Meet the Musicians: Julian Leslie

16 Apr 2024

Meet Julian Leslie, TSO Horn player, as he talks about mentors, developing his sound concept, and the delicate balance of great frustration and immense joy the horn brings to his life.

1. You joined the orchestra just over a year ago in early 2023, what was it that most attracted you to the TSO and living in Tasmania?

I always pictured Tasmania as a place I would like to live. I enjoy cooler climates, and value having such easy access to so much beautiful nature. I also appreciate smaller cities like Hobart that offer plenty of good food and culture, but that allow for a more relaxed pace of life. The opportunity to have all of that and a full-time orchestral job in such a high-level ensemble is pretty special, and quite unique in Australia.

2. What influences inspire you in your life and music?

My first long term teacher, Campbell Barnes, could produce the most beautiful tone on the horn, and I think this really influenced my own sound concept. All my horn teachers throughout my professional training have given me invaluable lessons and inspiration, not only in terms of making music and honing my skills on the horn, but also in terms of life skills like confidence and perseverance. The same can easily be said of so many of my friends and colleagues.

Julian Leslie at nine years of age.
3. What first attracted you to the horn, and how has your relationship with the instrument changed over the years?

When I was almost 9 years old, I was apparently interested in brass instruments. I think this was partly to do with having some neighbourhood friends who were learning trumpet...though they told me I couldn't play trumpet because they did! So, my parents took me to a local brass teacher, and I got to hear and try the different instruments – I liked the sound of the horn when the teacher demonstrated it, and am told I could get a decent sound out of it myself. At that stage I was too small to hold it properly, but gradually grew into it, and music and playing the horn have been a constant in my life since then.

Over the years, the horn has directly and indirectly influenced just about all parts of my life, from the friends I have made, and meeting my wife, to the places I have visited and lived around the world. Through playing horn I have experienced both great frustration and intense joy and learned many valuable life lessons.

4. Can you share a work or song that really fires you up when you hear it!

The opening to the Finale of Bruckner's 8th Symphony.

5. Which 3 concerts in Season 2024 would you put in your Create Your Own bundle?

Being a horn player, I would definitely include Bruckner's Fourth Symphony (Nobuyuki Tsujii).

The Video Game music concert should also be a good one – some works will definitely be nostalgic for me, but there are some really great compositions in the video game world, which can certainly be enjoyed by non-gamers.

I would also include the Beethoven's Fifth concertBeethoven 5 is of course great, but mainly because Mahler's Rückert Lieder will be sublime.

Create Your Own package of 2024 favourites here!

6. What do you want to tell all first-time concert goers?

Leave all your daily concerns at the door, as well as any expectations or preconceptions for the concert, and simply be open to an experience.

Julian Leslie
Julian Leslie performing at Live Sessions in New Norfolk, 2023.

See Julian playing the horn at an upcoming TSO concert in Federation Concert Hall or around the state.

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