Music students play with industry mentors at Bleach* Festival

Queensland Conservatorium alumnus Julia Hill is collaborating with Griffith students on a performance at the Bleach Festival. Photo: Katelyn Gillard Photography

Students from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University will perform with industry mentors at Bleach* Festival.

After a week of intense rehearsal, a special chamber ensemble featuring Griffith University students and members of the renowned Southern Cross Soloists (SXS) will perform at the Gold Coast Botanical Gardens this Sunday.

The musicians will play a program of works by Australian composer and pianist Elena Kats-Chernin.

Inspiring mentors

Cello student Ho-Se Kim

First year cello student Ho-Se Kim said the collaboration had helped hone his musical skills.

“It’s definitely made me a better musician – watching how the more experienced players put their own stamp on each of the pieces has taught me a lot and made me a bit more daring,” he said.

Ho-Se said he valued the industry connections and exposure to a wider audience provided by Griffith’s partnership with Bleach* Festival.

“This is a way for us to connect with professional musicians,” he said.

“The fact that we are playing as part of a big festival allows us to showcase our skills for audiences who might not necessarily come to a concert hall to hear classical music.”

Creating a buzz

Double bass student Amelia Cherry

Second-year double bass student Amelia Cherry said she was relishing the chance to perform live again with an easing of COVID restrictions.

“Performing in front of a live audience again is amazing,” she said.

“We spent so many months locked away in our practice rooms, and I’ve really missed the buzz you get from playing in front of a crowd.

“To be working with musicians of this calibre makes it even more exciting – the energy and experience they bring is rubbing off on all of us.

“It’s inspiring to think that in a couple of years, that could be me.”

A passion project

Griffith graduate Julia Hill. Photo: Katelyn Gillard Photography

Recent Bachelor of Music graduate Julia Hill already performs with the Southern Cross Soloists as part of their Next Gen program, which provides a bridge between tertiary study and a professional music career.

The talented violinist was to have completed an Honours year in Japan as part of a New Colombo Plan scholarship, but the pandemic forced a change of plan.

“I had to postpone my studies overseas until 2022, but I’m thrilled to be playing with the Southern Cross Soloists and the fact we’re able to perform with students from the Con makes this performance extra special,” she said.

“That’s what I loved most about the Con – it’s a really close-knit family of people who are passionate about music.

“The students are given amazing external performance opportunities, and I think it’s vital for them to play with professional musicians and get outside the concert hall.”

Shaping the next generation

Griffith piano graduate Alex Raineri

Fellow Southern Cross Soloists member and Queensland Conservatorium piano alumnus Alex Raineri said the collaboration was a unique opportunity.

“It’s nice to work with these wonderful young players in a professional setting,” he added.

“We’re playing together as equals, which is a really enriching experience for all of us.

“I definitely got to work on really interesting performance projects as a student at the Con, and it all shapes who you are as a musician.”

Griffith partnership provides industry connections

The concert is one of a host of performance opportunities available to students as part of Griffith University’s three-year partnership deal with Bleach* Festival, considered the Gold Coast’s premiere arts and culture event.

Associate Professor Peter Morris

Queensland Conservatorium Deputy Director (Engagement), Associate Professor Peter Morris, said the partnership allowed students to perform with some of the best musicians in the country.

“Many of the Southern Cross Soloists are actually Queensland Conservatorium alumni, so it’s inspiring for our current students to see a direct pathway from the Conservatorium to professional work in the industry,” he said.

Bleach* Festival has attracted more than 500,000 people since 2012. The program features work across all genres including dance, theatre, contemporary music, opera and installation.

Sounds Like Spring, featuring students from the Queensland Conservatorium and the Southern Cross Soloists, will take place at the Gold Coast Botanic Gardens on Sunday 22 November.