AYO Chamber Players at the Musica Viva Festival
29 young musicians formed 5 string quartets and 3 piano trios to perform in 5 Rising Stars concerts and numerous public masterclasses and other events as part of AYO’s Chamber Players program. This program was an integral part of the Musica Viva Festival, with many audience members commenting how much they enjoyed the interaction between established and emerging artists. The Sydney Morning Herald published an article revealing more about the program, the students and their mentors.
Northern light goes off piste to stretch minds and strings
Adam Fulton Arts
April 26, 2011, Sydney Morning Herald
CROSS-COUNTRY skiing in northern Finland is how Pekka Kuusisto typically spends Easter.
But this year, the acclaimed Finnish violinist has forgone the ski fields to teach Australia’s rising talents of classical music.
Kuusisto, 34, and elite foreign ensembles have come to Sydney to perform concerts at the annual Musica Viva Festival, put on by the world’s biggest presenter of chamber music.
But over Easter the festival headliners turned tutors to instruct members of the Australian Youth Orchestra for concerts the younger players will perform at the festival, running Thursday to Sunday.
“I’m teaching from morning to night and rehearsing … every chance I get,” Kuusisto said brightly at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music yesterday during a break in classes for the 29 youth orchestra members, selected through national auditions.
The tutors at the chamber-music boot camp include the Hungarian-steeped Takacs Quartet, Austria’s Eggner Trio and Australia’s Goldner String Quartet.
Kuusisto sees special value in presenting such a diversity of ideas – even contradictory ones – to students to help them “find their own voices”.
A youth orchestra violinist, Glenn Christensen, of Brisbane, said he was hugely inspired by Kuusisto’s “fresh and exciting” style.
Kuusisto reflects the increasingly prevalent picture of young classical players with music interests far beyond the genre. He has won classical awards and directs a chamber music festival in Finland, but the enthusiastic improviser is as comfortable with jazz, folk or electronica as the composer Sibelius.
“The people who argue that it’s better you stick to one period, one composer, one style, I think life is becoming increasingly difficult for that kind of a personality,” Kuusisto said.
“It’s starting to be more about people playing with their own sound and their own emotions and their own vision [rather] than trying to imitate the famous person’s recordings. And I think that’s excellent.”
Kathryn Shinnick, 20, said players her age usually had broad tastes. The Perth violinist listened to a lot of jazz and folk as well as classical.
“You never know where your inspiration is going to come from,” she said. “It doesn’t necessarily come from watching a classical concert.”
Christensen, 21, said: “I think most people understand that you can’t just box yourself in.”