Interview – RNZ Concert, Upbeat – 17 October 2018

The transformative experience of being a young touring musician

From Upbeat1:00 pm on 17 October 2018

Listen duration22:55

A group of young musicians from Auckland have discovered what it’s like to be on the road, and they are the better for it.

The Auckland Youth Orchestra has just returned from a European tour taking in numerous venues in Germany, Slovenia and Austria.

Noah Rudd

Noah Rudd Photo: Supplied

The group was able to play in some famous concert halls, in front of large crowds which AYO music director and conductor Antun Poljanich says contributed to big changes. “I saw an incredible transformation in the sense of confidence they gained from it,” he says. “We received good audiences … and good reviews. They took us seriously.”

While in Vienna, a number of musicians had tutoring at the Bach Music School. Oboist Noah Rudd was among the group. He says the tutoring, and the tour as a whole was a “wonderful” experience.

For Noah, the stand out was the fact that audiences were receptive to him performing a New Zealand composition. “To see their reaction and to receive standing ovations is something I’m not going to forget,” he says.

He performed Anthony Ritchie’s Cartoon: Fantasy for Oboe and Orchestra. He first approached the composer asking to perform the piece in 2016. He went on to play it at the Auckland Youth Orchestra Soloist Competition – which he won. The prize included the opportunity to perform it with the AYO “I feel very lucky to play the work. It has a funny history, being a sax concerto then oboe sonata,” he says. “I feel touched and privileged to premiere that work.”

Anthony Ritchie

Anthony Ritchie Photo: Gareth Watkins / Lilburn Trust / Wallace Arts Trust

The tour was the first for many of the AYO. Each musician had to fund their trip, but Antun Poljanich says tours such as this contribute to the future of music in New Zealand. “It’s critical for the development of young musicians,” he says. “[This tour showed that] music as a profession, on a big stage, is possible.”

2019 will bring more opportunities for young musicians, with audition applications already underway. Antun is encouraging of young musicians who want to give orchestral playing a try. He says musicians should have Grade 8 or above but don’t necessarily have to have orchestral experience. “That’s the experience we are providing,” he says.

Audition information is available on the AYO website