magical world. more >>

Spaghetti Western Orchestra

The Spaghetti Western Orchestra began as The Ennio Morricone Experience in Melbourne. It went on to international acclaim, touring the UK, Europe, the US, Asia and Australia .. more>>

Eco Opera

Eco Opera is a set of bespoke musical instrument sound installations by Graeme Leak that are ‘played’ by wind, rain and animals, located in deepest Stirlingshire, Scotland. more >>

LEADING

Raising the Roof, Melbourne 2012
Girgarre Junkestra

We made instruments and put on a grand show to open the SoundShell in 2018. In 2019 we played in Melbourne and in 2020 we appeared on national TV. more >>

Rhythm Orchestra

RHYTHM ORCHESTRA improves and hones skills in rhythm – pulse – meter – polyrhythm – odd time and more. more >>

East Neuk BIG PROJECT 2020
We were all set to make instruments from collected rubbish for a FANTASTIC PLASTIC BAND to lead the annual Sea Queen Parade in Fife. Sadly this event was cancelled due to Covid-19. more >>

MAKING

parts to make a thumb piano
String Cans

These unique one-string instruments allow beginners to play music together much more easily than ukes and guitars. more >>

Make and Play workshops

In a MAKE and PLAY workshop participants make an instrument then play it  in an ensemble. This can happen in a single session or over several sessions.​ more >>

Jingling Johnny
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra commissioned me to make this Jingling Johnny more >>

Polaris

For POLARIS I designed amplified tables for the actors to play. more >>

COMPOSING

feather & marmite ink pot, 2019
Spirit Rising

This unique work for the Girgarre Junkestra was mostly taught by ear. Find a video of the show and some sample score pages here.  more >>

The Exquisite Now

Commissioned by Museums Victoria in partnership with the Arts Learning Festival, The Exquisite Now premiered in May 2019. more >>

Music by Graeme Leak
Scores for sale in the gbay shop. Scroll down to the bottom for a complete list of works. more >>

Listen…

Apparently, as a toddler, I used to ask my parents if they could hear the music in the cars. Experiencing the environment as music provides an endless wellspring of inspiration that permeates all of my work. Whether performing, directing massed performances, building instruments and installations, leading a workshop or composing, I aim to open ears and eyes to the joy, beauty and power of music.

Excerpt from soundtrack to ‘The Corridor’, 2005 Dance-Music-Theatre work by David Wells, with music by GL. String cans, drum samples and tambourine.

A Jackdaw on the Amplified Fence, an Eco Opera instrument-installation, 2020

Music or Noise?

The difference between music and noise… says the 50’s American scientist on the Physics of Musical Sounds tape …is whether we like it or not. ​I am fascinated by how we judge sound as either pleasing or jarring to the ear and by the fact that over time we become more accepting of ‘jarring’ sounds. Beethoven’s audience stormed out of first performances of his works. Beatles fans were appalled at the newest releases. Today’s audiences are still appalled at Schoenberg 100 years after he re-wrote the rules of harmony. There is melody, harmony, dissonance, noise, discord, rhythm and myriad other musics playing all around us when we stop and listen.

Girgarre Junkestra string-can rehearsal 8 Feb 2018
String Cans: Des Crichton, Val Maudsley, John Warde and GL

Instruments

String Can, St Albans 2016

We need new acoustic instruments. Why is it that the saxophone (1840) is the last new instrument to have ‘made it’ into mainstream (Western) art music? The evolution of acoustic musical instruments, so active and continuous since the stone-age, has almost ground to a halt. Is this because electronics and computers have taken centre stage? Has the exploration of vibrating strings, skin, wood and columns of air been overshadowed by electronics and programming?

Fence and Triangle, Winton Town Fence Band 2003 
Fence: Pinky Mutton, Mary Pearce, Stephanie Greenwood, Rosie Archer, Rebecca Crap, Milton Taylor, Toni Wilmott, Barb Howard, Karen Stockham, Joan Evert
Triangle and Conductor: GL

Cinema took a body blow with the arrival of video but has bounced back with a new and robust relationship to digital technology. Instrument making is still suffering from the mass exodus from workshops to office chairs. It will recover and new instruments will be heard. It can be so simple, so beautiful, and mostly free!

MUSIC or NOISE? short audio work, 2005
ten-pin bowls, conduit whistles, amplified cactus and flying harmonica

RAISING the ROOF concert excerpt, Hamer Hall 2012, composed/arranged and conducted GL, featuring Chao Feng Chinese Orchestra, Drum Nation, Kew Band Melbourne, La Voce Della Luna, MASSIVE Hip Hop Choir, Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir, Melbourne Ukulele Kollective, Mesopotamia Group, SKIN Choir and the AUDIENCE.
MC: Julia Zemiro
CREATIVE PRODUCER: Patrick Cronin
STAGE DESIGNER: Darryl Cordell
CONCERT SOUND DESIGN and RECORDING ENGINEER: Jim Atkins
CHOREOGRAPHER: Bec Reid
LX DESIGN: Niklas Pajanti