Thrusting a group of people into an unfamiliar situation doesn’t always yield positive outcomes (see Lord of the Flies). Thankfully for the lucky awardees of the 2011 Sydney Symphony Fellowship though, there is an obvious thread that not only binds them as a group, but gives them all a clear sense of direction.
The thread is music. In spite of their diverse backgrounds, the Fellows are stitched together in some way or another by their love for it and the talent that they have for performing it. In terms of the Fellowship, music gives them purpose, but it also provides them with shared experiences that make the more daunting elements of performance easier to cope with as a group.
“It’s obvious that our music is the main thing that binds us,” said Tara. “We’ve all played together in different situations over the years – possibly not in a chamber music situation, but definitely in other orchestral programs.”
It’s clear to most that the musical thread runs thick through the Fellowship tapestry, but what, if anything, connects the Fellows outside of music? Katie believes that it is the group’s maturity and acceptance of each other that makes the dynamic work. “We are lucky this year as all of the fellows get along extremely well.” she said. “On the surface it seems like we are all very different and that there mightn’t be any common threads, but I think it’s our similar work ethics, goals and more specifically commitment levels that help us to get along well. We all expect ourselves to do the best, and I think this commitment has shown in the level of our performances.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Hugh, who believes that without a uniform level of commitment, the Fellowship dynamic wouldn’t be as successful as it has been thus far. “Everyone’s highly driven and there are a lot of perfectionists in the group. Everyone’s really good at what they do, and really passionate about music, in general. I’d say that most people are actually just passionate people in general with a lot of interest in a lot of things. We’re interested in art, a lot of sports even. We’re interested in everything!”
In any profession, having harmonious bonds with your colleagues is often a major key to success. As the Fellows transition into professional musical careers, the value of the Fellowship Program becomes apparent in the way it facilitates new working relationships that add value to Fellows’ careers and personal lives. Learning to understand how and why other musicians operate the way they do is vital for any symphonic musician, and by spending time with similarly gifted players, the Fellows become better equipped to more comprehensively understand music in a holistic sense rather just their own individual parts.
Katie and Tara both saw one other common theme that resonated with all the Fellows outside of music and personal attitudes to work; the Fellows all love food! “Besides the music thing, we all share a serious love of good coffee, good food and good wine!” said Katie. “A fair chunk of us share a passion for culinary delights and cooking,” agreed Tara. “It always results in wonderful dinner parties, and even beyond the Fellowship I think the group will always be able to come together in this way.”
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