On the Couch with Matthias Schack-Arnott

Matthias oncWho is Matthias Schack-Arnott?
I’m a 26 year old musician who works within the fields of contemporary classic music and improvisation. I play percussion, in which I have a classical training, and a background in playing in orchestras. I’m now the Artistic Associate with Speak Percussion – a percussive arts organisation that creates innovative projects in collaboration with a range of leading Australian and international artists. I also create my own work, which explores the intersection percussive performance, design and ritual.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’m constantly trying to become a better musician and artist, which is an uphill battle!

Who inspires you and why?
The artistic community that I’m a part of in Melbourne – of course my musician friends but also the contemporary dance scene here, which is pretty incredible. I also get lots of inspiration from cinema – Tarkovsky, Von Trier, Bergman, Gasper Noe. And then about ten thousand musicians worldwide…

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I meditate daily, and am through this trying to cultivate a compassionate mode of existence, which affects every aspect of how I engage with the world – for the better, I think.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
India. The intensity of the place, with all its fascinating paradoxes.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
Well, I live in Melbourne, which is sometimes a little disappointing for a tourist. I might take them down the road to Wilson’s Prom, which is probably my favourite place in Victoria – I love its prehistoric quality.

What are you currently reading?
James Joyce’s Ulysses. It’s taken me 3 years to get half way through it through…

What are you currently listening to?
Samba Toure. Songhai blues from Mali.

Happiness is?
An organic mental ‘high’ that is always followed by its opposite.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m about to remount my solo piece, Fluvial at Arts House, Melbourne. A large-scale kinetic percussion work 8 metres in length that uses a massed objects suspended above a bed of granite and water. Come along!

Matthias Schack-Arnott is a Melbourne based percussive artist working in the areas of performance, composition and improvisation. At the age of 21, he was invited to be the Artistic Associate of Australia’s leading percussive arts organisation, Speak Percussion.

Matthias is also the founding member & co-director of two leading new music ensembles in Melbourne, Quiver Ensemble (2009-2014) and CATHEXIS (2013-present). His works include: Mapping the Interior, Chrysalis and Fluvial.

As a guest artist Matthias appears with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Malaysia Philharmonic Orchestra, ELISION Ensemble, Australian Art Orchestra, Synergy Percussion, Chamber Made Opera, Victoria Opera and Nick Tsiavos Ensemble.

Fluvial will be performed at Arts House – North Melbourne Town Hall from 13 – 17 May 2015. For more information, visit: www.artshouse.com.au for details.

Image: Matthias Schack-Arnott