Jordan Auld

Soprano

Soprano Jordan Auld, is a vivacious, dynamic and versatile performer. Trained in Classical Voice and Opera at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, Jordan graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Honours) in 2018 and continues her performance, engaging in opera, chamber music, recital and concert work.

For the 2019 season, Jordan experienced an array of exciting opportunities including; travelling to China in March, covering the role of Susanna in the Australian International Opera Company’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro whilst also performing in the ensemble. Upon returning to Australia, Jordan workshopped excerpts and scenes from Le Nozze di Figaro where she performed Susanna for the Lyric Opera of Melbourne’s, Director workshop. Straight after, Jordan made her role debut as Musetta in Opera Van Diemensland’s production of La Boheme, receiving praise for her “vivacious Musetta” (Stage Whispers). Jordan reprised this role again with BK Opera towards the end of the year in their intimate opera in a pub adaptation to great acclaim.

Recently, Jordan travelled to Brisbane performing in Pucinni’s three one act operas in a rare staging of, Il Trittico. Jordan performed in all three operas as lovers in Il Tabarro, Suor Dolcina in Suor Angelica whilst also covering Suor Genevieve, and was the Lauretta cover in Gianni Schicci.

Andrea Katz

Pianist, repetiteur

A pianist, accompanist and vocal coach of extraordinary versatility, Argentine born Andrea Katz is equally at home with Chamber Music, German Lieder and Grand Opera.

She studied piano with Francisco Amicarelli and Jorge Fontenla at the School of Music of the National University of San Juan, Argentina.

Consequently she studied with Vlado Perlemuter in Paris, Alexander Tamir in Jerusalem and specialised in the interpretation of German Lieder with Graham Johnson in London.

Since becoming an Australian resident in 1990, she has worked with all major musical organisations  in the country : Opera Australia, Victorian Opera, Sydney Symphony, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane Festivals, Sydney Music Conservatorium and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

She works regularly with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Aldeburgh Festival (UK) and Auckland Philharmonia.

A prolific recital pianist, she performs regularly with prominent Australian and international singers and ensembles, including a yearly season at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Highlights of the last 11 seasons are recitals with Yvonne Kenny, Peter Coleman-Wright, Emma Matthews, The Sydney Omega Ensemble, The Sydney Soloists, cellist David Pereira, and violinists Pekka Kuusisto and Gil Shaham.

She is the founder of Songmakers Australia, a vibrant vocal ensemble dedicated to perform repertoire in programs of superbly themed settings and song.

Since 2009 she is the Director of the Vocal Ensemble at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. Currently she also teaches at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University.

She has released 2 CDs with soprano Merlyn Quaife, “Lest we Forget” and “Fortune my Foe“.

In conversation with… Andrea Katz, repetiteur, pianist, vocal coach

By Stella Joseph-Jarecki

I had the chance to speak to Andrea Katz, a busy pianist, repetiteur, vocal coach and true jack-of-all-trades. Andrea is the founder of Songmakers Australia, a vocal ensemble dedicated to the performance of art song and lieder. Songmakers Australia is the Australian branch of the Songmakers Almanac established by Graham Johnson. Andrea also teaches and accompanies vocal students at Melbourne and Monash University, and runs the artist development program the Young Songmakers.

Alongside Andrea, the current core lineup of Songmakers Australia is: soprano Merlyn Quaife AM, tenor Brenton Spiteri, bass baritone Nicholas Dinopoulos and mezzo-soprano Christina Wilson. Songmakers Australia will soon be presenting a concert at Tempo Rubato, ‘Crossing the Bar’, in collaboration with vocal ensemble The Gesualdo Six. Among the pieces performed will be Calvin Bowman’s piece ‘Crossing the Bar’. The full program and tickets can be found here.

Andrea can be contacted for coachings and collaborations through her Facebook page or website. You can keep up to date with events held by Songmakers Australia through their Facebook page, Instagram page, Youtube account or website.

The Young Songmakers can be followed on their Facebook page. Their next engagement will be taking part in the Beethoven marathon held by community radio station 3MBS on February 23rd.

You started your studies as a concert pianist. So I was wondering how you ended up as a repetiteur working intensely with singers and opera companies, was it a gradual transition or were the two paths intertwined from the beginning?

My life has been a serious of turns. Mostly dictated by the universe!

I was always attracted to vocal music. There were always records of great singers in my house. I come from a family of musicians so there was always music around, of all kinds. My mum played in an orchestra until a few years before she died. One of my first memories is me sitting on the floor in the middle of her chamber orchestra at rehearsal, just looking up at it all going on!

The idea of being a concert pianist was always there… and then you face reality. Looking back, I’ve realised that in order to be a concert pianist, I was probably about two or three years late every single turn. And the expectation is getting earlier and earlier. By the age of sixteen, if you’re not at the top of your game, that’s it, you’re late.

So I was about three or four years older than that. And by being later and saying to myself, okay, so I will go to a new place and I will start trying again, what happened was… it turned out that I had been collecting all of the information that I needed in order to be a repetiteur and a collaborative pianist.

So when I look back, the career that I have is the result of everything I have done my whole life. I don’t have any regrets over not being a solo pianist. I say solo pianist, not concert pianist… If I need to play a solo I’m able to play a solo, if I need to play with the orchestra, I’m able to play with an orchestra. In general my life is so much more fulfilling because I have so many other things. And that includes teaching!

On the topic of education, you’ve run the Vocal Ensemble subject at Melbourne Conservatorium of Music since 2006. Being in that class was a highlight of my degree because we actually got to get out there and sing a whole range of stuff! The first time I ever learnt passages of coloratura (virtuosic fast paced vocalisations) was for a piece for Vocal Ensemble.

Does it get easier over time to find repertoire for young singers? Some singers come to you when they’re 18 and they’re very fresh, and some singers come to you when they’re 22 and you can throw them in the deep end a bit.

During the first two or three semesters of Vocal Ensemble it was a little difficult to select repertoire. But then this magic thing started happening, where people kept coming back.

Because in theory, you only need to do Vocal Ensemble once. But you have the students who return. The ones that do it for credit, the ones that do it not for credit, the ones that have finished university like in the case of opera singer Daniel Todd. He was finishing his law degree after finishing his music degree, and actually came back to watch and participate in the class for a semester, as a kind of musical escape while he was studying law!

The class has evolved into this fluent thing, where you always have people coming back who take the new students under their wing. There is much more of an integration of the voices, and even if the repertoire sometimes is slightly out of the reach of the person assigned to it, by working with a group, it just elevates them.

A similar thing has been happening with the Young Songmakers singing alongside the senior Songmakers. They have been working with me for the entire year and they have been developing and they are all very, very talented. But the moment you combine them with the senior Songmakers, suddenly it’s like, bam. They start breathing in a different way, they start projecting in a different way… and it’s not forced, it’s just this osmosis of musical skills.

Andrea Katz (left) and Nicholas Dinopoulos (right)

So is the Young Songmakers program something that developed naturally through doing Songmakers Australia with Merlin Quaife and Nick Dinopoulous, who both work in music education alongside having active performance careers?

It was the natural progression, first of all because our model which has been the Songmakers Almanac with Graham Johnson. They also have a Young Songmakers program.

One really beautiful, serendipitous occasion was when Sally-Anne Russell, our original mezzo-soprano, decided after six years that she wanted to move on and do different things… So I got in touch with Christina Wilson, initially to ask her to take part in a concert which was coming up in three or four weeks. And she was absolutely magnificent and we just thought, she’s the right replacement. So I talked to her about it and she joined us. And the funny thing is, Christina studied in Manchester where she met her husband Alan Hicks, who is also a singer. And after moving to London together, they were actually Young Songmakers with Songmakers Almanac, under Graham Johnson!

Can you name a handful of composers who persistently inspire you? For someone who’s been in the game for as long as you have, it really means something when a composer’s work is still inspiring you decades and decades later…

Well you’ve touched on one of my favourite subjects. I’ve said this many times, I’m very honest about this… I love Schubert, I love Chopin, I love Beethoven and I have a very, very great affinity for Schumann.

But the only way that I can describe my relationship with Brahms is… Music for me very spiritual, very emotional, blah blah blah, whatever. And you can describe music as sensual or sexy, but that doesn’t mean you have that sort of relationship with a composer. But the only composer, I mean the only composer, whose music makes me realize immediately that am a woman, is Brahms. And I have no idea why. I hear two notes, three phrases in Brahms pieces and I just go… okay, I’m a female!

Andrea with the 2019 Young Songmakers. From left to right: Alastair Cooper-Golec, Hamish Gould, Andrea Katz, Stephen Coutts, Emilia Bertolini.

In March 2019, you performed in the play 33 Variations, named after the 33 variations Beethoven wrote on a waltz by Anton Diabelli. You were on stage playing the variations throughout the play. What was your role in the production and how did you find the theatrical elements interacted with your performance?

The main character of 33 Variations is musicologist. She discovers that she is suffering from motor-neuron disease, after she has been given a very important grant to research the 33 Variations. She wants to find why Beethoven was so obsessed with something so trite as the waltz by Diabelli. (That’s her opinion, not mine!) So there are parallels between what’s happening in her life, and what happened to Beethoven.

The play is very clever. It’s in 33 scenes. It doesn’t touch on all of the variations, but it touches on all the influential ones.

So she travels to Bonn, to the archives of Beethoven’s work and correspondence… And I cannot tell you how much fun we had searching through the materials, because you can actually access them online! In Bonn she meets a music librarian who becomes a very close friend. And while they start talking about Beethoven and his secretary Schindler, and Diabelli, there are flashbacks to scenes between Beethoven and Schindler. So you have scenes in the 18thcentury and the scenes in the 20th century. The one connection is the piano.

I learned the variations separately from the play, abstractly. In the same way you would approach any solo piano music. I did my analysis, finding the pulse of the music, etc, etc.

When we actually started rehearsing, none of those fundamental things changed for me in playing the pieces. I never changed the tempo of any of the variations to fit the action. Also, the choice of the variations are absolutely perfect. The author of the play actually worked with a very famous Beethoven scholar, so the choice of the variations was not left to chance.

What did change for me though, was the emotional attachment to the music. It proved to me that even abstract music does have a plot. I knew that before, but it became much clearer to me after working with actors at such a close proximity. During rehearsals we were talking about the situations, talking about the text, getting the dynamics. So some of the timing was changed.

It did become such an integral part of the performance. To the point that it was up to me to start the transition to the next scene. I would finish a variation in a way that would cue a lighting change, or the opening of a door. The variations very much became another character in the play.

Andrea Katz (left) and actor Ellen Burstyn (right) during the 2019 production of 33 Variations.

Do you think there is operatic repertoire that is often overlooked? Operas that you would like to see performed more frequently?

I think there is a lot of repertoire that is overlooked. For instance, there are some early Mozart operas which are really extraordinary. I remember working on Mitridate, re di Ponto with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. And Mozart wrote that when he was 14. There is something for everybody, there are three sopranos, two countertenors, tenors, baritones, basses, everyone! And it is extraordinary music and absolutely entertaining.

Cendrillon by Massenet is an absolutely magnificent opera that should be done much more. Pieces like Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges should be done more, it’s beautiful and would attract a lot of young children to the opera.

So basically if you follow some of the really interesting new, boutique opera companies in Australia, that’s the sort of repertoire that bigger companies should be doing too.  

As a very busy teacher, repetiteur, performer, coach…how do you tackle time management?

I’m a very disorganized person, but I’ve learned my lesson! So I rely more and more on planning and having a really clear calendar.

Sometimes the only way that you’re going to survive is by blocking two hours here and two hours there. You erase them from every booking calendar available for students or coachings. And that way you have those blocks in your personal calendar and you know you have that time.

I recommend to my students that they make a list of what they need to do the following day, and to actually cross the things they’ve achieved off their list. It’s very important to recognise all the achievements you’ve done in that day. It’s very foreign to my nature, but sometimes you have to learn to be organised!

And in more extreme cases, sometimes the only way that you’re going to survive is if you completely cancel one day. Because you’re overstretched and you really cannot do anymore. You apologized profusely, you lock the door and then you catch up with the word.

Have you had like what’s been a really rewarding moment for you in Vocal Ensemble out of all the like I’m sure there’s been multiple but do you remember like some moments over the years of doing it where you’re like, oh, I’m so glad I’m doing this.

So we did the Mozart requiem about six or seven years ago with the Melbourne University Orchestra. They approached me about doing it. And I said, yes I’ll do it, but all of the soloists have to come from the class.

So I had the four quartets, and one soprano at the beginning and the end. And the choir was made up of the biggest vocal ensemble class I ever had, we had 41 people. The entire semester was devoted to learning the Mozart requiem, and everyone sang everything except for the four quartets and solos. So that was a big one!

We did a Salon concert at the end of 2018 with Linda Barcan which was really gorgeous. We did Vaugh Williams’ Serenade to Music with sixteen solos, we’ve done Brahms Zigeunerlieder. And in the oratorio concert we had at the end of 2019, we had large groups singing without a conductor leading any of the ensembles.

A central philosophy of the class is to give people the tools to be as independent as possible.

Joel Walmsley

Trumpet

Joel Walmsley is a Melbourne based trumpet player who is currently studying a Master’s degree in Orchestral Performance at the University of Melbourne. Joel is a casual trumpeter with both the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria and works as a freelance musician in Melbourne.

Joel has participated in Australia’s top programs for young musicians including the Australian Youth Orchestra’s National Music Camp, Australian Youth Orchestra’s Momentum Ensemble and the Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute. Internationally, Joel has attended the prestigious Aspen Music Festival in Colorado where he studied with Raymond Mase, and also the International Music Masterclass and Festival in Sicily, studying with Reinhold Friedrich and Kristian Steenstrup.

Joel is currently under the tutelage of Shane Hooten and has studied with Rosie Turner, Joel Brennan, Fabian Russel and Mark Fitzpatrick. Joel is also passionate about education and teaches in multiple Melbourne schools.

In conversation with… Joel Walmsley, trumpet

By Stella Joseph-Jarecki

I recently had the chance to speak to Joel Walmsley, a young trumpet player currently completing his Masters of Music (Orchestral Performance) at Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. We talked about his experience playing with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra during his second year of uni, his strategies for tackling self-doubt, and why he really loves Bach.

At what point did you realise that you wanted to pursue playing trumpet more seriously?

That’s a good question, and I feel like everyone’s answer to that is pretty different!

One day when I was in year 8, my trumpet teacher said something like, ‘So next year you’re going to do this AMEB grade, and then you’re going to do your AMusA in year 11, and then you’re apply for this University…’and so on, and I had not even considered studying trumpet seriously at that point. It was a lot to hear and it kind of scared me. But the funny thing was, it turned out exactly how she predicted.

I never really had one magic moment where something ‘clicked’. For me it was a gradual thing. I think eventually playing trumpet felt like a big part of what made me feel like ‘me’. It was somehow tied in with my identity, and that made pursuing it a natural step.

It’s funny you mention that it was a gradual process. I’ve talked to many musicians who went through a similar mental process. And it’s not simply embracing the love you have for your instrument and performing, but accepting the fact that a creative portfolio career is always going to be unstable, unpredictable… the complete opposite of a reliable routine.

I’m trying to teach myself that I’m lucky to be in that position. The element of the unknown, things are dynamic and not locked in… the world can be your oyster! So I try to remind myself that it’s a privilege and a beautiful thing, not as some hindrance or big scary obstacle.

How did you find the experience of playing with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra very early on in your undergraduate performance degree?

I auditioned for a casual position with the MSO during the break between first and second year of my undergrad… So early 2015. It was really exciting and really, really terrifying!

My first gig was playing Edgard Verese’s Deserts, as part of MSO’s Metropolis series. To this day, it remains one of the strangest and hardest works I’ve ever had to play!

I freaked out about it, I listened to every recording, I got the score, I looked at all these different books which broke down the piece… it was a surreal experience, and such a weird piece. I remember the trumpeter Bill Evans jokingly saying ‘We’re going to ruin music for this poor kid forever!’

But it was a wonderful first experience with the MSO. What surprised me was how natural it felt. Playing with the MSO was something that had been a far-away dream for so long, and when you’re actually sitting in the first rehearsal, you’re chatting to people like you’re in a Melbourne Youth Orchestra rehearsal… if anything it’s more relaxed! To these people, this is their everyday, it’s like rocking up to the office for them.

I think back to those times and I think, ‘Wow, I was practically a child!’… not that I did anything embarrassing, but I think I was so overwhelmed by the experience that I didn’t quite take it all in. But I was extremely lucky to have that experience early on.

How do you conquer/ minimise nerves and self-doubt?

For me, self-doubt and nerves are two very different things, although of course they are intertwined. They affect me in very different ways. Self-doubt is a thing that affects me in the practise room rather than the stage.

I didn’t have too many issues with nerves until early on in my undergrad. I ran into a few speed bumps in terms of trumpet playing and they became the source of some anxiety. Over time though, I’ve learnt what I need to do to deal with nerves.

If I prepare properly, and I know exactly what would be the best-case or worst-case scenario, and I’m ready to accept either outcome, then I find myself in this mental space where nothing is going to surprise me. There’s no element of mystery. There are things that I know will be really good, there’s things that might be good, there’s things that probably won’t be good unless I’m having a really good day… if I am mentally prepared for all of those things to happen, then when I miss that big note, it doesn’t give me anxiety, it’s just like, ‘Ah well, that didn’t happen.’ And if I perform regularly, my nerves almost completely disappear.

Now self-doubt is a much bigger thing. Self-doubt in a much broader sense. I definitely find myself using less than constructive self-talk during periods where I feel more down. Wondering whether I’m going to ‘figure it out’ or ‘make it’ whatever the hell that means, and what that means for my relationships and future.

As part of my Masters of Music (Orchestral Performance), I’ve been taking a subject run by Dr. Margaret Osborne, Optimal Performance Under Pressure. During that subject we’ve talked a lot about changing the tone of our self-talk. It sounds very cheesy, but practicing positive self-talk makes an enormous difference and can fundamentally change how you view yourself in the world.

I think people can feel as though performance nerves and self-doubt are an inevitability and they are at the mercy of these emotions. But it’s completely possible to harness those crippling nerves into energy that actually enhances a performance.

The whole mental health issue is something I wish institutions focused on much more heavily, and from earlier on. In music, everyone’s egos are on the line all the time and we’re constantly practicing to improve ourselves. It’s this inward dialogue of me, me, me.

Part of the issue is many performer’s sense of self-worth comes from how good they are compared to others on their instrument. Or how good they are on their instrument, full stop. And I’ve struggled with that. It’s a matter of separating who I am, from my ability on the trumpet.

How do you target breath control as a brass player?

Breath control as a trumpet player is different to tuba playing or trombone playing- lung capacity doesn’t matter as much. I’m a taller person with above-average lung capacity, but there are tiny trumpet players who would have half my lung capacity, who are absolutely incredible, far better than I am…it’s more to do with the use and coordination, using your air in a free and efficient way. And having a good understanding of the anatomy of breathing. 

I was lucky enough to do some study with Kristian Steenstrup when I was at a trumpet festival in Sicily a few years ago. Kristian is one of the leading authorities on brass pedagogy, with an air-heavy approach… some people don’t talk about air at all.

He taught me a handful of great breathing exercises which I do before I start playing each day. Basically, I strive to play in the most efficient way I can, relying on my air as much as possible and my lips as little as possible.

I’ve had to really work on my stamina and power in my practice over the years. For me, improvement comes from efficient playing with proper use of the air, and also just forcing myself to get used to playing high and loud by allocating part of my daily practice to that area specifically.

Favourite composer for trumpet/brass instruments in general?

Mahler is a composer who lets us have fun. For orchestral writing, Mahler, Strauss, Wagner, Bruckner, Shostakovich come to mind. They do tend to stick to fairly ‘traditional’ use of the brass section – fanfares, loud stuff, punctuation, and chorales. We do love playing that stuff, however I really enjoy the challenge of composers that blur the lines between the brass, wind and string sections in terms of their function – as though the music was written with a certain colour or texture in mind, rather than a certain instrument. Some of the great French composers do this really well.

Composers like Bach were writing incredibly decorative and brilliant trumpet parts during the Baroque era. These pieces are some of the most difficult pieces in the repertoire, played really high up in the register on natural trumpets. And for a period of about 200 years, the ability to do that was completely lost.

But after the invention of the valve, orchestral composers such as Berlioz embraced writing for trumpet for more than just arpeggios. I think any composer who uses the brass section for more than just the typical function is special. The use of trumpet as a wind instrument.

What is your favourite aspect of playing in a full-scale orchestra with around one hundred other musicians?

A teacher of mine once compared it to being on a sports team, or in a rock band. The feeling of playing amazing music in a huge orchestra is indescribable. You’re a part of something greater than yourself, something that makes people smile or cry or laugh or think. Those moments remind me why I’m pursuing orchestral playing as a career.

I go back to the example of the end of the Rite of Spring. It’s this really cool moment. If one person in the orchestra comes in at the wrong spot, the whole thing can fall apart. So about a hundred people are depending on each other for absolute perfection.

What do you think makes the trumpet unique?

I love instruments which produce a very pure sound, or a tonal quality similar to the human voice. The trumpet can produce a really expressive sound, almost like a singer without words. We can also produce an enormous range of dynamics. If we want to flatten an orchestra we can, but if we want to sound like an oboe, we can. A very popular piece for trumpet is the Alessandro Marcello oboe concerto, played on piccolo trumpet.

I love how versatile it is as an instrument. It sounds equally at home in a jazz group, rock band, big band, orchestra, chamber ensemble, a solo instrument…

Someone once said to me that brass instruments are the closest instruments to the human voice. Vocalists have the voice-box, brass players have their lips. Other instruments use strings or a reed to produce a vibration… with singing, the vocal chords produce the vibration and the head is the resonating cavity. Similarly, with trumpet, our lips produce the vibration, and the entire body of the trumpet is the resonator, amplifying the sound. That’s why trumpet players love listening to singers, chatting to singers about breathing… I sing in my practise all the time! I don’t feel like I’m a great singer, but it’s connecting to that feeling of resonance, of your body feeling free to resonate as much as it wants.

So what does an ideal musical career look like for you?

At the moment I am doing an orchestral master’s degree. I would love to play in an orchestra, getting there is the hard part but I’m going to do everything I can to get there. But I’m excited by how any different things you can do with music.

What is an aspirational piece of music you’d like to play one day?

Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major. If you know, you know.

Sometimes Pessimism is All You Will Feel

By Stella Joseph-Jarecki

Credit: Rachel Brown Photography

Being completely honest, I haven’t felt up to writing motivational or optimistic opinion pieces recently lately. While I want Fever Pitch Magazine to be a place where tired and disillusioned creatives can come to feel a sense of solidarity in struggle, sometimes pessimism is the only emotion I feel.

And it seems hypocritical of me to preach transparency and a warts-and-all approach to this strange industry, without admitting to my own frequent periods of non-existent motivation. I’ve been mulling over this lately, looking for a catchy phrase to turn tiredness and disappointment into a motivational quote. But the truth is, a pithy quote doesn’t always exist. Sometimes pessimism is all you’ll feel. The music industry is a hard place to thrive for so many reasons: unstable budgets, frequent cuts, the challenge of believing in yourself as an artist, the limited number of jobs… Admitting that is not weakness. It is realism.

The concept of the versatile portfolio musician is a well-known one, and one born from necessity. Most people simply aren’t able to make music performance their full-time career path. We must accept that frequent compromises are needed to survive, unless we have the luxury of a trust fund. But we can take a leaf out of Bear Grylls’ book: adapt, improvise, overcome.

And there are many positives which can come from abandoning the rose-coloured glasses: in looking for work outside of your original blueprint, you might discover a new passion. Many people stumble into the world of arts administration, having had no pre-conceived ideas of entering the field. It is a fascinating world in of itself, and certainly not some sort of consolation prize for failed performers. But sometimes fantastic opportunities will look nothing like you imagined.

So how can you conquer these period of feeling flat, restless, unmotivated, angry? If you have to wait for it to pass, that’s what you do. You take things day by day. Speaking from my own experience, it is so easy to get bogged down in that state, and to feel too tired to try new things. My advice is to find an activity that gets you out of the house, something that forces you to concentrate relatively intensely, but something that most importantly you find enjoyable. It’s a great thing to get your brain firing in an area that is unrelated to your career or main creative pursuits. I’m going to try some adult ballet classes, and rejoice in having absolutely no ambitions in ballet except improving my posture and strength. Other ideas could be taking up hiking, martial arts, painting, sculpture…

During frustrating times it has helped me to remember that ‘the only way out is through’. No matter how much it may feel like it, you have to remember that you are not stuck. You are in motion. It may not be pretty, but you can use your uncomfortable, disconcerting, murky periods of self-doubt to figure out why you feel that way.

Christopher Watson

Singer, musical director of Trinity Choir at Trinity College, Melbourne University

Christopher Watson has been Director of Music at Trinity College, Melbourne, since January 2017. Before moving to Australia he spent 20 years working as a freelance singer and conductor, based in the UK. He has given many performances of the Evangelist role in Bach’s Passions including in the Cathedral of the Madeleine Salt Lake City, Merton College Oxford, Christ Church Oxford, Canterbury Cathedral and the Philharmonie in Berlin and has worked as soloist for Paul Hillier, Paul McCreesh, Philippe Herreweghe, Trevor Pinnock and with the CBSO, Le Concert Lorrain and The Lautten Compagney.

He made his debut with The Tallis Scholars in 1998 and went on to make over 500 appearances with them. In 2007 he made his debut at Carnegie Hall with Theatre of Voices, giving the world premiere of David Lang’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Little Match Girl Passion, their recording of which won a Grammy Award in 2009. He returned to Carnegie Hall with Theatre of Voices in February 2015 to perform Stockhausen’s Stimmung. He also sang regularly with Tenebrae, the Gabrieli Consort, Collegium Vocale Gent, Alamire and Gallicantus and has made over 100 recordings of repertoire by, among others, Dufay, Josquin, Tallis, Byrd, Lassus, Bach, Berio and Pärt. The latest disc by the Choir of Trinity College, featuring a Mass by Ross Edwards, was released in 2019.