News

2024 TSO Partner Percussion Circle

17 May 2024

In February, we welcomed our partners and guests to participate in our first annual Partner Percussion Circle. Led by TSO percussionist and workshop facilitator, Tracey Patten, participants had the opportunity to experience a short taster of the Percussion Circle workshop program before catching up over drinks and nibbles. We had an inspired evening filled with laughs, music making and the creation of new shared experiences that only music can bring.

Percussion Circle

We are excited to offer a Percussion Circle, either as an inclusion or add-on, to our Corporate Partnerships. This program offers a range of benefits including team building, leadership and communication skills development, engaging with clients in a unique way and much more.  It has been our pleasure to offer our full Percussion Circle to several current TSO partners already. CEO of Impact Solutions International, and TSO Business Collective Member, Mary Dwyer had these kind words to share after holding a Percussion Circle for their end of year team building event and celebration:

“It was different, and it was engaging. Every single member of our team who attended loved it! And... none of us play any musical instruments. When we first suggested this innovative offering for our end-of-year celebrations, some team members were a little apprehensive. Everyone left delighted. The energy in the room was palpable. It was so much fun. 

From a CEO's perspective, I appreciated that we left having created some great new rhythms together and were in sync in a way that united us all. It was a joyous and creative way to deepen our cohesion as a team. 

I would highly recommend this process for any teams trying to work together in harmony, and it was delivered in a non-threatening, professional environment.

If you are interested in holding a workshop for your business or want to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. In the meantime, please enjoy these moments of joy captured from our February event.

Tracey Patten our workshop facilitator

Tracey Patten our workshop facilitator

Keeping time

Keeping time

Adam from Blundstone

Adam from Blundstone

Mary from Impact Solutions

Mary from Impact Solutions

Kirsten from Core Collective

Kirsten from Core Collective

Playing together

Playing together

Cristina from the Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel

Cristina from The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel

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Mark Bain talks Performance Under Pressure

17 May 2024

Having faced many high-pressure situations, TSO Tutti Trumpet, Mark Bain, is well placed to coach and educate fellow musicians in dealing with pressure. We had a chat to hear about how his knowledge and skills paved the way for his business venture, Performance Under Pressure (PUP).

Mark Bain

Thank you for joining us Mark. Tell us about PUP, what are the services you offer and what is the impact your work can have?

Performance Under Pressure is a performance coaching business that I founded in 2019, which is dedicated to empowering musicians to master their craft. At PUP, I specialise in helping musicians prepare, practice, and perform effectively using cutting-edge, research-based strategies for peak learning and performance. My services include working with individual musicians, conducting presentations and workshops at schools and organizations throughout Tasmania, Australia, and internationally, and offering online courses at various times throughout the year.

The impact of my work extends far beyond the stage. By equipping aspiring musicians with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed, I've witnessed incredible transformations in their confidence, skillset, and career trajectory. It's immensely rewarding to see talented young musicians blossom into self-sufficient artists who pursue their passion for music with purpose and determination. As I continue my journey with PUP, I aim to empower musicians to achieve their dreams and make a lasting impact in the world of music.

Having studied music and worked as a professional musician for decades, what inspired you to set up PUP?

My journey with PUP began at a pivotal moment in my career as a professional musician. While auditioning for orchestral positions during my studies overseas, I started exploring performance psychology to improve my audition success. This newfound knowledge not only secured my position with the TSO but also revolutionised my approach to performance.

Simultaneously, my passion for music education fueled the desire to continuously refine my teaching skills. Seeking to bridge the gap between performance and pedagogy, I immersed myself in the science of learning and peak performance. The wealth of research I uncovered was a revelation—there were so many insights and techniques that I wished I had known about during my studies!

Realising the transformative potential of this knowledge, I felt compelled to share it with fellow musicians embarking on their own musical journeys. Thus, Performance Under Pressure was born. Fast forward five years, and I've been privileged to witness the growth and success of countless individuals I've had the pleasure of working with. This experience has been immensely rewarding, as it has allowed me to positively contribute to the development of both individual musicians and the broader music community.

While PUP is specifically focused on music making and musical performance, are there some skills and learnings that are transferable both across other art forms and other industries?

Absolutely! The principles and strategies I teach through PUP are highly transferable across various disciplines and industries. While PUP is rooted in music-making and performance, the insights and techniques I share have proven invaluable to individuals from all sorts of professions. I’ve worked with NBL referees and dentists, students facing tests and exams, radio presenters, and the list goes on! You can apply the same set of skills to so many different areas of work and life.

Much of the research underpinning my approach originates from domains outside of music, making it universally relevant to different learning and performance contexts. Whether it's cultivating the right mindset, harnessing motivation, mastering effective practice methods, leveraging cognitive science, or navigating performance psychology and managing nerves and anxiety—these principles can be adapted to suit individual circumstances.

At its core, my approach to performance remains consistent across all domains: clarify your personal and performance values, acknowledge and accept distractions during practice and performance, and then refocus your attention on what truly matters. By committing wholeheartedly to your core values, even in the face of anxiety or doubt, you can unlock your full potential and achieve success in any performance situation.

Do you have a highlight moment since opening PUP in 2019? Working with a particular organisation perhaps or a particular break through that you helped facilitate?

I've had the privilege of collaborating with so many remarkable individuals and organisations over the years, each contributing to a large number of memorable moments and breakthroughs. While there have been countless highlights along the way, the most gratifying moments for me are when a client experiences a breakthrough in their ability to think critically and problem-solve independently.

As a coach and teacher, my ultimate goal is to empower musicians to become self-regulated learners and performers. Witnessing a musician move from dependency on external guidance to confidently navigating musical challenges by themselves is incredibly rewarding. I often joke with my clients, encouraging them to "become so good at teaching themselves that they put me out of a job!” While this may seem tongue-in-cheek, it underscores the essence of my approach—to equip individuals with the skills and confidence to tackle their musical journey with autonomy and resilience.

While this journey towards self-sufficiency may take time to fully develop, every session and presentation is an opportunity to nurture these vital skills. It’s amazing to see musicians take charge of their musical approach, and I always get excited when I see glimpses of this in sessions. But fortunately for me, I'm not out of a job just yet!

Spreading your time across PUP, performing, tutoring and examining, I imagine your spare time is very precious to you. Is music involved in your down time as well or do you use this time to explore other passions and interests?

You're absolutely correct—life is quite busy these days! When I manage to carve out some rare downtime, I consciously choose to step away from anything music-related. Given that music is such a significant part of my daily routine, even attending concerts can sometimes feel like an extension of work. Instead, I prioritise quality time with my family, going out for a nice meal, working in the garden, or catching up on AFL games—especially when my beloved Port Adelaide is playing!

My wife deserves a special mention here; she's my motivator and helps me break free from the couch and embrace the outdoors whenever I have a free moment. Without her gentle encouragement, I'd likely find myself lounging around at home, accomplishing very little!

While PUP is undoubtedly a passion project that fuels my energy and enthusiasm, I also devote considerable time to various other endeavours outside of my performing and coaching commitments. One such role is serving on the board of the Tasmanian Youth Orchestras—a responsibility that allows me to contribute to the development of young musicians in a different capacity. It's a role that complements my work with PUP and the TSO, providing me with a well-rounded perspective on the music industry and is an incredibly fulfilling position to serve in.

Thank you so much for Mark to take the time to chat to us. Take a look at PUP's website or contact Mark directly to find out more.

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A successful first-leg of the TSO Words and Music tour

17 May 2024, an update from Director of Artistic Development, Kim Waldock

We headed off on our second schools tour for the year on Monday 8th April. We were excited to be setting off with our new schools concert, Words and Music. This tour supported the music education of younger Tasmanian children, especially those attending public schools without music teachers. The program was fun and entertaining, but more importantly demonstrated how easy it can be to include music pedagogy in a classroom.

Jack Machin with excited student

We headed to St Mary's District School, Scottsdale Primary School and Perth Primary School. Acting as hubs for the North-East, these schools were happy to host us and visiting students. Around 1,000 students and teachers attended, both from schools and home-schooling families in the area.

One of our new strategies was to use a conductor-presenter; someone who could both lead the musicians and engage the audience in meaningful music making and activities. Recent recruit, Jack Machin was a perfect fit – having been a player before becoming a school teacher in his life prior to joining the TSO. Jack was hilarious, held the attention, and pushed the children to consider how words make an impact on music, and how musicians respond to instructions and words on their parts.

The concert experience was entertaining, engaging and interactive for everyone from start to finish. Our fabulous TSO musicians played with their usual expertise, plus the use of interactive props and activities increased the level of interaction for our young audience. We showcased several Tasmanian and Australian composers whilst also performing classics by Tchaikovsky and Handel.

This series will be repeated in mid-June at a number of schools around Greater Hobart including the Rokeby, Huonville, Richmond and New Norfolk areas.

Our trip ended with a stop at the magnificent Eskleigh residence outside of Perth to share our music with about 40 residents; music-loving adults with disabilities and their carers. It was a special time watching the joy and reactions on the faces of all present, and watching many non-verbal adults hum, conduct, dance, and move with happiness. It was lovely way to wrap up the tour!

What else is happening for our younger audiences? We have our Family Concert: Animal Kingdom on June 6 with tickets available to our public concert at 6pm.

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Partner Highlight: The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel & Hadley's Orient Hotel 

17 May 2024

TSO are proud to have partnered with The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel and Hadley’s Orient Hotel for over 12 years. It really is the perfect match as their commitment to supporting the Tasmanian community echoes TSO’s values of connection and integrity.

TSO String Quartet Performance

Throughout our partnership, the Woolstore has become a home away from home for many visiting musicians, guest artists and conductors. The Woolstore reservations team always go out of their way to ensure guests are looked after. In the past as part of our partnership, we have been proud to support the opening of the Hadley’s Art Prize with some wonderful TSO ensemble performances in the surrounds of prize artworks. This year, our partnership has evolved to provide corporate hospitality to support the Woolstore team to connect, engage and thank their array of clients. This past week, we had the pleasure of hosting Woolstore and their guests at our Obscura 1 concert: Of Ice and Stars. The evening was complete with bespoke Obscura cocktail and an immersive concert experience.

"Obscura was a lot of fun! The convenience of ducking into the CBD for a drink or two at the Odeon, an hour of TSO power then home in time for tea was perfect. Highly recommended and the next two Obscura’s are already in my calendar!”
Scott Christie-Johnston, Woolstore's Group Manager - Sales & Marketing

Obscura Cocktail
Image

Of course, a partnership works both ways, in April we were pleased to head along to the Woolstore as they celebrated the launch of the Wapping Room – a state of the art events and meeting venue. It was a splendid affair complete with life sized Tip Duck puppetry from Terrapin Puppet Theatre, ice cream from Van Diemens Land Creamery and a bevy of prizes up for grabs including TSO concert tickets.  Scott Christie-Johnston, Woolstore’s Group Manager – Sales & Marketing, was an expert MC (despite being provoked by a 6-foot Ibis puppet!).  The rooms were filled with many reputable Tasmanian businesses and charities, and it was a fantastic opportunity to network amongst the other members of the Woolstore/Hadley’s family.

Bravo to Woolstore and Hadley’s for a great event and we look forward to sharing another 12 plus years in partnership!

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TSO and The20: a joyful collaboration

17 May 2024

TSO's 2024 season identity is one full of colour, emotion and intrigue. This captivating representation of the season is the result of a reignited relationship between TSO and design agency, The20.

We spoke with The20's Senior Graphic Designer, Angie Miller, to find out the inspiration behind the season identity and the ways TSO and The20 are kicking goals together in 2024.

Image

Thank you for joining us Angie.  Could you tell us a little about your role at The20?

I’m the Senior Graphic Designer at The20. I work to briefs that are informed by our clients, and sometimes strategy and research, that identify what the client needs to communicate and who to. I normally work within a creative team including a creative director and writer, to figure out how to communicate the message with the audience – how do we want them to feel, or what do we want them to do and how can we achieve this with images and words.

The20 started working with the TSO again in mid-2023. What's been the most exciting element of working with the TSO so far?

We are all so excited to have the TSO work back in the agency. Creating the Season 2024 identity has certainly been the highlight so far. We started with an inspiring and thorough briefing from Simon. He explained the TSO’s vision for the upcoming season and showed us examples of all the different TSO experiences so that we understood what we were talking about. Then the pressure was on for us to create an identity that cut though, communicated the creative vision and represented the orchestra.

It’s exciting to work for a creative organisation with such a great product. You’ve trusted us to do what we do and run with it. It’s a pleasure working with the team at the TSO.

Do you have a favourite TSO concert or experience that you've been to?

Last year I saw Obscura Machina with percussionist Claire Edwardes, the 6pm Series concert Fire and Water and the Federation Concert Hall performance with violinist Benjamin Beilman. It’s pretty hard to choose a favourite between those! They were just so different and all incredibly clever. But I really love the idea of the 6pm concerts, it works so well, you don’t have to be super-savvy and you can safely invite anyone and know they’ll get something out of it.

Congratulations on an eye-catching and inspiring design for the 2024 Season. What were your inspirations in designing the look and feel?

Thank you. The brief was all about Joy, as an antidote to the weird few years the world has had and the lingering effect that’s having on people. It’s about getting out there again and feeling something real.

So the design is based on a spectrum of colours like a rainbow, which is recognised as a symbol of joy, then each of the coloured beams of light represents a different TSO series, conveying the diversity of experiences the TSO has to offer. There’s the shiny, golden light of the Federation Concert Hall, they smokey blue of Obscura and the gritty red of Live Sessions.

We were aiming to retain the sophisticated confidence of the TSO but also to surprise with something slightly unexpected that might get the attention of new audiences.

I hear The20 has recently won some special awards for your work on the 2024 Season, could you tell us about these?

Yes, that was exciting. The Diemen Awards celebrate Tasmania’s creative industry. The TSO Season 2024 won for Brand Identity and Social Campaign, as well as the Grand Diemen for the design category overall.

Congratulations! Finally, what are you working on at the moment for the TSO?

Lately we’ve been working on social campaigns for Obscura and the 6pm Series, aiming to target some new audiences to join the existing loyal TSO crowd.

Thank you so much for talking with us Angie. We can't wait to see what's to come for our 2024 Season and beyond!

Check out the Come Closer campaign for the 6pm Series below (and don't forget to pick up 2 for 1 tickets to the next concert!).

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Meet another member of the Wolfe Pack: Gavin Wolfe

8 April 2024

Gavin at work

This April, The TSO is presenting our premiere performances with Tassie local legends, Nick and Tom Wolfe, more famously known as The Wolfe Brothers, in Hobart and Launceston. However, we have another member of the Wolfe family working in the heart of the TSO! Gavin Wolfe works in the TSO production team as Production and Venue Assistant. We were interested to know how much further the musical connection goes for Gav and his experience in working with and growing up with Nick and Tom. Gav generously spent some time chatting to us about how deep his musical connection goes, and what it is like working with Nick and Tom on stage.

Gav, tell us about your connection with The Wolfe Brothers.

My dad and their dad (my uncle) were partners in the family berry farm. We grew up together on the farm, and we played music together while also learning about farming with our dads.

What was it like spending time with them while you were growing up?

We’ve always been close. I’ve been lucky to tour with them working as a stagehand, selling merch in Queenstown, the list goes on! I’ve worked with Nick and Tom moving P.A.s and backline since the pub cover band days over 12 years ago. There are so many great memories and some pretty funny moments over the years doing what we love to do together.

Would you say that music runs in the blood of the Wolfe family? Is it a great connector for you all, or are your outliers?

The Wolfe family, since the inception of the family farm (four generations ago,) have been farmers and musicians. From my great-grand father George Wolfe to my grandfather Ernie, my dad and Tom and Nick’s dad Malcolm, they’ve all played music. They’ve played in bands, some played at the Theatre Royal, some even played alongside ACDC at City Hall! Also, my sister and mum Emily are both music teachers. Emily plays in her own bands and plays fiddle on our great grandfather’s violin. We’ve all had a lot of fun together at Christmas, birthdays, anytime we’re together someone starts playing something!

We heard you were instrumental in introducing The Wolfe Brothers to the TSO. What happened?

I believe the discussions may have already begun but there was a great moment one afternoon where I needed to drop something into work, Tom was with me and got to meet Simon [Rogers, Director Artistic Identity]. They had a chat and the rest is history!

Are you and your family looking forward to this concert?

We are all really looking forward to it, both family and friends of the family will be there and I think it will be a very special moment.

Finally, is there anything else we might like to know about the brothers?

Gardening fans might recognise Nick as he was in the pilot series of Gardening Australia along with Peter Cundall talking about Gooseberries! The footage of this was recently rediscovered when were again featured on gardening Australia last year.

Thank you so much for your insights Gav. We can’t wait to see you all up there onstage together!

News

TSO takes on a Hungarian Master

27 November 2023
Written by Stephanie Eslake

TSO performs Bartok

If you look into the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s impressive back catalogue of recordings, you’ll find some big-name classical composers on the album covers: Strauss, Mozart, and Schubert to name a few. There are plenty of releases that feature beloved Australian composers, too – from Elena Kats-Chernin to Peter Sculthorpe and Peggy Glanville-Hicks.

Yet the TSO’s latest project shines the spotlight on a composer whose work “you wouldn’t necessarily expect an Australian orchestra to record”, according to violist William Newbery. He’s talking about Béla Bartók – the Hungarian composer who may be a less-than-predictable choice for this island orchestra, but whose music sits alongside the greats in old and new music alike.

“His music is full of shape and colour,” William says. “It sings and it dances – and once you're comfortable with his harmonic language, it speaks as eloquently and beautifully as Beethoven or Brahms.”

RECORDING THE "FAST, VIRTUOSIC AND FUN" BÉLA BARTÓK

This year, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra has been recording Bartók’s 1936 Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, and 1939 Divertimento for String Orchestra. In a video, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Eivind Aadland described Bartók’s music as “fast, virtuosic and fun…a celebration of life”. His connection to Bartók is deeply personal, with only a few degrees of separation between them.

In his early days as a violin student, Eivind studied and performed with Yehudi Menuhin – the prestigious violinist who commissioned and premiered Bartók’s 1944 Sonata for Solo Violin (one of the last works he would ever compose). Eivind also learnt with Sándor Végh, who played the Hungarian premiere of Bartók’s 1934 String Quartet No. 5.

The conductor’s enthusiasm in leading the TSO orchestra through new Bartók recordings is therefore to be expected. And while this excitement may be contagious, it’s a feeling that also comes naturally to many of those involved in the project.

A DREAM COME TRUE FOR THE TSO

To record Bartók’s works, the TSO turned the Federation Concert Hall into a studio – bringing in gold-standard producers from ABC to facilitate the recordings.

ABC Classic FM sound engineer Veronika Vincze, who has a long history of recording and broadcasting the TSO, reveals “the atmosphere was so optimistic, good-natured, and creative!”.

“I love the sound they make,” Veronika says of the orchestra. “I want to bring the experience of their beautiful music-making to audiences who cannot be there in person. I like it when intimate details can be brought to light with the help of technology.”

Veronika describes the recording session as “Bartók’s dreams coming true”. In Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, the orchestra was positioned in a layout that Bartók himself had designed. (Unusually, the strings are divided into two independent orchestras, sitting on different sides of the same stage.) The number of musicians in this TSO recording also wasn’t too far from the number of players in the Basel Chamber Orchestra, for which Bartók composed this work. And, of course, the project was led by Eivind who continues to carry the composer’s “musical legacy”.

But practicalities aside, Veronika believes the very spirit of the composer is infused into their recording. Like his contemporary Zoltán Kodály, Bartók’s approach was that “music belongs to everyone”, Veronika shares.

“So what could be better than a perfectly sized orchestra with members from different backgrounds, performing his music at the other end of the world in beautiful Tasmania – with a conductor and producer from Norway, exactly on the opposite side of the globe?” she says.

“A brilliant Tasmanian filmmaker Joe Shemesh is providing stunning shots of the island to accompany the project. Bartók loved nature, walked a lot, and would have admired Tasmania’s beauty. Isn’t this a winning combination?”

A COMPOSER KNOWN FOR "TRUTH, HONESTY, EQUALITY"

If you think it sounds as though Veronika is speaking from the heart, you’d be right: she was practically raised on the music of Bartók. Every time she hears it, she feels “at home, meeting with people speaking my language”.

Long before establishing her career in Tasmania, Veronika had studied in Hungary and the prevalence of Bartók’s compositions in her education “created a life-long addiction” among her and her musical classmates.

“Knowing the story of his life, we had a deep respect for his brave stance for truth, honesty, equality, and silent-but-strong resistance against the injustices of the political scene of the times – especially after the 1930s.”

Veronika refers to a period in the composer’s life when he took a stand against fascism, turning down concert opportunities and cutting ties with his publisher in Nazi Germany. In 1940, Bartók left his homeland to spend his final years in exile in the United States. (He composed his Divertimento for String Orchestra just before he left his country.)

Bartók also demanded that none of Hungary’s public spaces should be named after him while others were simultaneously named after Hitler and Mussolini – a bold stance at the time, and one that would only add to his legacy: his portrait would later be placed on Hungarian banknotes, and Veronika highlights that today “most of the Hungarian cities, towns, villages have public spaces named after him”, from concert halls to streets and schools in his honour.

“I used to walk on Bartók Street in my hometown every day,” she says.

SYNERGY OF THE HEART AND MIND

As Bartók’s music has embedded itself in the spirit of his country, its people and culture have also inspired his works. Eivind explained in TSO Weekly Wrap (April 21, 2023) that the composer was greatly influenced by folk music.

“He collected folk music in Hungary and Romania, and his own music is so connected to this traditional music,” Eivind noted, commenting on the dances and colourful tunes that can be found in his pieces – including those featuring in the new TSO recordings.

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta – for which Bartók is perhaps most famously known – features imitations of traditional instruments and a folk-like dance in its final movement. His Divertimento for String Orchestra boasts a gypsy feel. But this folk-inspired music is far from simple, and TSO players like William say “Bartók’s writing for string sections is technically very challenging – but never awkward or clumsy”.

“For me, Bartók creates such a diverse palette of colours and moods with his music, but there's a temptation to dwell on the darker colours and more serious moods,” William shares.

“Finding the joy and even frivolity that he weaves into his works can be tricky when you're navigating its technical challenges with a slightly furrowed brow and intense concentration.”

William has tackled plenty of complex pieces of music in his career, having performed in live concerts and broadcasts with major Australian orchestras as well as studying music in Europe. Still, he has admired Bartók’s music ever since he was a teenager.

“Bartók was a master composer. His works are both cerebral and instinctive, grounded in folk tradition and created with the highest craft,” William says.

“Throughout all of Bartók’s music, his synergy of the heart and the mind place him in the company of the truly great composers.”

William believes these new recordings may “reinforce and enhance that reputation” for which musicians of the TSO are internationally renowned.

“For everyone who already knows these works, I hope a Tasmanian recording will pique their interest. As for those who don't, I envy them the experience of discovering them for the first time,” William says.

He adds: “I have reason to hope it will be the best recording I've played in with the TSO, and I trust many other music lovers will join me in finding out.”

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Meet TSO Production Manager, Kayne Johnson

27 November 2023

Kayne Johnson

In early 2023 our new Production Manager, Kayne Johnson joined the TSO.  He has a world of experience in the production industry and the TSO is lucky to have him on board.  We've asked him a few questions to help get to know him and find out a little more about his role with the orchestra.

What does your role as Production Manager entail?

I think we fulfil a facilitator type role which can vary in the exact tasks, but regular bits involve planning for shows; scheduling; organising equipment and people; liaising with creative and artistic staff to help the show become what was intended.

Tell us a little about your background working in production: 

I’ve worked for a bunch of different arts companies and venues in a bunch of different art forms; theatre, dance, live music, etc. I’ve toured quite a bit around Australia and different parts of the world.

What excites you about working at the TSO? 

I’ve never worked around classical music at this level for any decent amount of time, so I’m learning lots of new things about music and instruments and composers, which I am loving.

What is your favourite place on earth? 

Can I say the whole earth? I think it’s all pretty good.

5 words to describe yourself? 

Garrulous, casual, nice-ish (struggled to get 5…)

You will see Kayne on stage before a concert or during interval, moving around the stage setting stands and managing his team to ensure all the musicians are sitting in the right position.  Keep an eye out for him!

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Our latest endeavour: Relaxed Concerts

27 November 2023

Audience member at Relaxed Concert

“It was fantastic, a wonderful opportunity to experience the music in a low-stress environment. It went fabulously and was enjoyed by all present.”

These are the words of a parent who attended one of our Relaxed Concerts in 2023. The TSO strives to hold a place for all Tasmanians. However, we understand that our regular concert offerings in the Federation Concert Hall and the like do not suit everyone’s needs and that some families will not feel comfortable in these settings. Our Relaxed Concerts were born out of wanting to make music accessible for all in our state and were created in collaboration and partnership with Psychology and Play Therapy Australia. While still early days, we’ve experienced some beautiful stories from our first round of concerts that we’d love to share with you.

A STORY OF ANTICIPATION AND EXCITEMENT

For one young member of the audience, the excitement began days before the concert after he watched our what to expect video. While watching the video, he was said to have the biggest grin and was intent on relaying the video over the dinner table. Our aim was to familiarize people with the space prior to coming along to remove any anxieties or reluctance to attend. What a fabulous bonus that it created such a level of excitement as well!

A STORY OF OVERCOMING CHALLENGES AND BUILDING ENGAGEMENT

From hearing feedback such as “my toddler loved dancing” and others loving “learning how to be a conductor” it seems we had a lively, engaged audience for these concerts. Director and Principal Psychologist of Psychology and Play Therapy Australia, Katherine Olejniczak, explains that a strong level of engagement such as this is a real positive and can be unusual for some children in a regular concert environment. She believes this was due in part to the carefully constructed program which moved gradually from soft to loud music and only maintained the loud sections for short periods.

Katherine explained the programming allowed the children with sensory sensitivities to move through the discomfort of experiencing loud music and not become overwhelmed because the pieces of music did not stay too long in a crescendo. “Instead, they were able to have an experience where they successfully regulated themselves through the discomfort and re-engage with the enthusiasm and delight as the piece became softer again.”

We are especially proud of this outcome and that these concerts have enabled some to engage with music in such a way that they have not been able to do so in the past.

A STORY OF FALLING IN LOVE WITH MUSIC AND EXPERIENCING MAGIC

As part of the concert each instrument from the orchestra is introduced to the audience with a brief demonstration of what the instrument sounds like. This was a very popular element of the concert, but one particular instrument seems to have gone down a real treat. When the Harp was introduced, the audience heard the beginning of the Nutcracker’s Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsky, possibly one of the most famous harp phrases in history. In this instance a young girl fell in love and claimed to her mother “it sounds like magic” and we tend to agree!

The TSO is incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to achieve with these concerts. Thank you to Katherine from Psychology and Play Therapy Australia for helping us make them happen and we are very excited to have them on board for another year to help us continue to bring these concerts to life.

Our 2024 Relaxed Concert Dates have been announced. Click here to read more about these concerts. If you'd like to support our Relaxed Concerts and our other Community and Schools programs, click here to learn more about how you can help.

TSO Musicians Dave Robins and Rachel Kelly

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