Q and A
Can you tell us a bit about you, and what you are up to these days?
These days I’m lucky enough to be playing cor anglais in some of the world’s top orchestras like London Symphony Orchestra and Bayreuth Festival Orchestra.
What was a highlight of your time in AYO programs?
Camerata tour to Indonesia playing second oboe to the amazing Scott Marshall. We did Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony and a Marie-Joseph Canteloube trio for oboe, bassoon and clarinet. Later I played first oboe on tour to Montreal with Mahler and Shostakovich. Awesome times!
What skills, musical and otherwise, did you take away from your time at AYO?
Firstly, general orchestral experience. Later in my career I noticed that I was ahead of other European students in that area. And secondly, friendship. I made friends on those tours that have lasted all these years and I enjoy meeting up around the world.
What was your favourite piece or performance during your programs?
Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony – Indonesia Camerata tour.
Why do you think AYO is important to the Australian cultural landscape?
It’s national. You know if you get into AYO then your practice is paying off. And maybe, just maybe, you can make it on the world stage representing Australia.
How would you describe AYO in three words?
A lotta fun!
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about you or your time at AYO?
Even though I was tenured in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for five years, I feel guilty sometimes living and working overseas (I’m solo English Horn in the world’s oldest orchestra – The Royal Danish Orchestra). But then I think of all the times my Aussie accent cuts through whatever European language I’m speaking and I’m asked where I come from. That’s when I realise that the training I got from AYO is not wasted outside of Australia.
What was one of the first pieces of music to inspire you?
Ross Edwards – Maninyas Violin Concerto with Dean Olding.
What pieces would you share with people who want to discover more about orchestral music?
Peter Sculthorp’s Kakadu.
Is there a piece of advice you received from a music teacher/mentor that has always stayed with you?
Stop playing the clarinet and change to the oboe! True story.
How or why did you choose your instrument?
There were too many good clarinet players (Philip Archinstal) and the oboe plays too many semiquavers. Cor anglais suited me just fine.
What instrument would you play if you couldn’t play your primary instrument?
The cello. It looks like giving music a hug.
Where in the world would you most like to perform and why?
I got that wish just recently when I got to play Tristan and Isolde in Bayreuth on stage. Never thought I’d get the call… but I did.
Would you rather: that you sounded like a tuba when you sneezed, or sounded like a piccolo when you laughed?
Definitely a tuba sneeze.