Matthew Barley/Cellist

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.

Victor Hugo

Back in Australia

It’s great to be back here. Somehow these trips are always extra exciting: being back here reminds me of the last time I was in Melbourne, 2 years ago, when I arrived in a mobile home after a 3,000-mile trip through the outback from Brisbane – fantastic! This time I’m here for a week at the Australian National Academy of Music, locally known as anam, and then some Elgar Concertos with Yan Pascal Tortelier and the Melbourne Symphony.Last year anam was controversially stripped of all its funding from the government, and faced closure until a huge international wave of pressure forced the government to reconsider, and it is now enjoying a well-deserved surge with the brilliant composer Brett Dean at its helm. I was truly delighted when Brett asked last year ‘could you just take the building over for a week?’. Er, Yes Mate! After a recital, a masterclass and a lecture, the highlight of the week is a performance with most of the students where we’ll occupy practically every space in the building playing improvisations and pieces we’ve devised during a week of workshops. The audience will roam around, then there’ll be a brief still point with everyone in the magnificent main hall, before we all process over to the bizarre and unique Butterfly Club, one of Melbourne’s hippest venues, opposite anam, for drinks, talks, and maybe a bit more entertainment. Australis has a very New-World-Yes feeling to it, where these kinds of projects can just happen….I feel at home here!


  • sheila johnson says:

    I heard you on the radio this morning and was really impressed. My son is doing vce music,is a brilliant guitarist [and ok pianist] he wants to do a music degree.I yelled at him to come and listen and he heard you play ,recognised some of it and loved it.He loves to improvise and has an amazing ear.I told him what you said about the history of improvisation and his face lit up.He played at a small country pub on saturday with his bandPhyllis and the Crab people[watch out for them!]anyway,he did a great impro with his friend Curt,who switched from guitar to sax,had trouble warming it up,and Dylan talked back and forth with him until he was in the right key and heading back to the song,it was fantastic!

  • Matthew says:

    Always nice to be responsible for someone’s face lighting up! Good luck to your son for his music.

  • Vanessa says:

    I heard your ‘Wandering’ lecture that you gave at ANAM on ABC Classic FM and was inspired! I love the diversity you have welcomed in your career and was fascinated by the work you did with the Kogi Indians. I was particularly touched to hear the positive way you talked about the injury you have had. I am a violinist, and teach also, and have had an injury in my hand that stops me from playing. So it was heartwarming to hear a musician of your calibre speak of life and music in such a balanced way! I enjoyed the recording you played also.

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