Hamish Upton is a percussionist who thrives as a collaborator, champion of contemporary music, and educator. He holds a Master of Music Research from Griffith University, where he used four case studies to explore 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. During his four-year course in Singapore, he spent two weeks in Bali immersed in Gamelan, and travelled abroad for a semester on exchange at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (U.S.A).
In 2015, Hamish was a performer in Semaphore, Kate Neal’s APRA award winning interdisciplinary work premiered at Arts House North Melbourne. He has worked with leading contemporary music groups including Ensemble Offspring, Speak Percussion, the BOLT ensemble, and Elision, and was a performer at BIFEM in 2016, 2017 and 2019. In February 2018, Hamish launched Ossicle Duo with Benjamin Anderson (Bass Trombone). Ossicle Duo won the contemporary masters prize for their performance of Mauricio Kagel’s L’art Bruit in 2019 and they are 2020 Local Heroes at the Melbourne Recital Centre. Hamish is a member of Ad Lib Collective, working with fellow musicians on collaborative educational outreach programs and performances. Ad Lib Collective also collaborate with Sleep D, a Melbourne-based electronic music duo, and the two groups performed an extended improvised set as part of the Play On Series in 2019.
In 2017, Hamish received Australia Council for the Arts funding for the project titled ROTOR ASSEMBLY MENTORSHIP. Through this grant, Hamish received tailored mentorship from leading Australian Sound Artist James Hullick to guide him through aspects of transitioning from studying at an institution into the Australian art-music world. He also premiered a longform work with Hullick in 2018 at the Melbourne Recital Centre, titled MOUNTAIN BLACK/TURBINE SKY, incorporating percussion instruments and vocals.
Hamish works as a drum and percussion teacher at the Presbyterian Ladies’ College and teaches at the Australian Percussion Academy.