What do Daniel Johns, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Qantas have in common?

Daniel Johns is an Australian vocalist, composer, guitarist, and pianist. He is probably best known as the frontman for the band Silverchair which has won 21 ARIA awards to date. He is also three times winner of APRA‘s songwriter of the year. In collaboration with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Qantas, he has arranged, performed and recorded this beautiful piece entitled “Atlas”. The piece will feature as the soundtrack in the new Qantas advertising campaign on Sunday 22nd July. In composing it, Daniel said he wanted to create something that sounded international, because Qantas is representing Australia and he wanted it to sound big – not just a jingle. Do you think he has succeeded?

One other thing for all the violin and viola players:  notice how the bows of the violins and violas are all played in the same direction. It looks so much better than bows going in all directions, doesn’t it!

New website links!

Check out the Fun & Freebies page for two new marvelous website links: The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra Kid’s Site and The Dallas Symphony Orchestra Kid’s. There are lots of activites and great fun to be had. You will find interesting games, be able to discover what the instrumetns of the orchestra, test your theory basics and even find out how to make your own intstruments. So what are you waiting for? Click on the link above and head on over!

Music is a family affair: the Ashkenazys

You may or may not have heard of the famous pianist, Vladimir Ashkenazy. I knew of him because my father had a recording of him (and yes, it was vinyl!) playing the famous Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2. You can hear Evgeny Kissin playing the first five minutes of it here.

Vladimir Ashkenazy is now the chief conductor and artistic director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and later this week will be conducting Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto while his son performs as soloist.

Dimitri Ashkenazy began learning piano at the age of six but switched to clarinet as a teenager. He is very much in demand as a performer.  He performs and records with orchestras and chamber quartets, as well as conducting master classes all over the world.

Dimitri’s father is very proud of him and is willing to let a few “goofs” go by.

“I’m a performer myself,” said Vladimir. “You think I play everything without goofing? I hope I don’t goof too frequently, but everybody does it.”

That’s a very reassuring comment from someone who is an extremely talented and and experienced performer. We all “goof”. The key is not to let it detract from the performance or to do it more often than necessary. So keep up the practice!

If you want to read the newspaper article about the concert you can find it here.