Canberra International Music Festival Interview Blog

Interviews with the distinguished directors, conductors, composers and performers of the 2011 Canberra International Music Festival. A frenzy of activity with 34 concerts over the period of May 11th-22nd. Brought to you by Shin Kurihara and Tobias Chisnall. For more information on the Canberra International Music festival, visit the CIMFsite .

To download any of the interviews, simply enter 'cimf' when prompted for a password.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

The End

With the festival finished and the semester coming to an end it seemed time to wrap up the series of interviews we've been doing for the festival.

It has been an absolute pleasure to interview these three musicians.  We initially aimed to also interview the director of the festival, Chris Latham, and a student participating in the festival for even more diverse perceptions of what it means to be a musician but due to time constraints this was not possible.  However, with the three interviews we have done, they have all been rewarding and thought provoking in their own way.

Once again thank you to the three interviewees: David Pereira, Graham Koehne and John Harding for being so generous with their time and thoughts.  All three are musicians of such integrity and sincerity that as students it was fantastic just being in their company and being able to talk with them.

Thank you,

Tobias Chisnall and Shin Kurihara

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Performer - David Pereira

David Pereira(right) Cellist and lecturer in cello at the ANU School of Music.
download password: cimf

David Pereira is an outstanding cellist and teacher who has worked in some of the most prestigious orchestras and chamber groups in the country.  As a soloist David has performed concertos with the major orchestras in Australia and New Zealand and premiered more new works than I've had hot dinners.  As such it was initially quite daunting interviewing a man so renowned for his musicality.  I was quickly put at ease by David's humour and his generosity in sharing his thoughts on the practicalities of playing in a festival, performing, interpreting and communicating a work that no one has ever played before and what gives music its meaning.

David's approach to performance combines a very realistic pragmatism with a wonderful idealism in the communication of that work.  His focus on looking after his body during performance periods and a thorough and humble period of preparation for performance allows him to communicate music to a tremendous degree.  His recent forays into the world of composition have also given him a new outlook on the role of the performer.

David's thoughts on musical meaning deal very much with the emotional impact of a performance.  What really came through was that for David, his pragmatism and his technical skill are his means of connecting with an audience.  The technique and the preparation serve the higher and generous aim of giving the members of an audience an emotional experience.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Composer - Graeme Koehne

Graeme Koehne(left) - featured Australian composer in the Canberra International Music Festival
download password: cimf

Graham Koehne is one of the busiest and most popular composers working in Australia today.  Born into a strongly Lutheran family, with limited access to music, his compositional styles reflect a deep commitment to making music that is meaningful and important to as many people as possible.  With a tremendously democratic approach to music making, Graham rails against the exclusionist nature and the purely technical focus of many classical music styles and institutions.

In this interview Graham shares his thoughts on composing, the influence of popular music on his compositions, the prevailing ideologies of modern music, the influence of performance on the meaning of his compositions, and the importance of music's central aim being to communicate.

For me this was a fantastic interview to do.  Graham Koehne has such deeply felt notions about music and such a beautiful commitment to making music that is genuinely meaningful to the people who listen to it.  I think the line that stands out for me in this interview that sums up what I like about Graham Koehne's compositions is 'why can't it just be a sweet, beautiful thing about your love of your child, it might be an old fashioned notion but I think it's a universal one.'

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Conductor - John Harding

Interview with John Harding, Conductor in the CIMF.

John Harding(Left)
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John Harding is an extremely respected and experienced Australian musician.  As a former directer of the Australian National Academy of music, former artistic director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, leader of the Australia Ensemble and leader of the Sydney String Quartet, he has an incredibly unique insight into the way music is performed and managed in Australia and abroad.

In this interview John shares his thoughts on the broad scale state of orchestral management and the practicalities of financing musical institutions, the influence of technology on conducting and performing, pedagogy, the increasing presence of sex-appeal and advertising in classical music, the influence of tradition on music making, and what makes for meaningful music.

Throughout the interview his humour and his love of music shine through the many astute observations about the music industry and what it means to be a conductor and a musician.