08 July 2019


It was a busy day so I only managed two of three groups in the masterclass, but what I saw was instructive. This was a masterclass arranged by the Canberra Chamber Music Players, the Canberra branch of the ACMS, at the ANU School of Music, with violinist Kristian Winther as the instructor. First up was a string quartet of Joy, Kathryn, Marilyn and Justine playing an arrangement from Playel's op.48 no.2. Next was Thea and Hang playing Franck violin sonata mvt.4. I missed the Faure piano quartet Cmin movt.1 by Thea, Suzanna, Terry and Heng. This is somewhat like family. I've played with virtually every player here, in various incarnations. Thus is the classical music scene in Canberra. Masterclasses are for players who already play, so the guidance tends to interpretation rather than technique. So we heard of ideas like "who's the boss" meaning who is the leader at any time (it moves); how to express notes and lengths and melding and joining phrases; sharing ideas and interpretations; how notes are bowed and formed and attacked. Nerves were mentioned and one suggestion was to squeeze toes to avoid tension in the hand when playing soft (mostly a joke!). There were stories of famed musos and descriptions of composers' "schtick". And further, of telling a story and having to make the journey to earn the end; creating, even exaggerating, each twist and turn; of coordinating phrasing between different instruments (here, piano and violin, very different). The comments are a thing of the moment and of the performance, so it sounds vague here but is relevant in context. There's still stuff to learn even at this level. Revealing and informative.

Kristian Winther (violin) instructed a masterclass for the Canberra Chamber Music Players. Instructees were Joy Searle, Kathryn Collins (violins), Marilyn Moir (viola) and Justine Gibbings (cello) and Thea Lau (violin) and Heng Lin Yeap (piano). I missed Suzanna Powell (viola) and Terry Neeman (cello).

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