Krista Tanuwibawa is a marketer in the performing arts. She finds magic in connecting musicians with their audience, and listeners with the music they love. She currently works at City Recital Hall in Sydney, where she has worked on campaigns including the new music festival Extended Play and public engagement activities such as Sydney Flash Mob Choir. Krista is also currently pursuing a Masters degree in Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney.
Q: What made you decide that you wanted a life in music? Was there a particular moment (an epiphany, if you like) that led you to this decision, or was the process more gradual?
A: I used to spend a lot of my spare time on the piano and got to a point where I wanted to play for whole days without interruption, either practicing technique or just inventing. I was also becoming acutely aware of how I was engaging with music outside of playing my instrument at home, and realised it was an ecology that I could participate in as a musician.
At the same time, I knew you had to have entrepreneurial skills under your belt to make it as a creative. I studied a double major in music and marketing, where I saw how few opportunities there were for emerging musicians to have their work presented. I wanted to make it my mission to help musicians get their music heard and create the space to do that.
Q: What sort of working life in the profession are you aiming for? Do you have a picture of what you’d like to be doing in the short term? And beyond that? Has the pandemic affected the decisions you’ve made?
A: I hope it’ll be a colourful career! My current job is kind of a dream job in that I can help engage people so directly with live music but, working for a venue, the pandemic has made it a real test of patience and creativity. It’s given me a hard kick to sharpen up on my critical listening and writing skills and to remember to 🌈 diversify 🌈 if I want to stay in the music world.
Beyond that, I’m making an effort to study about cultural policy in Australia. I’m interested in understanding and dismantling the systemic barriers that exist in the industry, like access to live music (especially in the classical sphere), diversity in artistic programming and how we can create innovative solutions to these issues at either an organisational or a policy level.
Q: Can you tell me about one of your favourite classical pieces, in your capacities as performer and/or listener? Can you tell me why you love this music so much? (You’re allowed to choose more than one piece!)
A: I only recently saw Konstantin Shamray play Schnittke’s Concerto for Piano and Strings with the ANAM Orchestra, and it’s now up there among my favourites. It’s a real testament to how mind-blowing that performance was, but the music itself is outrageous. It’s bold. It’s unapologetic. It’s a one-movement piece about half an hour long and it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. That very rarely happens.
Q: What kind of role do you think the virtual space will play in the world of professional music-making in the next few years?
A: In the classical line of music practice, the virtual space can offer something to fill in the gaps when those gaps need to be filled, but it’s an essential tool in a world where musicians can’t play together, let alone to a live audience. As an industry, I believe we’re still exploring a lot of untapped possibilities in the space, and how to optimise the ideal virtual performance experience on both sides of the screen. (At least we wouldn’t have to hear all the coughs between movements?)
In a broader sense, the virtual space has been around for music-making for a long time and historically, changes in technology always have an impact on the music we make. In a few years’ time, the music at our concert halls might sound different. That’s something to look forward to.
Krista Tanuwibawa is an alumnus of the Words About Music program, AYO National Music Camp 2021.