Posted by Andrew Messenger
Monday 6th January, 2014

I don’t want to brag, but I had the unique pleasure of listening in on the first rehearsal of the AYO Alexander Orchestra and you didn’t. 

For all those playing along at home, it really did not sound like a first rehearsal, least of all an orchestra meeting for the first time. There were errors, of course, and stopping and starting; as conductor Richard Gill pointed out, Copland’s Third Symphony is fiendishly difficult at times. Nonetheless, it was a pretty special experience.

Another special experience; talking to composer Andrew Howes, who wrote Ichirós.

‘Modern composers are one of two things,’ he says, ‘they’re wildly successful, or they find some other job to do on the side.’ Andrew thinks that the trick is to turn this into a positive experience. Find a job that complements composition (playing, conducting, teaching, writing about music  …) and there’s no need to compromise your art in order to pay the bills.

Andrew left me with a bit of advice: ‘Composers lie a lot. They lie a lot about what inspired them; often it comes to you in the bath, or that sort of thing. But they lie in order to get a better story’. It's sexier to claim the idea struck me on the mountaintop than in the shower? ‘Absolutely’.

This is a little self-indulgent of me, but I can’t get by without mentioning the fact that I turn 23 on the day this is published. Coincidence? I think not. Hopefully I will be able to find a cake. On Sunday, the number of cake stores open was approximately zero. Canberra really is a ghost town in summer. 

I’ll finish this blog up by celebrating this first day of National Music Camp proper. It’s been an incredible 24 hours already; as a new participant, I can’t imagine what the next two weeks will bring.

Words About Music participants will be blogging daily.

  - Andrew Messenger

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