The Australian Chamber Orchestra Collective had a busy time when they visited Armidale on 31 August. Five members of the ACOC began the day with a workshop for over 30 string students at NECOM. After a morning of tutorials and rehearsals, the students gave an inspired performance to parents and teachers in the NECOM Auditorium. We received wonderful feedback from the ACO members about the quality and talent of the students from NECOM that they worked with:
"It was an absolute pleasure to meet and make music with the young string players at NECOM. They are all of an incredibly high standard, and I was most pleasantly surprised by how quickly they picked up the suggestions we gave them. And they are impeccably mannered as well! I look forward to hearing them in the future!"
Ben Adler, violin
"I thoroughly enjoyed working with the students from NECOM. They are clearly very well taught and dedicated to great music making. Keep it up and we look forward to coming back!"
Jack Ward, cello
"Over the last several years I've been involved in many schools workshops all around Australia. I was so impressed by the standard of the viola section. In fact, this is the best viola section I've ever encountered in my time. They played absolutely in tune with a lovely sound, they picked up all the ideas that I suggested really quickly and they engaged very beautifully with each other. They were such a great team and very supportive of each other. Even when I started talking about gestures they started offering their own suggestions which was just so impressive."
Caroline Henbest, viola
Following the workshop at NECOM, the ACO Collective with guest artistic director Pekka Kuusisto and clarinettist Matthew Hunt performed to a full house in the Armidale Town Hall. The concert featured pieces by Mozart, Brahms and Bartók, concluding with a special encore from Pekka Kuusisto, described as "heartwarming and engaging" by audience members, In fact, the folk-song from Pekka's beloved Finland had the entire audience singing along - the perfect way to "Finnish" a great evening!
The concert and its varied program showed off the abilities of the incredibly talented and high-quality musicians of the ACO Collective. Of the many NECOM students in attendance, all had different favourite moments from the performance and a lucky few were very grateful to get the chance to chat with many of the performers at the end.
Topping off the very busy visit to Armidale, two members of the ACO Collective generously came back the following morning to give a couple of lucky students private masterclasses on what was to be a rest day during the orchestra's tour.