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Sergei Golovko

Sergei Golovko is an acclaimed virtuoso soloist and performer, and a leading percussion pedagogue to countless established percussionists as well as younger generations of musicians.


Sergei born in Ukraine, Kharkiv, completed tertiary music training at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory majoring in conducting, and percussion performance at the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music under Professor Dmitry Lukyanov. Before migrating to Australia in 1996 Sergei worked as a regular soloist and musician with the Russian Orchestra of the Ostankino TV Company, Orchestra and Concert band of the Ministry of Defence of Russia, and with the ensemble ‘Theatre of Sounds’ directed by legendary Russian percussionist, professor of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory Mark Pekarsky. With the latter ensemble, Sergei performed works by pioneering 20thCentury Russian-Soviet composers including Edison Denisov, Alfred Schnittke, Sofia Gubaidulina, Vyacheslav Martinov and many others.


Sergei’s colourful interpretations of famous compositions, as well as his own compositions combined with master marimba technique, have attracted tremendous public appeal. Described as “dazzling…a man with helium hands” and his performances are “…percussion pyrotechnics” by music critic Michael Easton, Sergei’s own transcriptions and arrangements have been performed across Australia, including at the Sydney Opera House, and at Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne. Some of his most virtuosic arrangements and performances include Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2, and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, self-transcribed and performed for marimba and orchestra.

Sergei has toured throughout the world as a virtuoso soloist on xylophone and marimba, presenting solo recitals, playing as a soloist with the orchestras and wind bands at the Royal Albert Hall, London and the Wiener Musikverein, Austria, Kölner Philharmonie and Munich Philharmonic, Germany and many other major Concert venues in Europe and Asia. He is highly sought-after as a guest artist and pedagogue at esteemed Percussion Festivals throughout the world, with appearances in recent years at European festivals in Russia, Finland, France, Belgium, Germany, England, Austria and Italy; throughout China and Korea in Asia, in South America in Argentina and Colombia, as well as in his home country, Australia. Sergei is also in high demand as an adjudicator in percussion and marimba competitions throughout the world, including Colombian Percussion Competition, Australian Marimba Competition, Jeju International Percussion Competition in South Korea, Universal Marimba Competition in Belgium and others.

Locally, Sergei was the Artistic Director of the Australian Drummer’s Show Band (1998-2000), who notably performed at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympics in 2000. He has been Musical Director, as well as composer and conductor for the Australia Day performances at Melbourne’s iconic Federation Square and Sidney Myer Music Bowl, with audiences up to 10,000 people. He has performed regularly as a freelance musician with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, as guest soloist on ABC radio and television, and as a percussionist for theatre productions, soundtrack and commercial advertisement recordings.

In his hometown in Melbourne, Sergei is an established percussion pedagogue and teacher, which included teaching at the Victorian College of the Arts, the University of Melbourne (1997-2006). Many of his alumni have won Australian and International accolades, prizes and competitions, and are current members of Australia’s only national taiko ensemble ‘Taikoz’, Opera Australia Orchestra, and regular orchestral members of long-running musicals such as The Lion King and Les Misérables.


Sergei is currently the Founder and Director of the Australian Percussion Academy (APA) in Melbourne, which since 2010 has provided high quality education in percussion, drum-set and marimba performance, for students of all ages, underpinned by Sergei’s signature teaching methods, with strong focus on technique and precision. Through the Academy, Sergei regularly hosts workshops, master classes, conferences and professional development sessions for students as well as percussion teachers, sharing his educational approach throughout the community. With his international connections, Sergei’s students at the Australian Percussion Academy have performed for world-renowned percussionists such as Bill Bachman (USA), James Campbell (USA), Rodrigo Heringer (Brazil), Michael Burritt (USA),

Mark Sherman (USA), Master drummer David Jones (Australia), Arthur Lipner (USA), James Whiting (Australia/USA), Emmanuel Sejourne, Filippo Lattanzi, Ludwig Albert and many others. 


Sergei’s instructional percussion and marimba literature, arrangements, transcriptions, and his own compositions for solo marimba, percussion and ensembles are published through Edition Svitzer (Denmark), and through his own publishing company Blackeye Productions. His publications and compositions with Blackeye Productions span beginner through to advance and professional level repertoire, and his compositions are listed as set works in the Victorian Certificate of Education’s Music Performance – Percussion syllabus.


Sergei is also Founder and Artistic Director of the Australian Marimba Competition, which is recognised on the world stage as a major international competition for young marimbists. The competition is held annually in Melbourne since 2014, and adjudicators have included esteemed soloists Michael Burritt (USA), Wei-Chen Lin (Taiwan), Lynn Vartan (USA), Alejandro Ruiz (Colombia), Ludwig Albert (Belgium), Emmanuel Séjourné (France), Sylvie Reynaert (France), Filippo Lattanzi (Italy), Arthur Lipner (USA) and Australian leading soloists and percussion pedagogues Claire Edwardes, Robert Oetomo, Steve Falk, Jamie Adam, James Whiting and Peter Neville.


For many years, Sergei was appointed as an International Master Educator and Artist Endorser by Malletech (USA), and presented workshops, master classes and percussion clinics throughout the world. Sergei is currently Adams Marimba Artist, representing the interests of Adams Company (Holland) and GROVER (US) International Artist.

Photo by Joseph Darmenia

Thea Rossen

Thea Rossen is an exciting and dynamic percussionist. She is celebrated for her solo and chamber recitals and has attracted worldwide attention for her Music for our Changing Climate, a powerful performance exploring issues surrounding climate change developed with her ensemble the Ad Lib Collective throughout a residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Canada.

As a soloist and chamber musician, Thea was a fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival and a finalist for the Freedman Classical Music Fellowship in 2018. Thea has presented works at the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Metropolis Festival, Peninsula Summer Music Festival and was presented by Play On as a featured artist in their sixth series. She is also a casual member of the percussion sections of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria. Most recently, Thea presented the premiere of The Milk Carton Confessions at Extended Play Festival in Sydney, a new solo show written by composer Michael Sollis. 

As an educator Thea has written and facilitated shows and workshops for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Recital Centre and Art Play, she has guest lectured at the Melbourne University and tours regularly with Water Water Everywhere for Music Viva in Schools. 

During her time at the Australian National Academy of Music, Thea was awarded prizes for all of her solo recitals including Most Outstanding Performance and Best Program. Thea received her Bachelor of Music Degree with honours at the University of Western Australia studying with Dr Louise Devenish and Tim White.

Photo by Pia Johnson

Photo by Bryony Jackson

Hamish Upton

Hamish is a percussionist passionate about repertoire traversing a range of acoustic and electronic mediums. 

Hamish thrives on collaborating with chamber musicians, and is a percussionist in the BOLT ensemble. In 2019, he performed in Argonaut Ensemble at BIFEM, and he has played with Elision Ensemble, Speak Percussion and Ensemble Offspring.

In February 2018, Hamish launched Ossicle Duo with Benjamin Anderson (Bass Trombone). Ossicle Duo are Local Heroes at the Melbourne Recital Centre, and won the contemporary masters prize for their performance of Mauricio Kagel’s L’art Bruit.

Hamish is a member of Ad Lib Collective, working with fellow musicians on collaborative projects including educational outreach programs and performances. 

He holds a Bachelor of Music from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (Singapore) and a Master of Music Research from Queensland Griffith Conservatory of Music.

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