damien-thomson-mbbs-fracp

About

Q&A

Question: Can you tell us a bit about you, and what you are up to these days?

Answer I am a retired consultant Medical Oncologist still playing viola in Brisbane Symphony Orchestra, Australian Doctor's Orchestra and World Doctor's Orchestra.

Question: What was a highlight of your time in AYO programs?

Answer First international tour to Japan and Philippines in 1970.

Question: What skills, musical and otherwise, did you take away from your time at AYO?

Answer Solid orchestral and chamber music skills allowing part time work with ASO as a medical student.

Question: What was your favourite piece or performance during your programs?

Answer Brahms' Symphony No.2, performed in Brisbane in 1971.

Question: Why do you think AYO is important to the Australian cultural landscape?

Answer It provides a very stimulating environment for upcoming classical musicians. It could not be better!

Question: How would you describe AYO in three words?

Answer Inspirational, leading, future-proofing.

Question: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about you or your time at AYO?

Answer I developed a great number of friends played with some inspirational young colleagues.

Question: What was one of the first pieces of music to inspire you?

Answer Bach Brandenberg No.2 as a young child.

Question: What pieces would you share with people who want to discover more about orchestral music?

Answer Bach's Orchestral Suites No.3 and 4, Mozart's Symphonia Concertante for violin and viola, Brahms' Symphony No.3, Berlioz's <i>Symphonie Fantastique</i>.

Question: Is there a piece of advice you received from a music teacher/mentor that has always stayed with you?

Answer Fill the bars in Brahms chamber music (James Whitehead); a piano trio is really a quartet for violin cello and right and left hands piano (Nancy Weir).

Question: How or why did you choose your instrument?

Answer A physicist staying at my parents’ house said I will teach you the violin. I was given a viola as part of a violin scholarship and incidentally added viola to violin for second NMC, the I was never allowed to play violin again!

Question: What instrument would you play if you couldn’t play your primary instrument?

Answer Violin or French horn.

Question: Which composer would you invite to a dinner party and why?

Answer Mozart, because he would be outrageously entertaining.

Question: Where in the world would you most like to perform and why?

Answer Sydney Opera House, as AYO missed opening it in early 1973 because of delays in completion.

Question: Would you rather: that you sounded like a tuba when you sneezed, or sounded like a piccolo when you laughed?

Answer Tuba.

Question: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Answer Probably the best aspects of my teenage and early twenties years were within AYO National Music Camp and AYO. Music and medicine are a powerful combination.