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Michael Pignéguy (pronounced Pin-ay-gee) is a gifted drummer, composer, band-leader, arranger and producer. He performs and records alongside a variety of other skilled, international musicians as either The Awakenings Ensemble (World, Arabic, Latin & Jazz), The Michael Pignéguy Sextet / MPS (Jazz), or The Michael Pignéguy Quartet / MPQ (Jazz)
& other extended orchestral versions of the Jazz formats.
Born in Sydney, Michael began playing piano at age four and drums at nine, he knew early on that music would be the focus of his life. After studying at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) his interest in composition really flourished. After WAAPA he stayed in Perth and formed the Michael Pignéguy Quartet, which quite soon expanded to a sextet to offer him a broader palette as a composer.
His initial training in jazz and percussion at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts has had a prolonged influence on his writing, particularly from a harmonic and rhythmic standpoint. In the late 1990s many of Michael’s early compositions found a voice through the recordings of his group, the Michael Pignéguy Sextet, in particular on the group’s first two albums MPS Live and MPS Pure, featuring iconic Australia saxophonist Dale Barlow. The lead track on MPS Live, ‘Mi Maruca’, was included in Geoff Lowe’s critically acclaimed Jazz and Rock Resource book (McGraw Hill).
While Michael loves working as a composer, arranger or producer, he says the performance element of playing the drums remains closest to being his raison d’etre. It’s easy to hear why. Michael Pignéguy’s music has been performed around Australia as well as in the US, Asia, the Middle East and New Zealand. He is known for his ability to blend seemingly disparate influences and instruments into cohesive groups which result in exciting and dynamic works.
Michael has been commissioned regularly to write works such as Common Ground (Perth Jazz Society), Got the Funk and Cyberstorm (Tetrafide Percussion), When Worlds Collide (Western Australian Youth Orchestra) and, later, the CYO’Connor Jazz Suite(Perth International Jazz Festival for the Fremantle International Jazz Festival). This four-movement crossover composition for mixed jazz and classical ensemble, became a designated work in Jazz category by the Western Australian Curriculum Council in 2008.
Music for media became a regular part of Michael’s work from 2007 including for documentary: minimalist soundtrack for The Last Nazi Hunter (CNN, 2009), short films such as Once (2007) by Emirati director Nayla Al Khaja, Ajyal Film Festival (2013) and for Ido Fluk’s The Ticket (2016) as well as many other projects.
In 2018, Michael will premiere his works for the Awakenings Ensemble at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York in July.