Over the course of my undergraduate studies at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music I developed a particular passion for 20th century and contemporary repertoire. I find that this music is uniquely able to reflect upon our modern lives and the concerns of the world we live in.
However, I believe it can be particularly powerful when heard alongside older music; drawing out the common threads of humanity through history.
In the Contemporary Performance Program I have the opportunity to work with expert and passionate faculty on chamber music, performing with electronics, and improvisation while developing my skills as a flautist under the mentorship of Tara Helen O’Connor, one of NYC’s most prominent flautists. The opportunity to work with student composers and perform their compositions is also an important and exciting part of the program, providing an opportunity for meaningful artistic collaboration as well as a platform for gaining a deeper understanding of my own instrument and its possibilities. Beyond the specifics of the study program, I believe that the chance to be immersed in the New York music and arts scene is of immense value to my education and growth as a musician.
I am very excited by much of the music being written today but am frequently troubled by attitudes towards contemporary music. At the risk of sounding naïve and idealistic, I want to be a part of making contemporary music accessible and exciting to audiences. I believe there are many components to this challenge, from performance conduct to the selection of repertoire. Most importantly though, I think the musicians playing this music have to love it and have the diverse skills and knowledge-base to enable them to perform it with integrity.
Through my studies at MSM and my engagement with the NYC arts scene, I can feel myself becoming a versatile chamber musician with the skills to confidently interpret the myriad styles of today’s music. Simultaneously I am developing my abilities as a flautist and my pedagogical understanding by working with outstanding teachers on a wide range of repertoire.
This program is also giving me the opportunity to develop professional networks in one of the world’s great musical centres. My career goal is to combine my performance activities with teaching. A Masters degree at MSM will open doors to doctoral studies both in the States and in Europe, which is a possible pathway to teaching the flute at a tertiary level in Australia.
In terms of my development as a musician, the opportunity to be a part of the Contemporary Performance Program is a unique and invaluable opportunity, but the financial cost is significant.
I have been incredibly fortunate to receive a scholarship from the Manhattan School of Music and funding from both the Australia Council for the Arts and the Ian Potter Cultural Trust to assist with this financial challenge. Along with my personal savings, these funds have enabled me to get this far in my studies in NYC. Now I just have to cover the remaining 5 months until I graduate…