Tune In, Tune Out with Camerata- Queensland's Chamber Orchestra
Camerata- Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra has launched 5@5, an online concert series to bring peace and comfort through low-key solo performances by artists in their backyards.
5@5 is a response to the changing world, giving listeners the chance to slow down and breathe, broadcast daily on Facebook at 5pm.
The Creative Issue had a chat with Camerata Artistic Director, Brendan Joyce, about the program.
The Creative Issue: What inspired you to create the 5@5 free online performances?
Brendan Joyce: Well, everything has been cancelled for the foreseeable future. As an organisation, we asked ‘are we going to react or respond to this.’ A crisis requires creativity, to get our players to still be active. We wanted to help the community, share our love of the arts, and show generosity and kindness. So, it’s low-fi, set in our players’ backyards. There’s so much panic and unknown, we thought, what can we do to help, even if it’s just for five minutes a day.
TCI: Do you have a planned program for 5@5?
BJ: It’s ongoing, started on Monday. All players were invited to participate, and a few guests. We’re working with Brisbane actor Barbara Lowing. It’s a curated program, and the players come to me to ask what to play, so we have enough variety in the repertoire.
TCI: Are you looking at online rehearsals or streaming your concerts, now that COVID-19 has cancelled everything?
BJ: All options are on the table. Online streaming, unfortunately, is not possible, we’ve got no resources. As a small-to-medium organisation, with the social distancing rules, we can’t get the group together. But we’re working on new projects. We’re working with Luke Kennedy and Naomi Price to create a backing track, and looking at ways of connecting our orchestra online.
TCI: How can the community support your musicians during this time?
BJ: We’re overwhelmed by the response to 5@5 on our socials, with all the comments and appreciation. Like many arts organisations at the moment, we’re asking for people who have the means to donate by gifting their tickets back to us. But, we know that this is a time of significant financial hardship for all. When it’s all over, we just need the community to come to our shows.
TCI: How do you think Brisbane’s music industry will adapt to and recover from this crisis?
BJ: We’re seeing creative adaptations now, through online content, broadcasting concerts, using apps and sharing free versions of live music. Longer term, for classical groups like us, we’re facing building an online presence. It’s not naturally our scene, but we’re throwing back the question, do we need to meet together to have music. It’s fantastic, really. A silver lining in all this is the creativity and innovation we’re seeing. I’m optimistic.
In terms of recovery, there’s been huge loss of incomes and gigs, so I think, when we can, there’ll be a big rush for events. We need to work out how to get everyone back on track. We’re not competitive. The road to recovery and survival involves supporting and working together to rebuild our vibrant community.
TCI: In normal times, what does a typical day look like as artistic director for Camerata- Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra?
BJ: I start with a 6 am yoga class, then violin practise. My role is split between being a violinist, section leader, and artistic director. At 10 am, I have meeting with the team, on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I have lots of meetings with players, hirers, collaborators. I spent time listening to new music, keeping up with what other orchestras around the world are doing, and looking for new programming angles or ideas. My priority is programming, but I also solve issues with the team and so on.
TCI: What are some challenges of the role?
BJ: The main challenge is to balance my time as a violinist, section leader, and my office time. They’re very different head-spaces, with no overlap. Sometimes, I feel like a split personality. It can be distracting. Office tasks have more urgency, deadlines, and are more critical, with a potent impact. So then I get home and try to play violin, but my head is still full of a stressful meeting I had in the morning.
TCI: What other ideas do you have for digital performances/ interactions during the next few months?
BJ: We’re rolling out an audience interaction program. I can’t reveal too much about it, but involves the audience guessing who wrote a piece of music that is playing, things like that. We’re continuing 5@5. There’s more ideas coming in everyday, working with other non-musical artists. It’s a busy, innovative time, we’re staying active and working hard.
We’ve all gotta work hard to be optimistic, to choose the path of optimism. Don’t focus on the negatives, or you will be overwhelmed. I firmly believe that with a positive approach, we can come out of this stronger.
So, sit back, relax and #TuneInTuneOut with Camerata- Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra.
What: Free online performances by solo artists from Camerata
When: Daily, 5pm, for 5 minutes
Where: Live on Facebook
If you are a musician who is struggling due to COVID-19, or a music-lover with the means to donate, please visit the sites below.