Volunteering at Musica Viva
Since the founding of Musica Viva Australia in 1945, volunteers have played an integral role in ensuring the company presents concerts of the highest possible standard. We are extremely grateful to our volunteers. We recognise the dedication and time spent in roles on committees, administration and providing specialty services. Here we meet volunteer Tomas Drevikosky.
How did you start your association with Musica Viva?
I suppose I was not the typical volunteer/subscriber, as I rarely went to Musica Viva concerts. My interest in chamber music, rather sketchy during my working life, only grew after I retired, as I had more time to practise, and I think it was Peter Bridgwood (another volunteer) who gave me a number to ring if I wanted to be a volunteer. This was over three years ago.
What type of music do you listen to?
I listen to whatever the ABC or 2MBS broadcast, but strangely I don’t often put on a CD. I suppose I would listen to more opera if I chose to spend more time listening. My collection is pretty conventional; I occasionally buy 20th century music, out of duty perhaps? But that doesn’t mean I listen to it much, alas.
Do you play any musical instruments?
Apart from childhood recorder lessons, and adult singing lessons, I have played the piano virtually all my life. Like Oscar Wilde’s Algernon, I play with wonderful expression – anyone can play accurately! It’s such a pity the wonderful expression is hard to recognise in the forest of mistakes. I am making an effort to be a bit more reliable. I notice that the pianists who get the best chamber music partners seem to play with remarkably little expression, but tend to play all the notes in the right order.
Do you do other work outside Musica Viva? What kind of work?
I have done quite a lot of work for the State Library, and still do one session a month as a Shakespeare Room host. I would like to do more translating, particularly fiction. I did quite a lot of that when I first retired, but the work needs to be chased, and I am too easily daunted by lack of success.
What kind of work do you do at Musica Viva?
Of course I stuff envelopes with everyone else (and I actually quite like doing it for short bursts). My continuing task however has been to help Peter Bridgwood with the project of scanning all the old programme notes to make them available to writers so they don’t have to start from scratch in the future. I correct the sometimes amusing, but usually tedious, errors made by the scanner, which has trouble with anything not English; composer’s names and tempo markings, for instance, and sometimes even has trouble with normal English! The best error was the mysterious reference to “Fauré’s hormonal changes” which turned out to be harmless “harmonic” changes! It is quite educational work, as I have to read about music I am often not familiar with, and sometimes this prompts me to listen to it. A case in point is Ravel (we are up to Shostakovich, alphabetically!). I found I knew far too little of his music, and I bought what turned out to be an excellent biography.
Why do you volunteer your time for Musica Viva?
Well, I suppose the work does make me feel vaguely useful, and I don’t spurn the free tickets! However, I have to echo what Peter said on his birthday – the office is a particularly congenial one, and people seem (mostly!) to put up with my eccentricities – some of the staff being pleasantly eccentric themselves, and the others sensible enough to realise that humouring is the least troublesome policy.