To have as many experiences as possible! And one day share those with others – I personally know how important music can be for life and happiness, and it's a perpetual goal to do my best to share that with others. Learning how is now the hard part.
How have your experiences with AYO helped you work towards your goals?
AYO, for me at least, provided an experience where professional and student musicians alike could perform for each other without the burdens of a commercial enterprise or a stuffy out-dated tradition. There was no reason to be on an AYO program except to share, discover and teach! Watching, emulating and interacting with my colleagues and mentors for the express purpose of music-making imparted more knowledge than I can describe. Years from now I will still be discovering how valuable these experiences were.
What are some of the best experiences that you’ve had with AYO?
All of it was memorable! But a few moments have really stuck with me, such as:
The second last concert of the 2013 international tour, our final performance of the Rite of Spring. Eschenbach's plane was delayed so we rehearsed half the work without conductor, and started the concert almost an hour late. Everyone was already exhausted but no one was going to let this last opportunity go to waste. The result was one of the most ferocious and intense performances which I don't think I'll ever surpass.
Performing the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde on camp 2013 with Bruno Weil. He was such a fabulous conductor, and with hardly any movement we were all wholly devoted to playing together and nothing else. I had never felt so connected to an orchestra before.
What are you up to now?
I'm currently living a double life, half spent furthering my studies on the Double Bass and doing casual work, and the other half progressing the arts company 'Musician Project' which I co-founded with my good friend and AYO alum Sam Torrens. We organise project orchestras comprised mostly of students, with a few professionals scattered amongst the ensemble to play rare/difficult works and manage to pack it all into a long weekend. It's been incredible to see how everyone rises to the challenge.
You very generously made a donation last year to the AYO – what motivated you to do this?
By that time I had spent 1/5 of my life being part of AYO (18 separate programs), and you learn very quickly how much of a struggle it can be for most of your friends to take part in these programs. I've been very lucky in my circumstances and it seemed the least I could do!
What tips would you give other musicians starting their careers?
The true joy in orchestral playing is working with your colleagues. The artistry isn't in your technique or personal concept for what you're playing, it's in your ability to interpret, follow and influence the people around you. The greatest experiences are the result of building a performance together. If you don't agree with your colleagues' interpretations then your job is to learn how to meet them in the middle. Flexibility, I think, is the single most important aspect for a musician. If only someone taught me that sooner!