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
Throughout my musical career this has got to be one of the most fulfilling, heart warming and exciting projects I've done. The Stairwell Project has been a highly successful weekly live music and visual art experiment installation in the foyer, cafe and cancer wards of the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital since the last half of 2015. It has been a growing project since then and expanded to mornings of Monday and Wednesday filled with various musicians and artists. The project is artistically directed by Peter Breen, who is also the founder of the Juggler's Art Space and a massive supporter of local art and music. Many Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University alumni and current students have gathered to perform at the hospital, and in addition various local artists have taken part in creating a colourful venue visually and aurally.
I was welcomed into the Stairwell family this year, and I've been playing music at the hospital for six months now. It's been a very interesting experience, as the 'stage' is not your everyday performance stage. The audience is also a whole different interaction as well. I've played in the admission area, cafe, stairwell, as well as the oncology area. All different areas of unique acoustics, ambience and audience in one building! Each area filled with different experiences and memories of people I've met. The people - they are what's so motivating throughout this project. Their interest and love in my music gives me so much joy, and their compliments are uplifting whilst I'm providing uplifting music for their day. Throughout my time there, I've recorded sessions for my personal practice and research. I improvise a lot, and it's been absolutely fulfilling. It's also turned out quite lovely to listen to so I decided to upload them. Have a listen below:
The way the music weaves in between the sounds of the hospital is one of the most fascinating and exciting discoveries! In a way these recordings have become soothing music for me to lighten up my own day or to create a peaceful atmosphere to calm my mind and body - a somewhat healing experience. One of the experiences I've loved the most at the hospital are the employees, patients and various audience members who come up to my instrument and tell me about their love and interest for the vibraphone. It makes me so happy to see them excited about my passion, and even watching them play too! Here's a picture below of a RBWH employee rocking out four mallets!
There was one experience at The Stairwell Project that made me want to post this blog. Today an old man started having a lost of breath near my spot in the cafe. A lot of helpers came by and assisted him, I immediately noticed and changed my flow of music. A RBWH employee among the helpers came up and complimented on the music afterwards as the old man was escorted elsewhere. Later on a little girl came up to the vibraphone while I was playing in the cafe. Her curious, sparkling eyes were intrigued by my resonating, percussive sounds. She stood there watching as her grandmother sat not far behind. I asked her if she wanted to have a play, and she accepted immediately. We played together for about ten minutes or so, and she absolutely loved it. She was at the hospital as her Mum was in an appointment. As I drove away from the hospital that day, it hit me that my music would be connected to people's memory of the hospital whether its in pain or happiness, entertainment or discovery. One thing this project has taught me is how powerful music and art can be. As musicians, we may not save lives or cure diseases, but we definitely change them by accompanying their everyday lives with music when they need it most. It's these little things that make me love what I do, and the people have been the biggest impact to my musical journey - my gratitude goes out to all the encouraging words from the smiling strangers! x
You can find out more about The Stairwell Project on their Facebook page - go like them and support this beautiful project!
Laugh, Love, Live Music of The Stairwell Project at RWBH!
I've always loved watching the musical performances held in Brisbane, which inspired me to begin my musical journey. Ever since I started at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, I've been privileged to play more gigs as well as being introduced to the numerous venues of amazing performances by illustrious musicians! Recently, I was given another awesome opportunity to perform at Queensland Performing Art Centre's Green Jam with Anna Kho-tet again, featuring Sophie Min (piano), Matty Cook (bass), Lachlan Hawkins (kit) and myself (vibraphone)! Here are some photos below from that memorable evening!
This was perhaps one of the most thrilling performances I've done so far, which I stepped off the stage smiling as loud as the music that we just played. Beautiful audience members came up afterwards and expressed their gratitude and passion for the music, and in addition a university journalist major even asked to write an article about the band and the Brisbane music scene too! All of these small things that happen in the Brisbane music scene is what keeps this community and culture growing! It makes me appreciate my music making, and feel inspired to work hard and share more! One day I felt inspired to arrange Greensleeves, which you can hear in the video below! Also, how incredibly awesome is the band too - love their music and company! x
There are also other Green Jam recordings on YouTube, which you can check out as well as many more Anna Kho-tet performances to be uploaded soon too! Earlier this year a weekend long concert event called QSOCurrent was held this year featuring various ensembles including Kupka's Piano, Rafael Karlen and Steve Newcomb, Tom Thum, Argo, Sampology, and members of Queensland Symphony Orchestra. As a lucky winner, I won tickets to watch all the concerts. I was also invited by Argo to participate in their performance at Brisbane Powerhouse as a free event between the concerts featuring Tom Thum and Sampology. On top of that there were so many amazing performances during the same time, such as Nicole Lizee and Australian Art Orchesta, Conservatorium Wind Orchestra and Nonsemble. I drove home smiling and feeling inspired by the amount of amazingly talented Brisbane musicians and gorgeous venues, and how lucky I am to be exposed to a wonderful, magical world of art! Also did I forget to mention the gorgeous artwork displayed at Brisbane Powerhouse, as you can see in the photo below of my set up for Argo's MACRO performance.
These are just the few performances and music venues that exist in Brisbane alone, and I could go on and on about this topic. However, I'll leave that to you to explore and begin your exciting journey to immerse in the musical culture and art of Brisbane. As a general view in Australia, Brisbane doesn't seem to have as much as Sydney or Melbourne. However, I am an incredibly proud Brisbane born musician to tell you that Brisbane's music scene is growing and becoming a gorgeous home to many talented artists! I've fallen in love with Brisbane's music scene, and it wouldn't be what it is today without all the beautiful people that shape this community with their passionate voices and expression!
Laugh, Love, Live the Brisbane Music Scene!
It's been a year since I launched this website, as well as my facebook business page at Anna Kho Music! I cannot believe a year has passed. It seemed like yesterday I was putting together this website, getting photos done, and officially clicking 'publish'. I can't explain my gratitude for the amount of generosity and love from all my supporters - fans, friends, family, colleagues and fellow musicians! It was a massive dream to put this together, and a big decision to put myself out there with my music and passion!
There were so many exciting projects in this annual period! Super excited for my emerging ensembles V&V (Vocal and Vibraphone) and Anna Kho-tet, as well as the honour to perform with my String Kho-tet at Paint It Red! Definitely look out for future gigs, as I've got some exciting news I can't wait to announce to you all later this year!
I've also started to focus on some solo vibraphone work at the The Stairwell Project, founded and directed by Peter Breen. It features musicians at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital to bring calming, uplifting and entertaining music to the patients, visitors, employees and venue! You can still donate to their pozible campaign to keep this amazing event going! Head to my soundcloud to hear some solo vibraphone music! On top of that I've also experimented with solo vocal and vibraphone works, as I do love singing! I've gotten quite a beautiful response from fellow musicians, so I do hope to keep that going! Go to my facebook page to see a little video of myself singing with vibraphone! Do feel free to suggest songs to me too!
Another special project, or more like program, I've started earlier this year is the Anna Kho Music Room! I've done private tutoring as well as teaching at a school music program, and I thought why not start my own? I have a lovely piano at home that needs more love, and I wish to share it and my other gorgeous percussion instruments with aspiring musicians. I do hope to continue playing more piano this year, and hopefully build this potential program into a fun, educational environment for my growing students! Also why not pop by to admire the wall art too, as seen in the photo below.
Another project I hope to do this year or in the future is composing! I used to love composing as a child, but I never got around to finishing any scores or finalising any works either! Now with all my new experience, as well as in jazz and classical, I honestly can't wait to get started. However, there so much music to play that I get distracted quite easily! Hopefully it'll cross paths and new works will come out sooner or later!
However, the biggest project yet this year has got to be my Bachelor of Music with Honours degree! A big paper to write, and I can't wait to get started and discover the beauty of the most intriguing topic, which I've wanted to find the answers to all my life! Will keep you updated, as this journey will be a roller coaster of information! Also make sure to look out for my recital date in November, as it's going to be a killer program!
Thank you again for all your support!!! This website and the facebook page has been such an amazing means of communication with you all! Honestly, it shows me how much people care about my musical journey and my work too. It gives me so much confidence and motivation to keep going with my passion. It most definitely helps to know that what I do is doing something for you all, and I would want nothing more than this world to be a happier place and lives to be easier to live. Music is indescribable, but it puts a smile on my face and I can see it does for you all too!
Laugh, Love, Live Music and Happy First Anna-versary!
Knock, knock knock, knock, knock. Knock, knock!
Welcome to the Anna Kho Music Room, where musical experience, knowledge and educational magic comes alive! It is now officially open to aspiring musical students of all ages - children to adults! Lessons are offered for piano, xylophone, vibraphone, snare drum, auxiliary and music theory - first lesson is free! Marimba lessons will continue to occur at Queensland College of Music! For more information about these instruments and offered levels, click on 'Tuition' at the very top of the page!
Over the summer holidays I've been working on this teaching studio room, which I'm very very proud of as I've decorated it with love! I've always loved art as a child, and I could finally use my watercolour paint to express my passion.
The slogan 'Laugh, Love, Live Music' began in my first blog, and a friend of mine told me she liked it. I guess I never thought about it as a blog sign off or slogan, but it became to describe my approach to music and my life. I just hope to share my passion to the beautiful people around me, and hope they feel the same too! Music has brought laughter, love and life into my everyday and it's been one of the best decisions I've made in this journey. It's an incredible power that changes the heart and mind, and to make that change is one of the most amazing legacies one could do!
I do hope to continue to build the program at the Anna Kho Music Room, so my instruments have friends over every once in a while! I believe bringing music to a household creates a sacred atmosphere that brings positivity and happiness to the musician and to the ones around them. Inspiration is incredible, and education is where it begins. Come on over and have a free first lesson on an instrument of your choice, and we can begin or continue your musical journey from there! Definitely keen to meet some aspiring talents out there waiting to blossom!
See you very soon!
Laugh, Love, Live Music Lessons!
I hope you all had an amazing 2015, and I wish everyone a new year filled with music, dreams, goals and loved ones! A new chapter of the story, but the plot only has meaning knowing the previous chapters!
In no particular order, here are a few highlights in my 2015 musical journey:
1. Launched my own website and Facebook business page
On February 28th I launched my own website - www.annakho.com - and my Facebook business page, Anna Kho Music, accompanied with amazing photos by Maya Luski after our photo shoot around Brisbane's beautiful scenes. Also make-up by my beautiful friend, Senija Hadzich, and photo editing skills by Jess Sollis - I couldn't have done it without you all! This has been a dream of mine for a while, and it finally came true to begin my 2015 musical journey. The website and Facebook page has been absolutely successful and an amazing connection with my gorgeous supporters. Thank you so much for your continuous help and love to you all! Keep an eye on these pages for any updates! The first anniversary is in two months! :D
2. Amateur Musical Productions
Another year of amazing musical production performances! This time with new companies as well - Legally Blonde (PRIMA) and Mary Poppins (Ipswich). Met new people, friends, and amazing talents! Had so much fun playing these musicals, and they were all amazing scores, music, cast, backstage crew and production! I also played with Savoyards again for Beauty and the Beast and How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying! I've been accepted into all these beautiful families, and I fall in love with musical productions! Though the post musical blues are always upsetting, but the memories are forever! Can't wait to play more in 2016! Will be playing Legally Blonde again for Savoyards in March - look out for the gig dates! :)
3. Steve Reich
At the beginning of the year in March, I collaborated with Nonsemble for the Queensland premiere of Radio Rewrite by Steve Reich at Dots+Loops. It was an amazing concert by artistic director and Nonsemble violist, Kieran Welch. What an amazing score, and the musicians were beautiful people and talents! It was definitely a concert to remember! Another Steve Reich piece I performed this year with Ba Da Boom Percussion Ensemble, and twice too, was Drumming! This piece is absolutely amazing in so many ways, and was so much fun to play and fantastic to listen to - a whole new way of experiencing music! Steve Reich has contributed so much to music, and these two scores are definitely ones to look out for! It's fantastic to know musicians today are still performing great pieces like these! :)
4. Conservatorium Big Band and Con Artist
I never thought it would ever happen, especially since I was a vibraphonist in jazz. I thought to go for it anyways, and I got accepted into Conservatorium Big Band rhythm section under the direction of John Hoffman! An amazing man and so generous in sharing education and musical knowledge. It was such an honour to play under his direction, and the band were gorgeous talents too! The performances sounded and felt amazing, and this big band experience has been so worth it. Another amazing experience was performing with Con Artist in their Standing Waves concert in collaboration with Band of Frequencies! The music was arranged by some of the best in Queensland, and the concert was so much fun and fantastic music of course! At the end of the year I also arranged West Side Story's Cool for the Con Artist, and that was awesome too! Big bands are definitely a new world I'd like to further explore, and I hope to play more in big bands too!
5. QCGU opera production of Hansel and Gretel
This would be the third opera production I've played with Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University Opera Orchestra. In 2014 I took part in Cunning Vixen as well as the World Premiere of Floods that included four opera compositions by some of Queensland's best composers. In 2015 I performed in Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University opera production of Hansel and Gretel directed by the one and only Johannes Fritzsch. The production looked amazing and is one of the best I've seen at this venue. The music is absolutely gorgeous, and the singers and musicians in the orchestra were fantastic! Johannes Fritzsch is one of the best conductors I've worked with, and what a privilege it was to play for him! It was a short season, but it was so much fun and the audience loved it! Can't wait to see what the next opera is!
6. V&V (Vocal and Vibraphone)
At the beginning of this year Victoria Sly and I decided to do a jazz duet of vocal and vibraphone as a new project. I've never played as the only accompaniment with vocal, and she's never done any duets with vibraphone. It was a new experience for us both, but we were super eager to get it started. We have similar love in jazz, pop and musical songs, so we decided to do jazz covers of these genres, and we've come up with some awesome arrangements too! At the start of the year we did a mini concert, and the later in the year we premiered publicly at Queen St Mall. This duet has been so much fun, and also a new skill and experience within my musical journey. I hope to do more with Victoria on this project, and perform some new arrangements too! Definitely look out for any future V&V gigs!
7. Anna Kho-tet
A percussion friend of mine once mentioned 'Anna Kho-tet' to me as an ensemble name. I thought that was hilarious, and a great name for my future jazz ensemble! In my first jazz recital in 2014, I performed with Anna Kho-tet for the first time and it was so much fun and a success, scoring an overall High Distinction for it too! From there I was asked if I wanted to perform at Queensland Performing Arts Centre's Green Jam Session, which is one of the biggest honours I could have gotten this year. I've always attended those outdoor performances, and dreamed of playing there one day. Only to have that dream come true sooner than I thought! It was also the public premiere of my jazz ensemble, and the first gig too. I had such an awesome time, and I can't wait to do more with Anna Kho-tet! You'll definitely be seeing more future gigs with this group!
8. 2015 Classical and Jazz Recitals
In 2014 I performed my first cross-study end of year recitals in classical and jazz. It had an amazing turnout, and was so much fun! Though I didn't know how next year could top it, but it did! Never have I done all chamber ensemble pieces in both recitals, and with amazing, beautiful musical friends of mine! I also performed some of my favourite repertoire that I've been dreaming to perform since my first year, such as Marimba Concerto No. 1 by Ney Rosauro, Minuano by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays and Sugar Plum Fairy by Tchaikovsky, arranged by Alexey Chizhik. You can check out the recordings in the Soundcloud link below! I could never forget the lovely audience! Without all the support and love from the crowd, the recitals wouldn't have been as successful as they were! It was definitely recitals to remember in my musical journey! Looking forward to my next one, and I've already started planning! ;)
9. Bachelor of Music with Honours
I wasn't sure about this decision, as I began the degree loving the practical more than the research. Though the more I wanted to discover music, the more research I did, and the more love I developed for this world of music research. There's so much more out there than I thought, so I felt applying for Bachelor of Music with Honours would be a great idea! I wasn't sure if I was going to get in, but I got the good news and I'll be starting my degree in Bachelor of Music with Honours this year!
Of course being accepted into my new degree meant I was graduating from my Bachelor of Music majoring in cross-studies of classical percussion and jazz vibraphone. I didn't expect this to come so soon, but I guess it doesn't change much as I'll be heading back to university anyways. Though I'm super proud of my fellow friends who graduated with me, and of course seeing the smiles on my family members was a treat! The support was beautiful, as initially some family members weren't too happy with my decision in music as a career. Though I guess it all turned out alright, and I can't wait to continue my musical journey for more amazing gigs, discoveries and meeting new beautiful people too!
However, any year isn't only filled with major chords and perfect intervals! I definitely had my stressful times, tears, anger and frustration. Though without all those chapters, I wouldn't have had all these highlights. I've loved every bit, and it's all been worth it to my growth, dream and life! I hope you all had an awesome roller coaster ride to conclude with a fantastic 2015! It's the journey that counts, not the end!
There will also be new projects coming up in 2016, and I can't wait to share them with you all! New goals, new dreams, new plans, a new year! Happy New Year to one and all!
Laugh, Love, Live 2016!
P.S. Did you get my Sound of Music reference in the title?
What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you plan to do after high school? Where do you see yourself in five years? What are you going to do after graduation? There are people who know what they want to pursue when they're young, and then there are those who take a while to decide or are still figuring it all out. For me I couldn't decide until end of high school, and to be honest at times I wasn't sure for a while even during university. I remember as a child I loved drawing, and I loved imitating cartoons and animations onto paper and colouring them in with detailed shading. I recall running up to my family saying that I wanted to pursue art when I grew up, and they laughed at me in response and told me I would only start earning money when I passed away - which was half true. However, one thing I knew was what I wanted to pursue had nothing to do with money, even though my family wasn't financially stable. I just wanted to be happy, while doing something I loved. Without knowing I think that became my dream.
The arts always followed me since I was child. At a young age I attended private piano lessons and did dance at a private studio. When I started at MacGregor State Primary School I participated in dance, violin and choir. I was very fortunate as my primary school had a good music program and great music classroom teachers, and I enjoyed it a lot. I was a very quiet, awkward child, and slowly opened up to become the class clown - hence the terrible puns. Music really helped me open up. It made me feel comfortable and find a purpose in life. However, I never saw it as a career, perhaps only an activity of public performance, socialising and sense of happiness. At that point I never thought about my future, but only figuring out who I was and what was right and wrong.
Seven years later I went into MacGregor State High School, again with a fantastic music program and music teachers. I met more people, and I also got introduced to more music. I clearly remember watching the Percussion Ensemble 1 directed by David Adelt, I was immediately inspired with excitement. I thought that's what I want to do, and that's the music I want to play. Soon I joined the Percussion Ensemble 2, as well as still juggling violin. I dropped dance ages ago and began piano lessons for a while. In my last year of high school I did drama, and participated in choir again. Career wasn't my focus yet, but short term goals within school became very important to me. I set out to become Percussion Ensemble 1 Captain, Albinoni (Senior String Ensemble) Captain, Instrumental Captain, and School Cultural Captain - all of which I achieved. However, the main reason I wanted to pursue music in the end was because of the percussion ensemble.
Percussion Ensemble 1 had a reputation at MacGregor State High School when I first started. They won Australian National Fanfare, beating all music ensembles in participating Australian schools and were highly praised for their achievement and talent. They would always place first at Australian Percussion Eisteddfod and often played exterior gigs representing the school at functions or concerts. All of this under the one and only David Adelt, a very intelligent and fine percussion teacher within school music programs. His ensembles were taken seriously, and music was more than just 'extra curriculum'. I started dedicating most of my school time to this program and my music within percussion. In my second last year of high school our Percussion Ensemble 1, which became Mac-Cussion, were asked to be on television for Channel 7's Australia's Got Talent. An absolutely amazing opportunity, which brings me to the moment where I decided music could become my career path. At our first round at the Gold Coast Arts Centre, we were immediately responded with a standing ovation. As a school ensemble, I've never seen that before. Also the fact that most of the people in the crowd were strangers and not parents or family members, and really enjoyed the performance. I can't explain the feeling, but it was like for a few seconds the whole room connected in a way and celebrated that moment together. To see a musical piece move an audience like that, I was just amazed at how powerful music can be and the response people can express towards such a thing too. I thought if something I loved could bring happiness to people's lives, then that's something I definitely wanted to pursue.
Unfortunately, in my last year of high school I lost my mentor and inspiration in music - David Adelt. After 20 years at the school, he decided to leave on a high note. Good thing is we're still in contact, and he's now my mentor, colleague and friend. Though at the time I was devastated and left with no motivation for a future in music. Though, I think that influenced me to become more independent and certain that I could pursue music with my new passion. The ensemble was never the same again as we lost most of our best players, but it needed a new direction this time and I also needed a new direction. That's when I went for all the captain positions and set out to achieve things for myself, and not for an ensemble or music program. These achievements helped develop a sense of encouragement and strength in preparation for my audition into the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith Unviersity.
I'll be honest. I'm not a naturally talented person, I wasn't a child prodigy, and I never had someone say to me in confidence that I should pursue music. I just consider myself a hard working person with goals and a dream. Similar to a neglected ballerina that was never fully supported due to her slightly rounder shape compared to the other pretty ballet dancers, which funnily enough was a chapter of my childhood - haha! I was ready to receive a letter saying that I didn't get in, and I was prepared to do a year of an education degree and then try auditioning again. To my surprise I received an e-mail notifying me that I was accepted into the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University for Classical Percussion and Jazz Vibraphone - the choice was mine. You can imagine the unlimited amount of emotions I was feeling at the time, and hoping I never woke up from a dream. I swear a couple of weeks after I received it, I would check it every now and then just to make sure it was real. Sometimes I would read them back with a smile on my face.
A week ago I received my three year degree in Bachelor of Music. Of course, it doesn't feel like I've graduated because I'll be heading back for Bachelor of Music in Honours next year. However, it makes me reflect how much I've achieved and accomplished within three whole years. As well as looking back in my early musical education too. So much has happened, and it became a whole new world of discovery with new people, new communities, new music, new ensembles - a new journey. There are a lot of lessons I learnt, and not just music lessons but life lessons. One of the biggest lessons was 'there is no wrong'. We get taught at such an early age, what is right music and what is wrong music. However, the longer I play music the more I discover that it's all in our heads. Yes, there is incorrect and correct when it comes to a yes or no question. However, music is music, expression is expression, and interpretation is interpretation. How you see, feel and hear something is different to how another takes it. So what is right, and what is wrong? I used to fear 'wrong' so much that I acknowledge that I have anxiety - something quite common in music. Though how funny is it that so many musicians who love music have anxiety to play it? Ironic, isn't it? Though I haven't overcome the fear, but resulted to tolerating it as my friend. It's an adrenaline that I take with me when I'm on stage, and becomes part of my music now. In life, there is no wrong either. It's just how you view it in comparison to how the society views it, but the difference is you're in control of your views - no one can change that. I strongly believe this, because this mental battle happened in my first year at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.
When I started university, I was certain that this was my dream and this goal was unstoppable. I had all the support I needed, and all I had to do was work hard. However, down the track I encountered negativity much bigger than myself. Someone I respected in music, told me that I was incapable of music and the dreams I set out to achieve. It was hard to hear that, and for once I felt music wasn't my path. I am a very self-conscious person, and to hear that from a mentor just crushed me. For a while I had no belief and went into a dark world, and I started becoming illiterate to music to the point I couldn't play a single note correctly. Practice would always result in anger and tears, and I almost just gave up on music entirely. Luckily, I met a beautiful person in my life. Someone perhaps at the time didn't know that his encouraging words would change my life for the better. I expressed my fear over the person who gave me negativity, and he said, 'just keep doing what you're doing, because you work harder than anyone else'. A few simple words, but enough to pick me back up again. Those words made me sit back and think about how much work I've put into this dream, and how much I've fought to get where I am today. I could never just let it go due to one negative experience or even many more to come. However, I don't regret the negative experience or any that have happened. They've all made me stronger and shaped me to the musician and person that I am today. Everyone in my life have influenced me whether it was negative or positive, and I will constantly learn new things as I grow.
I guess the purpose of this blog isn't to celebrate education, but appreciate it. Education is so important, and not just those given to us in school but also in life. It shapes who you are as a person and the values and morals we hold. It's so important to be aware of these things around us, and to take advantage of the situation with new knowledge and perspective in life. Education isn't a piece of paper, it isn't a letter or number, it isn't medals or trophies. Education is knowledge, experience, influence, inspiration, and changes how we live, breathe and move every day. People should never limit themselves because of money or culture, but they should choose with passion, love and happiness. Sometimes following your heart can surprise you, and for the better too. However, everyone's dreams and the journey that goes with it is different, but throughout their lives they've learnt something and it's shaped them to who they are today. Most importantly, you as a person controls what you learn or don't learn. Teachers and mentors are there to advise and guide, but your dream is yours and your life is yours. There is so much out there, and you won't be able to see it unless you open the door and let it in.
Laugh, Love, Live Education!
I remember when I was a classical student and envied the jazz musicians. I would attend so many jazz performances, everywhere and anywhere around Queensland. Eventually, I fell in love with the Brisbane jazz scene and the gorgeous people and their music that came with it. I also fell in love with the idea of jazz, and it was like a neighbour's party that I kept peeking over the fences to see what all the noise was about. Soon I went over and asked if I could join, and it's been one of the biggest and best decisions of my life.
In 2014 I was accepted into cross-studies at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University to major in my primary instrument, classical percussion, with my secondary, jazz vibraphone. Now they're both my primary majors and have become a massive influence to my life and career. I learnt so much from the music, and definitely much more from the people within the communities. Everyone has their own stories to how they got into music, and I find it so fascinating how people from so many different backgrounds come to have a similar passion in music. I found it especially fascinating in jazz. There were so many different branches of jazz, and each branch was a different background, a different voice. It was the 'voice' that intrigued me. The improvisations, the compositions - they all told a different story. I loved that, and I thought it was a place I wanted to take part in. I started performing in jazz recitals at first, and then I got asked for exterior gigs. Soon I gained the confidence for public performance, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere and enthusiastic crowds. The more I played, the more I fell in love with it and enjoyed myself so much.
Here are some recordings below from my jazz recitals! Influences from Jamie Cullum, Pat Metheny and Alexey Chizhik. Go check out their music!
This year I was asked to do Green Jam on October 23rd, 2015. It was such an honour and privilege, and for the first time I got to share music I love with my loved ones in the crowd as well as new friendly faces. I had such a good time with my band, and it was my first public performance of my very own ensemble, Anna Kho-tet. The name is a pun off my surname, which was an idea given to me by a jazz vibraphonist and percussionist friend of mine named Andre Bonetti. I love puns and thought that was hilarious, I absolutely had to use it for an ensemble of mine! At Green Jam I was joined by Victoria Sly on vocals, who I've worked with in V&V. We've had such an awesome year doing duet work, and it was an experience and new project that I was super excited for. Finally we got to put our music into a band setting. Matty Cook on bass, a musician among many that I enjoy watching, and absolutely love his vibe, music and arrangements. Andrew Doo on kit, a beast of a player on the kit and also my first time jamming with him.
Thomas The 'A' Train, arrangement by Anna Kho
I always kept hearing Thomas the Tank Engine theme in a jazzy way, and I thought how cool would it be to arrange it with a jazz standard. What better jazz standard than Take the 'A' Train! I wasn't sure if it worked, but I'm super proud of how it turned out. Miss my childhood TV themes! Hoping to do more of the same with others - keen!
How can anyone hear this theme and not think jazz funk. It's just perfect! Matty on slap bass - you could never go wrong with that! Love it!
Cry Me A River, arrangement by Anna Kho
I have been dreaming about this arrangement for a couple of years now, and I never got around to it until now. It's just such a strange arrangement, but it somehow works? I kind of like the whole polyrhythmic feel. Love the pieces, love the mash up!
Black, Gold and Afro Blue, arrangement by Victoria Sly
Sh, but I named it without asking Victoria herself. She told me this idea came to her when she was singing Afro Blue over Black and Gold one day in her car and told me it worked well - and it does! To those who don't know it's a 6/8 jazz standard over a 4/4 jazz, pop tune. We first experimented it together as a duet in V&V and had lots of fun! I couldn't wait to put it with a band, and it sounds equally amazing!
With that stella ending we finished the evening on a high note - literally! Love goes out to my brother, Aaron, for filming all these jazz performances. Of course, the talented Maya Luski who took the gorgeous photos at Green Jam! Thank you so much to all my beautiful friends, families and fellow colleagues for stopping by, listening to my gig and supporting live music. Thank you to all the new faces I met that also enjoyed their evening. I honestly had a blast, and I just can't wait to do more jazz gigs in the future with Anna Kho-tet. There's so much more I want to do, including composition, and I'm going to make it happen! 2015 has been another joyful ride in my journey in jazz. I've played in two big bands, Con Artists and Conservatorium Big Band, I premiered my duet group, V&V, with Victoria Sly and performed at the Queen St Mall, and of course I premiered my arrangements with the Anna Kho-tet! I hope this groove never stops!
If you want to hear more performances by Anna Kho-tet, head to my YouTube channel or soundcloud page!
Laugh, Love, Live Music - jazz for this one!
Welcome to Anna Kho Music!!!
Since a month from my photo shoot in late January, I've finally put together this official website and also launched a Facebook page - Anna Kho Music. Extremely excited, happy, and so keen for you to check out all the amazing photos, information and work I've put into this website! It's been a dream of mine, and I've finally achieved it!
Feel free to give me any feedback, suggestions, or ask me any questions! I hope this website is convenient for you to use, and also interesting to browse! Please check this page every now and then for any new updates, or like me on Facebook (click on the button below to go to the link) to keep updated with my musical journey!
Many thanks to Brent Miller for helping me out with all the technical difficulties, and also to my beautiful friends Maya Luski, Senija Hadzich and Jess Sollis for being my company during my photo shoot which has made this website come to life!
Photography by Maya Luski
Hair and Make Up by Senija Hadzich (Button below goes to her Facebook link)
Editing by Jess Sollis and Myself
Also go check out Just Percussion at www.justpercussion.com.au for more percussion products at one of Brisbane's best percussion stores - it's where my beautiful vibraphone came from!!!
I can't wait to blog more projects, gigs and upcoming news here! Thanks for visiting the site, and go check out my other sites (Click on the Icons at the top left of the page) for more music and information!
Laugh, Love, Live Music!
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