New conductor sees Canberra Youth Orchestra as a major player
Canberra Youth Orchestra (CYO) new conductor Louis Sharpe has a message for young ACT musicians: There is a place for you in his ambitious program to bring CYO back to life. its rightful place as a cutting-edge musical experience.
The percussionist of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is drumming for CYO, which he admits has had some tough times in recent years following the upheavals at the ANU School of Music nearly ‘a decade.
Prior to that, CYO, the senior musical group of the Music for Canberra organization, had many ANU students as members and was able to undertake tours, including in Europe. A return to this post is part of Louis’ long-term plans for ending the COVID-19 crisis.
A veteran of the youth orchestras of Melbourne and Australia, Louis is passionate about orchestral education and introduces young musicians to the great repertoire of Beethoven, Brahms and other masters that they cannot get in high school or in music circles. ANU room.
But to do this, he will have to reconstitute the orchestra to a full complement of 60 to 70 musicians.
“The musicians are there, I don’t necessarily think the families and the teachers know that there is a very good opportunity for their child to have an orchestral experience in the capital,” says Louis.
He believes that CYO should be a path for young musicians to show jumping and other great orchestras, and he wants to ignite the fire of ambition in them.
“I’m giving back what I had,” said Louis. “It was such a great education that I cherish.
“It is an opportunity for young musicians who are perhaps passionate about this subject but do not yet know it to come and play orchestral music.
Louis acknowledges that there is a lot of competition for these kids’ time and attention – especially Saturday morning sport when CYO is rehearsing – but he is keen to explore ways to adjust to that by adjusting or exploring other moments.
Additionally, Louis says playing in an orchestra is a team sport and the grand finale is the end of term performance.
“It gets the message across that it’s all about teamwork and that they learn different skills,” he says.
Louis also wants to work alongside the ANU orchestra, which fortunately rehearses in the middle of the week.
The point of difference for them would be CYO’s strong educational focus and its four concerts per year versus one ANU concert per semester.
“If they want more experience, CYO is there,” says Louis.
He says he’s already talking to CSO, ANU and music teachers about the youth orchestra’s place in ACT’s musical landscape and about identifying talent.
While Louis is eager to put together a stimulating program, he points out that musicians have a say in the repertoire and can name their favorite pieces, including popular film scores.
“It’s an orchestra of musicians,” he says. “They need to know that it’s their orchestra as much as mine.”
Louis knows rebuilding CYO into ACT’s flagship youth orchestra won’t happen overnight, but his goal is for CSO audiences to want to hear their future stars perform as well.
For Louis, this appointment is also an exciting opportunity to pursue his ambitions as a conductor.
He has 10 years of experience as a conductor, notably as guest conductor of the National Capital Orchestra (ACT); Deputy conductor of the National Opera (ACT); Assistant Conductor of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra (NSW); and Deputy Conductor of the Australian World Orchestra (National).
He also conducts the music of the junior James McCusker Orchestra of Canberra.
“I almost feel more comfortable being in front of the orchestra than being at the back of the orchestra,” explains Louis.
“I prefer to make music with people’s faces rather than the back of their heads.
“I like being that person who allows musicians to express themselves in this almost non-verbal communication that we have in orchestras while bringing the music of composers to life.
Music for Canberra CEO Helen Roben said the organization is delighted Louis has taken over from CYO.
“We are confident that his vast experience and strong commitment to classical music and the development of young musicians will continue to shape Music for Canberra’s reputation as a leading provider of music education in Canberra,” she said.
Helen adds that the nomination is important to Music for Canberra.
“CYO needs to expand its footprint and attract more people to the CYO and Music for Canberra community,” she says.
Louis will be giving his first major concert with CYO at the end of this year at Llewellyn Hall.
CYO rehearsals and other Music for Canberra events take place at the Ainslie Arts Center.