Q and A
Can you tell us a bit about you, and what you are up to these days?
I am a viola player in the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. I'm also a founding member of the contemporary music quintet Topology. And I'm also a composer, having written many works for Topology over the past 25 years, and I'm currently writing a piece for QSO, to be played in 2024.
What was a highlight of your time in AYO programs?
Too many to name just one! The many fond memories all centre on playing lots of great music with great conductors and soloists, and meeting many other like-minded people with whom to share these rich experiences.
What skills, musical and otherwise, did you take away from your time at AYO?
A deeper understanding of how to negotiate and interpret orchestral repertoire, how to listen and be aware of everything that is happening, and a deeper appreciation of and love for great music.
What was your favourite piece or performance during your programs?
Many. Brahms' Second Symphony, Stravinsky's Firebird, Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, Beethoven's No.9, Eroica, Beethoven's Violin Concerto with Gidon Kremer...
Why do you think AYO is important to the Australian cultural landscape?
Because valuing and appreciating great orchestral music is vital for the health and strength of the Australian cultural landscape, and AYO plays a crucial part in nurturing and fostering this art form, and in ensuring that it is transmitted to future generations.
How would you describe AYO in three words?
Indispensable, stimulating, enriching.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about you or your time at AYO?
I feel immensely privileged and grateful to have been able to be a part of it.
What was one of the first pieces of music to inspire you?
What pieces would you share with people who want to discover more about orchestral music?
Mahler's symphonies, Brahms' symphonies, Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion, Celeste, Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony, Joseph Schwantner's Aftertones of Infinity, Paul Dean's Symphony No.1, Haydn's symphonies, Wagner's Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde, Strauss' tone poems, Bach's orchestral suites, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. And that's just scratching the surface!
Is there a piece of advice you received from a music teacher/mentor that has always stayed with you?
Work hard. Enjoy what you're doing.
How or why did you choose your instrument?
My parents made me do it. For which I am now immensely grateful!
What instrument would you play if you couldn’t play your primary instrument?
Which composer would you invite to a dinner party and why?
Beethoven; to talk about his late Piano Sonatas and Quartets. And Bach, to pick his brains about his counterpoint.
Where in the world would you most like to perform and why?
Any place where there is an appreciative audience who enjoys and is enriched by great music.
Would you rather: that you sounded like a tuba when you sneezed, or sounded like a piccolo when you laughed?
I would rather sound like a cement truck when I talk.