Blue Mountains News
Local Young Stars: National Online Winter Academy a Hit with Outstanding Young NSW Musicians
Directors Rachael Beesley & Nicole van Bruggen
6 – 7 July 2020
Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra presented a unique National Online Winter Academy (NOWA) from 6-7 July 2020 for the Young Mannheim Symphonists (YMS) exploring a fresh new
historically-informed perspective to music performance and applied musicology. Co-directors
Rachael Beesley and Nicole van Bruggen created an exciting and immersive online course for
dozens of participants aged 11-21 who logged in from Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Melbourne,
Perth, Sydney, Tamworth as well as the Sunshine Coast and the Blue Mountains.
Over two intense days, the music students attended online seminars presenting various aspects of historically-informed performance of 18th and 19th century orchestral repertoire along with discussions around performance psychology and career development. The seminars were presented by internationally respected experts who were ‘Zooming’ in from Melbourne, Sydney and Thredbo, and included a guide to The Classical Symphony and Comparing and Discussing Interpretations: Beethoven Symphony No.1 by Dr Mario Dobernig, Positive Performance Skills by Anthea Cottee and 19th Century Performance Practice by Prof Neal Peres da Costa.
Historical instrument demonstrations videos were especially made by the YMS faculty (in Adelaide, Auckland, Bremen, London, Melbourne, Newcastle, regional Queensland and Sydney); there were Q&A sessions with the co-artistic directors and the guest speakers; and there was individual online tuition from principal musicians from the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra which enabled these renowned musicians to share their passion for and expertise in historically-informed performance of Classical and Romantic music with young emerging musicians from around the country in the virtual realm.
Participants’ responses to NOWA were overwhelmingly positive:
‘Thank you so much for putting together this Online Academy! It is great to have a sense of
community during this time, even if we can't play together, and so that has been very inspiring!’
‘All of the presentations were very insightful into the world of HIP and I learnt a lot about historical instruments, practices and performance techniques.’
‘NOWA provided practical techniques that can be implemented in future playing. Very eye opening - the information helps me approach pieces from a new angle and understand the composer’s intentions better.’
There were some tasty suggestions for morning tea and lunch to get in the spirit of Vienna during the Classical period, and a number of fascinating resources were discussed and shared during the course including links to the Archives of The New York Philharmonic, Beethoven-Haus Bonn, the letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and various Positive Performance Resources – all of which encouraged the students to consider what it means to be playing Classical and Romantic music in the 21st century.
Key quotes from our presenters:
‘I encourage you to ask your own questions, find your own point of view and ultimately make your own informed decisions based on your research as well as musical and personal experiences.’ Dr Mario Dobernig ‘19th-century teaching texts often show how ornaments were to be realised—it’s
important to find information relevant to the composer and time.’ Prof Neal Peres da Costa
‘Sometimes it can be easier to think of supportive things to say to someone else than it is to ourselves. Try saying some of these things to yourself, and allow yourself to listen to your own supportive voice.’ Anthea Cottee
And in the inspiring words of our Founding Artistic Director the late Richard Gill AO:
‘If we open children's ears, minds and imaginations to the multitude of musical experiences available, they will stand a chance of learning how to make choices and begin to understand something of that strange word 'style’.’
Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra is supported through the COVID-19 pandemic by the
City of Sydney’s Cultural Resilience Fund
Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra’s 2020 Concert Season is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW
Young Mannheim Symphonists music education programs are sponsored by MM Electrical Merchandising
We would also like to acknowledge our annual donors to the Australian Romantic & Classical
Orchestra and the Richard Gill Memorial Fund, details of which can be found on our website.
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