By Stella Joseph-Jarecki (Enquiries: stellamusicwriter.wordpress.com)
Joshua Hooke is an emerging concert pianist, currently completing a PhD in Music Performance at the University of Melbourne. Now that concerts are slowly beginning to happen again (yay!) Joshua can next be seen performing at Tempo Rubato on Saturday August 8th. There will be performances at 6pm and 8pm, more details to follow on the Tempo Rubato website soon. You can follow Joshua through his Instagram, where he posts regular videos.
When did you first realise you wanted to pursue music performance more seriously?
I suppose it was a gradual thing! There was no precise moment, but rather a series of encounters with various composers, etc. I’ve been lucky enough to always seem to have the right teachers at the right time, who let me follow various curiosities and ideas. All of this seemed to lead me in one direction… I guess there wasn’t much question when it came time to go to university, there didn’t seem to be any other choice.
Aside from the obvious technical difficulty of the repertoire, have you encountered any challenges inherent in pursuing a career as a concert pianist?
Like a lot of creative folks, the life of a pianist is essentially a pretty lonely one, which can be a challenge. With chamber music it’s a bit different of course, but essentially for a pianist, all the work and all those inner happenings and breakthroughs, happen while we’re on our own. I think that’s what makes it so important to perform, so we have a place to share these things with the world.
Are there any composers of solo pianist repertoire who in your opinion are not programmed as often as they should be?
There are a few gems, especially from the nineteenth-century, like Clara Wieck’s Drei Romanzen Op. 21, a few miniatures of Jules Massanet, and dare I say it, some pieces by Carl Czerny. Carl has a reputation for composing dry and mechanical exercises, (listen to Francesco Libetta’s performance of Czerny’s Op. 740 No. 50, I dare you to not to be at least slightly impressed) but I would love to hear them more often.
In a perfect world, what does your dream career look like? Many people enjoy combining music teaching with performing, solo works alongside ensemble works, etc, etc.
It’s honestly hard to say what the dream career would be, as long as there is time to practise and follow various musical curiosities I’d be happy. I’ve been doing some teaching and tutoring alongside performing and a few other projects, and life at the moment is great!
Do you think there is an active audience for classical music in Australia right now? Is there anything you’d like to see developed/ new audiences targeted?
I do think there is a really receptive audience in Australia, and a particularly curious one. I think ultimately the onus is on musicians as to how they want it to grow. It’s difficult to expect anyone who hasn’t come across it before to suddenly fork out for a ticket to a concert. We have to sort of go out and proselytize, and show the value of the music.
How are you staying mentally healthy during this period of isolation due to COVID-19?
I feel pretty fortunate to have some sort of creative practice to focus on, which has been really helpful. Aside from that I’ve just been watching lots of films, trying to stay physically fit, sharing stupid stuff with mates that we find on the internet, all that sort of thing!