Blog / Interview With Trumpeter Leanne Sullivan

Interview With Trumpeter Leanne Sullivan

Posted on 9 Oct 2015 by Cristina Maldonado

Richard Tognetti & the ACO. Photo: Simon van Boxtel
25 years ago Frans Brüggen conducted Mozart's last symphonic masterworks with the ACO in Tognetti's first year as leader. At that time, trumpeter Leanne Sullivan performed with him and the Orchestra. Now, Richard and Leanne share the stage again. We caught up with her during our Mozart's Last Symphonies, see what we found out.
The music industry tends to be a fickle business. What does it mean being a professional musician for over a quarter of a century?
I have been very fortunate to have been able to make a living as a professional musician. Being a free-lance musician has been challenging in some regards but having the freedom to work with different ensembles and orchestras such as ACO has been rewarding and fulfilling.
What do you remember from the Mozart’s Last Symphonies concert from 25 years ago?
I remember the concert was directed by Frans Brüggen, the great early music conductor and recorder player. It was a very exciting and inspiring project for me as a young musician working with the Orchestra.

Mozart's Symphony No.40 second movement - Andante
Do you perceive Mozart’s last symphonic masterworks in a different way?
Back then, this music was fresh and new to me. I grew up in the brass band tradition and hadn't been exposed to a lot of classical music. To be introduced to Mozart's last 3 symphonies in this exciting environment was a revelation. I have since performed these symphonies many times with different groups so yes, my perception has changed. It's hard to compare though.


ACO Brochure Cover 1990.
Which similarities and differences can you perceive of Richard’s interpretation of Mozart’s last symphonic masterworks?
25 years is a long time ago and to be honest it is difficult to remember specifics. The main difference is of course that we are playing these symphonies on period instruments in this concert series. I wasn't performing on the natural (valveless) trumpet back then. The sound is so different when the string instruments are using gut strings and the wind and brass are playing on instruments or copies of instruments from Mozart's time. The balance is different, the brass are often asked to play louder on these instruments which is not usually the case when using modern trumpets in an ensemble of this size. Quite the opposite actually.
How was to share the stage with Richard back then and nowadays?
Of course some things have changed but essentially Richard's energy, enthusiasm and passion for music making is just as vibrant and infectious now as I remember it being back in 1990.

Richard Tognetti and Leanne Sullivan backstage at City Recital Hall, Oct 2015.
What are the first things that come to your mind when you hear the name: Richard Tognetti?
ACO, violin and surfing.
How do you see the ACO’s evolution in the Australian musical landscape?
Under Richard's leadership the ACO has established itself as one of the leading chamber orchestra's on the world stage. It is an ensemble that young Australian musicians aspire to be a part of and that Australian audiences adore.
What music would you most like to play with Richard and the ACO?
As a trumpeter there are so many great works that I could name. However, I think some of the most exciting performances that I've played in my career have been of Beethoven's symphonies with ACO. I would never tire of playing any of Beethoven's symphonies with Richard and the Orchestra.