Behind the Curtain: Caterina Turnbull

By Stella Joseph-Jarecki (Enquiries: stellamusicwriter.wordpress.com)

I had the chance to speak to Caterina Turnbull, who established her own music business in 2019 after completing a Bachelor of Music and a Masters in Arts and Cultural Management. Panoramic Music is a concert provider focused on empowering emerging university-level performers. To date, Panoramic Music has presented recitals from young artists such as pianists Jenny Lu, Chloe Lee, James Zhong, and clarinetist Laura Campbell. You can keep up to date with Panoramic Music through their website here, Facebook page here and their Instagram page here

So you run Panoramic Music. What prompted you to start up the business?

It’s was an idea that I’d been playing with for a couple of years. I’m operating as a sole trader- I contract performers and people who help us out with photography, etc. I would describe Panoramic Music as a concert provider. I’d love to be able to branch out in the future and offer mentorship to younger performers.

I wanted to get performers out there, particularly university level performers. Entry-level performers seem to be more covered when it comes to the spheres of jazz and pop- or maybe they’re more proactive at organising their own gigs. Whereas I don’t see that happening as much in regards to classical concerts.

Can you give me a bit of an insight into your own musical background, and how that informed this idea?

I did my Bachelor of Music in composition at Monash University. Funnily enough I applied after my husband suggested I try writing my own music- I had auditioned for the performance streams in piano and voice and hadn’t gotten in. Things kind of fell in to place once I gave composition a go. It felt surprisingly comfortable.

During my time at Monash I helped to organise a concert of student compositions. That year, we hadn’t been given any performance opportunities and one of our lecturers had said, if you want opportunities, go and make some! So we did. Actually, that concert has become an annual tradition at Monash since I’ve left.

I’ve just finished my Masters in Arts and Cultural Management at Melbourne University. You could describe it as a ‘bit’ course. They teach a range of different subjects and the idea is instead of being exceptional in one area, you have the ability to talk to lawyers and understand what you need to know, or talk to accountants and understand what you need to know.

What are some of your aims?

I want entry level musicians to be able to have work. Achieving that involves a few other aims- I want more people to attend classical music concerts. Or to even be present, we’ve been experimenting with live-streaming concerts. In the future, I’d love to put on a series of new music concerts.

How does Panoramic Music work in terms of programming- do you curate programs in collaboration with the artists, or do they come to you with proposals?

For the first few concerts in our calendar, I approached the musicians myself. I essentially recruited my friends! But it’s one of those things where knowing people is important, networking is important… I hate the idea that you only get jobs because you know people, but I’m guilty of the same thing.

I think as long as you do your work with dedication and skill, it’s not a bad thing to use the connections you have! Especially as in the classical music world, it’s a bit of a fishbowl and everyone knows everyone. So you might as well use that! 

I need the artists to be paid first, so the model is that the artists get a set rate, as well as a percentage of any profits on top of that. So essentially if I break even, I get paid.

What are some challenges that you can come up against in events management?

Generally, the money! But that’s nothing new. It’s really a matter of, do enough people want to come, do I have enough of an audience, is there enough funding out there for us? That has been my biggest challenge.

The actual putting stuff out there isn’t too bad- I suppose knowing how effective it is can be challenging. Having proper evaluation processes in place is something I want to work on, so I can see where the audience members are coming from. There’s a method I haven’t used yet, where you can use a number of unique links to buy tickets. They allow you to see exactly which forms of social media are connecting you to your audience.   

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