Australia’s first period orchestra have been flying the early music flag for 25 years and now their founder and artistic director tells the story from his perspective
It came to me on a plane. I was flying home after post-graduate studies and work in Europe, when it dawned on me that I could actually direct my own ensemble and I visualised myself gathering together musicians who could work with me to produce the first period instrument orchestra in Australia.
After my studies in Sydney, I had headed for the ‘Mecca’ of early music learning at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. There I fine-tuned my craft and received an induction into new ways of thinking. Having only played alongside modern classical instruments in Australia, I soon realised that the harpsichord made more sense when surrounded by the sound of instruments of the same period.
While there I was inspired by musicians and educators like Frans Brüggen, the recorder player who became orchestra leader, conductor and director of the renowned Orchestra of the 18th Century. He brought together the very best people from around in the world. They toured vehemently and were hot property. Period instrument performances and recordings were the...