We can’t wait until we’re all back together again at Perth Concert Hall experiencing the exhilarating feeling that only a live performance can bring. This week we asked three of our musicians to share their favourite moments on stage.
John Keene, Associate Principal Double Bass
Favourite WASO moments
- Mark Wigglesworth conducting Elgar 1 and Mozart Clarinet Concerto with Andreas Ottensamer.
- Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider playing Elgar Violin Concerto with Asher conducting and Brahms 2.
- WASO Regional Tour (Esperance and Albany).
Both programs include Elgar works which are monolithic and magnificent in nature, and the bass parts are phenomenal to play in; our part contributes so fundamentally in both of these works. Added to this, Brahms 2 and the Mozart Clarinet Concerto are beautiful works that I have still not been tired by after all these years (I've played Brahms 2 four times and conducted it once).
Asher Fisch and Wigglesworth are both fantastic conductors to work under; these weeks felt extremely productive and the music-making was top tier and inspiring - it set us up wonderfully to perform in excellence for the remainder of the year. And Znaider and Ottensamer were the most amazing soloists, such that when you hear them play the very first note, you melt in the warmth of their sound, knowing that the week of playing with them will be a phenomenal experience.
The regional tour last year to Esperance and Albany was also amazing. I enjoyed the road trip with my wife, Bri, across WA for the first time was an incredible experience, as well as playing to the lovely and enthusiastic audiences of these wonderful country towns (especially the opportunity to play in the beautiful new concert hall in Albany).
Jenna Smith, Associate Principal Trumpet
Favourite WASO moment
Playing Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
I'm a bit of a closet Star Wars nerd. I grew up listening to the soundtracks and even had a Star Wars Collector's doll for about 20 years. John Williams' score is a trumpet player's dream! At least it's mine anyway. He writes such great melodies for the trumpet. I'm not just talking about the famous ones that everyone knows: all throughout his score the trumpet plays soaring heroic lines, articulated fanfares and some menacing moments too. It was so much fun to play and a real highlight of my career.
Leanne Glover, Principal Cor Anglais
Favourite WASO moment
I've been with WASO for so many years it is really difficult to separate out the BEST moments.
Some of them are playing and some are from my friendship base within the orchestra. Some of the moments are just pockets in time, sitting in my chair within the orchestra, that have truly stayed with me as perfect moments. Such as reaching the pinnacle in Strauss's Alpine Symphony with Asher Fisch. In any performance of this piece that moment is amazing but in our performance a couple of years ago I remember just feeling so in awe of what we had all created together. It really was transformative in some way and difficult to describe. I imagine anyone who loves orchestral music will understand what I mean. For just a moment we were all sharing a wonderful human creation of breathtaking glory. I will always remember that moment.
Of course, our Tristan und Isolde performances will always stay with me as possibly the most stunning, challenging, and breathtaking concerts of my career. Not only the sheer physical feat of concentration required to play this piece in its entirety, but also knowing the MASSIVE Cor Anglais solo was forever looming in the final act. I could never relax until it was done, but the orchestra played so incredibly, and Asher was completely amazing and the singers were just out of this world. It was truly a lifetime dream event for me.
But I think, possibly, my very favourite moment so far in my WASO career, was the final performance in Albany of Iain Grandage's Cor Anglais Concerto. I grew up in Mt. Barker, just 50 km from Albany on a farm. This area will always feel like home to me. Most of my family still live down there and many of my oldest friends. The process involved with performing a new concerto is quite a long and sometimes stressful one. The hours spent practising a new work must NEVER be counted. However, Iain's piece was wonderful and so much fun to play. The Albany performance was the fourth and final one and I was on "home ground" playing to an audience I felt such an affiliation with. I felt I could finally just relax a little and play my heart out.
I was playing to Cousins and Aunties who had never seen me play with the orchestra before. My first oboe teacher, John Bush, his wife Ruth and their family were there. Friends of both my grandparents and parents were there. Old neighbours and school friends were there. It was just such a wonderful experience to go back "home" and play just for the pure joy of it. After all, that is what it’s all about isn’t it?