Here we are again! Another year of amazing gigs, experiences, musicians, audience, and I couldn't have done it without all of you, supportive people!!! Here are some photos below from some of this year's amazing gigs.
There's many more photos from this year at my Facebook page, and you can see video performances on my YouTube page. Or for some listening at my Soundcloud page. Now time to review this year's awesome moments!
Top 10 Performances of 2016
10. The Stairwell Project
The Stairwell Project - a fantastic project, community and family to be a part of. It is a project that began in 2015 at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital in hope to liven up the stairwell's beautiful acoustics with music. Soon it expanded to the cafe, foyer, entrance and even the oncology outpatients area. A space for musicians to explore, express and contribute to a better world. The most fulfilling part of the project was seeing the impact of music on the audience of patients, visitors, doctors, nurses and other employees. How they interact with it. How it changes their mood. Makes their day. Also their support, encouragement and kind words towards us, musicians, always made my day too. It has impacted me, and I highly recommend you all to donate to this fabulous project! To donate, head over to their website where a recording of mine is also featured at Jugglers Art Space's The Stairwell Project page! This is all thanks to the mastermind behind it - Peter Breen. A beautiful, caring, motivating, inspiring, and talented man who cares for people and art. There wouldn't be anyone better than himself to be leading such a wonderful project, and I can't wait to see the more exciting things waiting to happen!
9. Queensland Philharmonia Orchestra Masterworks 1: Catch Me If You Can
Queensland Philharmonia Orchestra is an orchestra conducted, played and run by young and aspiring Queensland musicians. I have played for this orchestra in the past as a percussionist at the back of the orchestra, but this time I played in the front. It was a new experience, and very exciting indeed! I was a featured vibraphone soloist, alongside featured double bass player Sam Nock and the orchestra, accompanying Diana Tolmie (alto sax) in Escapades by John Williams. Wow! Diana Tolmie is such a beautiful, intelligent, and talented musician, and also businesswoman! Working with her was a dream come true, and my vibraphone, V, also had a debut with its motor! The score is beautiful and the right amount of jazz and classical - my kind of music. I actually wouldn't have gotten this gig, if it weren't for my friend, Brent Miller. I was actually a replacement player, and had to learn all the music in three weeks! Three weeks!!! That was just the start of the many gigs I had to learn this year within three weeks or less. It surely got my sight reading skills up!
8. Music and Dance with Queensland Ballet
Wow, wow, wow. This gig was another dream come true. Star-studded by the Queensland Ballet and international conductor, Andrew Mogrelia. I've performed with the Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra a few times since first year of uni, but this one would top it. I've never felt so excited, nervous, and so honoured for an orchestral gig. I was principal percussion, and to play in the pit for a ballet was just a dream come true (not to mention the other times for musicals and operas!). We then played on stage, and man, oh man, I had such a good time playing the Firebird Suite! Yes!!! An adrenaline rush with all the right reasons - I love that feeling. This is just one of the many, many reasons Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University is a fantastic tertiary institution to attend and follow your passion in music. It offers you amazing opportunities, and to say I performed with the Queensland Ballet conducted by Andrew Mogrelia still blows my mind.
7. Paint It Red presents 'Skins': Anna Kho and the String Kho-tet
So this is one of the many gigs that began as a dream to perform a repertoire for my university recital, and then became a bigger dream to be performed public. That score was Ney Rosauro's Marimba Concerto No. 1. I had been dreaming about this concerto for years, long before I even attended university! Finally I played three of the movements for my third year recital. As I was once blessed again, I was given an oppportunity to perform all four movements at Paint It Red, accompanied by the String Kho-tet featuring Amanda Terry, Allyson Pong Ying, Kieran Welch, Georgie Ostenfeld and Sophie Collis. Paint It Red is a concert series featured at Juggler's Art Space to showcase artists and chamber musicians within Brisbane. It has become highly successful and this year featured special guests artists, the heroes and inspirations of our town. I was so lucky to be billed with special guests Steve Newcomb and Kristin Berardi, alongside SoundStruck and Cigany Weaver. As well as art by Sarah Sculley. This, of course, was not possible without curators, Luke Carbon and Molly Collier-O'Boyle. Young musicians making a difference, which is just the beginning of the long list of young, amazing, Brisbane musicians. Go Brisbane!
6. Australian Percussion Gathering: Duet with Brodie Mcallister
Continuing on the amazing, young, Brisbane musicians list is Brodie Mcallister. This man blows me away, and constantly teaches, inspires and shares his knowledge, love and passion for music. I've learnt so much from him, and it's only the beginning! We started improvising together this year to explore the extended techniques, sounds and blends between brass and percussion instruments (currently exploring other instruments like accordion too). After a while of playing, we had a first debut performance at Australian Percussion Gathering. We played in a pop-up lunch time performance in the Conservatorium Foyer, exploring the acoustics by setting up at the balcony above it. I loved the idea of playing instruments live that an audience couldn't see, and also the free lively space of free improvisation! Anything can happen! It was certainly a new feeling, and I loved it. Of course, I can't go on without mentioning Australian Percussion Gathering itself! It was certainly a fufilling, inpsiring and hardworking experience of acting as volunteer co-ordinator and participant in a week long event of percussion galore! Percussionists from all around Australia attended, and we were honoured to be joined by international percussionists, Kuniko Kato (Japan/USA), Aiyun Huang (Taiwan/Canada), Michael Askill (Australia), and Jean-Baptiste LeClère (France/Paris Opera Orchestra). This is a special event that happens every few years and is aristically directed by the one and only, Vanessa Tomlinson. She's the inspiration that led me to free improvisation in the first place!
5. New World Theatre debut with Songs For A New World
I wouldn't believe you if you told me I would be doing musicals in my first year of university, and then telling me I would be offered many more after that. It was a dream come true at first, but it didn't turn out to be a one-off gig at all! Through the four years of musicals I've played, which 2016 included Savoyard's Legally Blonde and Nice Work If You Can Get it and Redcliffe Musical Theatre's Wicked, I met many more amazing people and one of them was Andrew Wadley. Funny story, I actually e-mailed Andrew in late 2014 to express my interest in playing percussion for Prima's musical production of Legally Blonde performed in 2015. I didn't know who he was, and I had never played for the company or at Redcliffe Cultural Centre before. The first time I met him, and the many more times after that, we clicked and it was always a joy and honour to play for and with him. I am so happy for him and his music endeavours, as one of his dreams came true to start his own musical company - New World Theatre, alongside Melanie Evans. The company successfully debut with Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World at Act 1 Theatre with an absolutely amazing cast of Lara Boyle, Liam J. O'Byrne, Natalie Ridoutt, and Simon Chamberlain, a gorgeous band and a fantastic crew as well. I've never had such an amazing musical theatre experience from start to end, and dare I say this one tops them all? It was a small family with enormous love, more than the venue could handle! Thanks for everything, Andy x
4. Ba Da Boom with Early Warning System and Lisa Moore
Ba Da Boom Percussion Ensemble was the new percussion family I joined after I left Macgregor State High School's percussion family. It was different, but for the better. New genres, new repertoire, new people, new director, and new found love and experiences. For four years it became a whole new world to explore, and changed my whole look on music, performance and chamber work. Sadly, this was my last year in it. One thing that didn't change was my love for percussion chamber music - it just gets better and better! I love it so much! So I know there's two gigs in this one, but it happened one after the other and felt like one experience, so it's the exception! This year I had the honour of playing with Early Warning System featuring Meta Weiss and also as featured performers with Jamee Seeto, Caleb Colledge and Tracie Comber in a Clocked Out concert with special guest, Lisa Moore. I had one of the biggest honours to be playing with illustrious musicians, Meta Weiss and Early Warning System, for the world premiere of Ivan Trevino's The Bird That's Flown Into My Room. I had been a big fan of Ivan Trevino's music, and his works featuring percussion and cello. It was absolutely perfect, and such an honour to be playing with percussion teachers I always look up to. I was definitely nervous! The other gig was accompanying Lisa Moore in the piano concerto, A Wolfe in the Mangroves by Erik Griwold. One of my all time favourite pieces, and I was so excited to be playing this gig. The feeling was like a kid before Christmas day. It felt amazing, and below is the result. Beautifully shot by Greg Harm!!!
3. New Composers, New Compositions: Composition Premiere of 'Small Fish Dreaming' and 'Sokli: Three Sound Events' by Jasmin Leung
I have met, watched, listened and worked with many composers, and Jasmin Leung is by far a very unique, quirky, sweet, intelligent, artistic and talented one I defiinitely recommend to check out! Her mind is full of amazing ideas waiting to blossom into art. I honestly can't wait to see more of her work, and the many more amazing things she will create, form and publish. Working with her was one of the best composer and performer experiences I went through, as she gave me a whole new platform of free expression. My expression. Not a lot of composers do that for you!!! I was also given a snare solo to explore, and I was instructed to not practice it either. It was such a new experience, and perhaps even a life changing one too. I was so emersed in it, and it made me view snare drum differently. I love it. It was also the first time I had performed with informally trained musicians. It had a different atmosphere, but it was just perfect. It was very 'Jasmin Leung', if anything. Just listen below, and definitely check out her other creative outputs!
2. Anna Kho-tet
I think one of the many joys a musician can have is to express themselves. I mean isn't that why we all do music? A lot of musicians play for others, but it's another thing to play with others. This year I have been so lucky to get the exactly right musicians I wanted, the music I wanted and the venues I wanted. It was a whole new chapter to Anna Kho-tet, and just the beginning of many more amazing things to come. Again, I arranged music together and featured double mallet keyboard too. All of this happening at the Brisbane Jazz Club. The Brisbane jazz venue that I have been dreaming about to perform at, and it came true! To make it even better, I had the best audience that were so supportive, sweet and just the best for that Sunday night. Also I sang, which felt awesome. Here's a video below.
I could never forget the Green Jam gig earlier this year as well. That felt amazing. I had never played jazz like that before, and I enjoyed it very much. There's just too many awesome gigs to put in the top 10! Do keep an eye out for future Anna Kho-tet gigs, as there will be more next year with a whole new direction - again. I'm excited just thinking about it!
1. Graduating Honours Recital: Caged Wings
I thought putting the videos first would allow you to experience the moments with me after reading paragraphs of 'moments' throughout this blog. I don't know what else to say with this 'moment', or perhaps too much to fit in this already, very long blog! It was the moment I had been waiting for and it happened. It was the first time I felt like a curator, a composer, an artist - everything far from what I originally knew what being a musician meant. I think there is no higher achievement in music than being in a zone of infinite possibilities, a world of unlimited imagination, an expression that just pours from the heart and not just the mind. The act, feeling and being of performance is one of the most rewarding treasures you can receive as an artist, and it's the reason we continue to do what we do. Artistic satisfaction is what I believe it's called, but it's so much more than just two words. This year has taught so much and allowed me to become a better musician and person, and the growing will no doubt continue in 2017.
Happy New Year!
Laugh, Love, Live 2016, and for the new year, 2017!
I'm starting to find myself learning off my students and the many things they teach me without knowing. I guess that's the ironic thing about being a teacher. We teach to share knowledge and, of course, the income, and in return we gain so much more with happiness, knowledge, and having the absolute honour of watching positive change in our students. It's perhaps one of the best and fulfilling jobs you could ever choose to do.
In addition, the other teachers and parents have been absolute inspiration to all of my students' journeys. I would also like to emphasise how understanding and nice the parents are, and they treat me so nicely - thank you! However, the work is down to the student and they should take all the credit for how far they've come. All of these things make me love teaching, and I'm sure a lot of teachers out there agree with me too.
How adorable is this gift from one of my favourite students!!! She is perhaps the first student I had that started percussion from the very beginning, and she is doing incredibly well! I am so proud of her! She recently received a distinction for her Trinity exam, and is soaring within her school percussion program. A lot of the other students are also doing so well, and receiving awards and compliments for their hard work. I'm loving every bit, and I can't help but thank all the teachers who have shaped the person, musician and teacher that I am today.
Yesterday night, I attended my graduation and received my second degree of Bachelor of Music with Honours. It was the end of a chapter, and a start of another - hopefully, starting a degree in Graduate Diploma in Education next year! I couldn't believe how far I've come, and I owe it all to the music teachers that have taught me. They're more than just teachers to me. They're mentors, parents, colleagues, friends and some of the most supportive people in my life through my darkest and brightest times. In every music teacher out there is a world of knowledge passed down from their many, many passionate, caring and loving music teachers. It's pretty much a circle of life! Teachers teach us how to be the better version of ourselves to give back to the world, and that's by being teachers too. Being a teacher doesn't have to be official, because a simple advice or mentoring is education in itself. Every little guidance makes the biggest change in another person's life.
So the next time you come across a musician busking, or playing background music at a venue, or even music on stage, in a pit, on television, radio, electronic devices, or even just hearing music from a distance, just know that behind the maker of that amazing sound you're hearing is inspiration, passion and love passed down from amazing music teachers. If there were no music teachers, then there wouldn't be the beautiful life of music that surrounds and accompanies our everyday life. Definitely be grateful for your teachers, as they shape the next generation and create a brighter future for all those aspiring students waiting to dream big - someone like myself, or even you.
Laugh, Love, Live for Music Teachers
This blog is a space to share my thoughts, past, present and future moments in my life. Feel free to leave a comment, like the blog or share it! - Anna