Call for Proposals

Transplanted Roots: Percussion Research Symposium

Borderless instruments: Journeys, stories, and adaptations of our sounding materials.


Dates: September 23-25, 2017

Place: Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.

Submission deadline: March 9th, 2017

Announcement of acceptance: May 1st (or before)

Due date for Conference Proceedings/Registration: August 1st


The Transplanted Roots: Percussion Research Symposium is designed to convene researchers and professionals working in the ever-changing field of contemporary percussion. The overall goal is to integrate and present written, oral, and performance research in percussion and construct a global picture of this quickly evolving discipline, with a fresh and critical view that escapes the dominance of the European-North American tradition. The format consists of paper presentations, lecture-recitals, and concert performances.


Transplanted Roots 2017 will focus on our very diverse instrumentarium – the objects that percussionists use to make music. Like many cultures around the world, some instruments have maintained their native tongue, others have become hybrids, and still others have lost links to their roots. Western percussion performance tends towards at attitude of neutralisation to the source of the instrument, but there are still many composers, interpreters and improvisers that are interested in developing a hybrid music that acknowledges cultural significance. Transplanted Roots 2017, hosted at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, will unpack ideas around intercultural music making, from the perspective of the instruments themselves; their journey, their stories, their musical roots, and their diverse applications in music of today.


The theme chosen for this symposium is Borderless Instruments: Journeys, stories, and adaptations of our sounding materials.

  •   Journeys looks at the adventure of the instrument through different music, and different cultures; multi-cultural, intercultural, cross-cultural percussive objects, music and performance.

  •   Stories looks at the line between fact and fiction; mythical, magical and factual accounts of the things we call percussion instruments – the name we attribute to objects, the cultural significance of the object, and the function of the object.

  •   Adaptations examines the changing form of the instrument, from culturally specific to globally available, new roles for old instruments.


This symposium is a chance to examine the instruments we play, and research their history – instruments that may have been separated from their cultural roots and relocated, or repurposed. Paper presentations, lecture-recitals and concert performances may address the following issues:


- How do composers/improvisers in 2017 regard percussion instruments and their cultural histories?


- How do performers acknowledge the performative histories of percussion instruments?


- What is retained and what is transformed in the border-crossing of sound-making objects?


- How have instruments crossed borders?


- What is culturally bound in an instrument?


- What was the journey of instrument x into another musical tradition?


The review committee welcomes any topic that relates to the conference theme: Borderless instruments? Journeys, stories, and adaptations of our sounding objects.


Transplanted Roots invites submissions for the 2017 percussion research symposium, to be held September 23-25 at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia.


Submissions are accepted in the following formats: paper presentation, lecture-recital, or concert performance. In each case, a maximum of 25 minutes is imposed, and concert performance submissions of 15 minutes are encouraged. All participants will need to register for the event, which will cover catering and entry to all activities.

Registration Fee: AU$200 for professionals ($150 earlybird); $100 for students, retirees, and observers.

Financial assistance: If the proposal is accepted, the symposium will provide letters of support to assist participants applying to their own funding agencies for registration, accommodation and travel costs. Limited bursaries may be made available.

Submissions must include the following information, in PDF format:

Name, institution and contact info of presenter (please list all names in case of group submissions)

Session type (paper, lecture recital, or performance)

Title of submission and abstract. If a paper: 250 word abstract. Lecture/Recital: 250 word abstract + stage set-up/instrument requirements. Performance: 250 word abstract + stage set-up/instrument requirements.

Biography of key artist/presenter (250 word)

Technical and instrument requirements (please note this section must be inclusive of all requirements. Please also note alternative solutions to maximize the inclusion of you submission due to possible limitations of the hosts technology and instrument inventory).

In the case of performance submissions, links to relevant media (YouTube, Vimeo, Soundcloud, etc.)


The deadline for submissions is March 9th, 2017. Results will be communicated by May 1st, 2015. Transplanted Roots is a peer-reviewed symposium. All submissions will be reviewed by two external reviewers in addition to symposium organizers.


Submissions should be sent to


Questions regarding submissions should be directed to


Please note, it is only possible to present at the conference if a fully written paper/abstract/program note is received by August 1st, and that conference registration has been payed. These papers/abstracts/program notes will then be printed as part of the conference preceedings.


Symposium conveners:

Vanessa Tomlinson (Griffith University, Australia),

Aiyun Huang (Macgill University, Canada),

Ross Karre (International Contemporary Ensemble),

Fabio Oliveira (Universidade Federal de Goiás - Brasil)

Steven Schick (University of California, San Diego)