Alumnus Alex Timcke played percussion/timpani with AYO from 1984-1988 and participated in the 1988 international tour with Maestro Christoph Eschenbach. Alex plays timpani with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) and is also a tutor for AYO National Music Camp.
How did the 1988 AYO International Tour influence your music career?
At that point I was leaning towards throwing music away; the tour completely changed my mind. Maestro Eschenbach was the best musician I’d ever come across and it was so inspiring to hear our music get better and better.
Playing in those stunning concert halls gave me a sense of history and of being part of something so humanistic and international – e.g., whether German or Australian, music is something we all share. It was incredibly uplifting.
Once the Tour finished I stayed in Europe for a month to see more concerts, and then worked with timpani teacher Alan Cumberland in Brisbane. I was then offered the job with WASO, so in some ways the planets aligned.
What was so memorable about working with Maestro Eschenbach?
He was one of those rare, gifted musicians who simply knew how to help us perform the best music we could. Instead of concentrating on technical issues, for Maestro Eschenbach it was all about how he felt about the music at the time – e.g. we need to take time over this phrase, to enjoy it, etc.
As we travelled it also became obvious to me why he was held in such high esteem. It wasn’t only his musical talent, it was the way he treated people; he always had time to talk to people, sign autographs, etc. He’s a great human being.
Do you enjoy being a National Music Camp tutor?
It’s brilliant! It’s a nice synergy that I’m tutoring with a fellow Alumnus from the European tour, percussionist Robert Cossom. Tutoring is a tangible way to give something back and serve the future of music in this country.