Double Bass | National Music Camp 1987-1989 & AYO 1988
Tim Dunin studied the double bass at the Canberra School of Music under the tutelage of Max McBride. Tim later left Australia and has forged a stellar career in Europe. Tim Dunin has been a Professor of Double Bass at the University of Music & Performing Arts in Graz, Austria since 2002. He has been a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera, Principal Bass of the Grazer Symphonic Orchestra, and has performed with the Vienna Chamber Ensemble among many others. He is also a member of the ensemble Bass Instinct.
Do you have a favourite memory from when you were an AYO musician?
Pretty much the whole 1988 tour of Europe (except for Budapest, I was cranky that day). Special relationships starting, others breaking up, the fascination of Europe, the joy of making great music with one another and all of that raw energy being unleashed on stage. Many of the good friends I made on that tour are still close friends now.
What is it like returning now as an AYO tutor?
It’s just as special as it was back then. I think the level of skill is different though which is amazing to see – it’s much higher, at least with the basses.
What’s your advice for musicians still at the start of their careers?
Cherish your musical experiences, such as AYO, so you never lose track of that energy. Also, as the legendary Gerhard Hetzel (deceased concertmaster of the Vienna Phil) said ‘a day consists of 24 hours; that’s 8 hours practice, 8 hours sleep and 8 hours free time’.
What is your all-time favourite piece of music and why?
Mahler Symphony No. 2. The first movement has the most thematic material for the basses than any other concert piece I know; you can really sink your teeth into it – it’s heavy and wild!
What is the most memorable concert experience from your career?
There are so many but the first that springs to mind would be Mahler 2 with Simon Rattle in Albert Hall at ‘The Proms’ (‘The Proms’ is always very, very special but combined with Mahler 2 and Simon made it a stand out!). Another is when the legendary Horst Stein had to yell at me to stop during a performance of Tanhäuser because I came in too early, with all my might, with a triple fortissimo open D tremolo. Then at the end of the Act he made his way through the orchestra to say to me ‘that was a good one!’
It seems even the most talented musicians make mistakes. Has anything else ever gone wrong during a performance?
Yes, when I knocked a wooden box of three pieces of rosin off the stand in one of the quietest moments of the Alpine Symphony with Seiji Ozawa conducting in Japan. The wooden box made a hell of a crash and the pieces of rosin went scattering off in all directions. They took a long time to stop rolling too!
What’s your ultimate goal as a musician?
I like the idea of giving something back and hopefully helping to make the AYO experience more available to young Australian talent.