Saturday, September 01, 2012

PAGE TWENTY-FOUR: piano with orchestra

One day in 1968 my piano teacher, Miss Keeley, asked me out of the blue if I would like to play a piano concerto with Newcastle City Orchestra. It was a Alec Rowley's Miniature Concerto, written especially for a student to play. If you follow the link, you'll find it is an attractive work - and you'll see how simple it is!

I was very pleased to be asked (but someone else was quite miffed that she hadn't been given the opportunity).

Erroll Collins
The orchestra's conductor, violinist Erroll Collins, was very encouraging and helped me to get a handle on playing as a soloist with an orchestra. Although I had performed as a soloist and had accompanied people singing, especially in church, I had done nothing like this before. And, I haven't since. Miss Keeley tried to get me to have a crack at Beethoven's First Piano Concerto, but I was overwhelmed by it and passed it up. Silly me!

The big day was 31st July. Looking at Ken Wiseman's history of Newcastle Conservatorium, From Park to Palace, I see that John Sewell, whom I taught with at Katoomba High School, also played in the concert in a brass quartet (John is a trumpeter), and Bob Pritchard, who later gave me some valuable tips on using computer music notation, played piano in a Schubert trio. Small world!

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