“Be blessed Joey...
Your piece is very beautiful
as well as your playing.”
– Sergei Golovko
Joey Eng is a freelance percussionist and composer based in Perth, Western Australia.
He is an avid and passionate musician who seeks to create music that is both beautiful
As a soloist, Joey was a semi-finalist in the 2020 WAAPA Warana Concerto
Competition, a semi-finalist in the inaugural 2019 Marimbafest solo marimba
competition and was a performer for the 23rd Performing Arts Perspectives in 2019. A
multi-skilled percussionist and collaborator, Joey has performed in many orchestras
across Australia including the Perth Symphony Orchestra, Australian Youth Orchestra
NMC, WAAPA Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Youth Orchestra and the West
Coast Philharmonic Orchestra. As a chamber percussionist, Joey regularly performs with
the multi-award winning Defying Gravity Percussion Ensemble and has projects in the
works with Subito Percussion, of which he is a founding member. Highlights include the
performance of Steve Reich’s ‘Drumming’ with Defying Gravity in 2019.
As a composer, Joey was a semi-finalist in the 2020 WAAPA Symphony Orchestra
Composition Competition and has had multiple new works premiered by the Defying
Gravity Percussion Ensemble. Joey also regularly premieres new orchestral works and
solo and chamber percussion pieces through his Youtube channel, of which his
percussion pieces have been played by different percussionists around the world. As a
composer-performer, Joey was part of the four composers who wrote and performed the
music for the 2019 play ‘The Hope Fault;’ a world premiere of a new piece of Australian
theatre. Joey is also an adept arranger, as his arrangements of contemporary songs have
been played by the Perth Symphony Orchestra, the WAAPA Symphony Orchestra and
the Defying Gravity Percussion Ensemble.
Joey is currently studying a Bachelor of Music (Classical Performance) at the West
Australian Academy of Performing Arts under the tutelage of Tim White. Previous
teachers include Joel Bass, James Chong and Neville Talbot, and Joey has received
mentorship from world-renowned percussionists such as Ludwig Albert, Michael Askill,
Robert Cossom, Fiona Digney, Wei-Chen Lin, Rodrigo Marques, Robert Oetomo, Kana
Omori, and Lynn Vartan.
Workflow and Archiving
My compositional practice is most certainly one that comes from my performance background: all of my pieces, including my chamber and orchestral works, are improvisations that I’ve expanded. For ensemble works, I would usually create themes, ideas and harmonic progressions either at the piano or at my preferred instrument, the marimba. I would then go back to either a DAW or a score creation program and begin writing out the sound that I want. I generally tend to write large orchestral works in my DAW with orchestral sound plugins, which allows me to hear a more realistic audial realisation of my work than the realisation created by programs such as Sibelius or Musescore. I would then notate the piece in said programs later once I have a DAW realisation of my piece, allowing me to hear the exact sound I want that I’m writing. For my solo percussion pieces, I actually improvise around the idea so much until they become a piece. As a percussionist myself, by improvising and playing my own work, I know for sure that the piece is idiomatic for other players. Once I have decided on the piece’s structure and themes, I will practice the piece until I have it fully in my memory. I will then make a video and audio recording of the piece, which allows me to easily transcribe it into score form. In terms of studio workflow, I go into my recording sessions with the thought that I want a good take rather than a perfect take. Realistically, no take will ever be perfect, and a good take rather than a note-for-note accurate one will have a greater sense of character and story to the piece. To me, that is of the utmost importance in my music. In terms of the archiving and organisation of my pieces, I believe having an organised archive of my pieces allows me to find them quickly and improve my workflow. I archive my pieces into solo, chamber, or orchestral, and further into what the actual instrumentation of the solo/ensemble is. I prefer to keep every single draft of my music just in case an idea I scrapped early in my compositional process becomes desirable later on, which has happened before. This in turn takes up a lot of space on my computer, but I believe it to be the best way to maximise my efficiency in my composition of new works.