On the evening of 14 April, the Australian Youth Orchestra will fill Perth Concert Hall with the delicate string textures of the Adagietto movement from Mahler’s Symphony No.5 and Shostakovich’s thunderous Symphony No.10.
We turned the mic onto the young musicians in the orchestra to get a sense of how they were feeling ahead of this exciting return to the west coast!
The Australian Youth Orchestra will be led by Norwegian conductor Eivind Aadland. Aadland has been based in Australia in recent years: he is currently Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
Harpist Paul Nicolaou singles out the opportunity to work with a range of international and Australian conductors as a major upside of AYO programs: ‘I’ve worked with a number of different conductors in my life, but I have learnt something from every single one of them. The experience of working with a new conductor always encourages me to think and reflect, be it on music, on the audience, or on life itself. I have no way of predicting what I will learn, but I’m excited for whatever it may be!’
Beverly Kwan, a Sydney-based violinist, notes it will be interesting to see how Aadland interprets Mahler. Flautist Anna Rabinowicz also points to working with Aadland as a something she is looking forward to, as well as ‘getting to perform in one of the best halls in the country’.
We couldn’t possibly interview young musicians without asking them the burning question: out of the two iconic composers programmed in the concert, who would they rather sit next to at a dinner party?
Judging by the results, poor Mahler might have to hang out in the corner… There was a landslide vote for Shostakovich to be the party guest of honour.
‘While much of his music is incredibly serious and solemn, he also had a great sense of humour and was not afraid of having many outright tongue-in-cheek moments in his music. I think he’d be a hilarious guest at a dinner party,’ trombonist Jeremy Mazurek asserts.
Jamie Miles, a Melbourne-based violist, has a more contemplative reason to sit next to the composer: ‘His story of perseverance, hope and artistic integrity under state suppression is one that I’d have to hear. It would also help interpret the weight and pathos of his writing. Any possibility of being next to Mahler as well, though?’
Flautist Jessica Scott’s answer was guided by one of her instruments: ‘I absolutely adore [Shostakovich’s] writing for the piccolo and would start off by thanking him on behalf of piccolo players everywhere… for writing so beautifully for this (often ignored) instrument!’
However, Jude Macarther singles out Mahler, despite loving the music of both composers. The Blue Mountains-based trumpet player figures it would be an absorbing conversation: ‘Prying his mind would be amazing – talk about a deep chat!’
Many of the musicians in the orchestra have taken part in multiple AYO programs. So what keeps them coming back?
‘AYO programs are a beautiful microcosm of passion and talent,’ Paul reflects. ‘When you combine that with everyone living together and spending practically every minute of every day with each other, it creates these unbreakable bonds. You go on these emotional roller coasters together, from the joys and excitement to the exhaustion and bittersweet endings.’
Beverly describes AYO programs as ‘all-rounded educational experience and a social one – you get to meet musicians from all over Australia. The sectional tutorials are super helpful, and you can apply the things you learn to other pieces too, not only the AYO repertoire.’
‘The passion and energy brought to every note is something that inspires me to keep auditioning every year.’ Jamie adds.
AYO’s national reach is something Jude doesn’t take for granted. ‘Everyone comes from all over the country, and everyone is connected by this love for music. It’s really special.’
‘Hearing people you don’t normally have anything to do with play their instruments really opens your perspective,’ percussionist Buddy Lovett notes.
As the musicians prepare to tackle these vivacious pieces of repertoire, Jessica reflects that ‘every piece holds a different challenge to the players. I’m excited to learn how to adapt very quickly to these challenges within a short frame of time.’
Experience the exhilarating energy of the Australian Youth Orchestra when they perform Shostakovich’s Symphony No.10 under the baton of Eivind Aadland.
Australian Youth Orchestra in Concert
14 April 7:30pm AWST
Perth Concert Hall
For audiences outside Perth, the concert will be available to stream live and on-demand for free!
Australian Youth Orchestra in Concert
14 April 7:30pm AWST, 9:30pm AEST
Australian Digital Concert Hall