Matthew Barley/Cellist

Music is well said to be the speech of Angels.

Thomas Carlyle

Australian Spirit!

I’ve just finished a week as Guest Director of the Australian Youth Orchestra’s inaugural Chamber Music Camp, and it was a very memorable time. Also a busy time: I played my On The Road recital programme early in the week, and a bit of chamber music as well as teaching, impro classes, leadership sessions, and practice. There were six string quartets taking part in the camp, all learning lots of repertoire, practicing like crazy, aiming for the Saturday concert which was amazing: 5 hours of string quartets! But the great thing about the week was the spirit of the particpants – such enthusiasm, generosity and support for each other. I’ve always found Australia to be an easy place to work in terms of the general working vibe, and this experience underlined that impression. These guys really wanted to work, and to improve their game, learn new techniques and so on – it’s such a tonic to be surrounded by musicians who are so idealistic and eager. And the general culture here seems so ‘Can do’ and positive. It was the first of five funded years of Chamber Music Camps, and I’m sure that after these five years it will continue, making a significant impact on the Australian music scene.
Now I’m off travelling for a week before my residency at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne. Tomorrow I pick up a camper van and head off by road. 7 days of solitude in the outback. Solitude with just me, the koalas, the kangaroos, and the spiders, snakes, crocodiles. Hmmm….England seems so safe and comfy…..