Our orchestra is sounding phenomenal as they rehearse with Sir Mark Elder in preparation for our July Season concerts in Sydney and Melbourne. In between tutti, sectionals, and professional development, the musicians have gotten a chance to get to know each other better and explore the city of Melbourne. One of our exceptional trumpet players, Michael Olsen, gives us an insight into his experiences of July Season.
The AYO July season has been loads of fun, and has brought together over 100 young musicians from all over Australia to work on Mahler’s Sixth Symphony and Debussy’s La Mer. It seems we may have brought some chilly winter weather with us to Melbourne with temperatures dropping soon after our arrival, giving everyone an excuse to break out the winter coats and scarves for the week. As always, the best thing about programs such as these is the people. There is so much to learn from other players and it’s always fascinating to see how everyone works. It’s always great to catch up with old friends and to meet new people from all over the country. Everyone is always super friendly and are a great team of people to spend two weeks with.
Sir Mark Elder quickly set the vibe of the season in the first few rehearsals with his great balance of humour and humble nature! He knows exactly what he wants from the music and how to achieve it. He has been working with each section of the orchestra to shape the personality of the music and to help us fit together – perhaps also to practice his uncanny ability of learning names (no small feat for all of the players!). Of course the quick tutorial on the best way to talk to a herd of cows when entering a paddock deserves a special mention for the best anecdote so far this season.
Mahler’s Sixth Symphony is an exciting piece to play; the orchestration is complex and extremely well thought out, and the piece is massive in length as well as emotional content. The challenge of the work will be the complete journey from start to finish. The orchestra has spent lots of time working in sections and tutorials to really explore how the parts fit and it’s quickly coming together. The trumpet section has some fantastic parts to play, and will definitely keep all six of us on our toes right the way through! I feel the most exciting thing about playing in the orchestra is being part of a bigger team and the Mahler is a great example, requiring a massive orchestra, giving the piece a special feeling of grandeur.
This season has been a great opportunity, not only to learn from Sir Mark Elder, but also to learn and collaborate with other musicians. Whether it’s for auditions, practice or playing chamber works together just for fun, there is always a lot to be learnt from the other players.
The Debussy is a fantastic piece of music, both to play and listen to and it has all colours and allure that one would expect from the people renowned for fine wine – The French. It has become one of my favourite pieces at the moment and I’m certainly looking forward to performing it. It is just as majestic and grand as the Mahler but in a completely different style, so the pieces contrast each other perfectly. It will be great to put together all the hard work everyone has done this season at the concert this Friday at Hammer Hall and again on Sunday in the Sydney Opera House. We can’t wait!