Welcome to our two newest ACO members – Glenn Christensen and Liisa Pallandi
Congratulations to the newest members of the ACO, Glenn Christensen and Liisa Pallandi. Glenn’s and Liisa’s appointments are particularly special to the ACO as they are both former Emerging Artists, having completed our education and mentoring program in 2012. Liisa and Glenn took some time out while on tour with The Four Seasons to tell us what it’s like to be part of the ACO.
How have you been enjoying your first national tour as permanent players with the ACO?
G: I’m really enjoying the tour – it’s a nice feeling to no longer be on trial, and to join the orchestra on such an interesting program is incredibly fun and rewarding. Life on tour can be a little tough with early mornings and late nights, lots of travel but doing it with this group of people makes it enjoyable. I really like getting to know each of the cities we visit – it’s a little personal goal to seek out the best bars and coffee as well as running routes in each place.
L: It’s amazing how different it feels to be ‘one of the team’. Everyone was very supportive of Glenn and I whilst we were on trial, but it’s such a different (and enjoyable!) feeling to be a permanent member. Ironically, I think my playing is much freer and more confident now than during my trial period. On these national tours everyone seems to have a tried and tested routine (where they go to eat, shop, exercise, friends they always catch up with …) so I’m really looking forward to touring regional Queensland with ACO2 and America with ACO later in the year, just to see what it’s like when everyone is in unfamiliar territory.
How did the Emerging Artists’ Program prepare you for life as a professional full-time player with an orchestra, specifically the ACO?
G: Getting an insight into the ACO’s ‘style’ of playing was one of the best things about the EA program. Also having regular contact with a mentor from the orchestra was invaluable. It’s quite cool and special to me that my mentor Aiko and I now often stand next to each other as colleagues.
L: I’m not sure I’d be in this position today if it weren’t for the encouragement and guidance from Helena. She was an amazing mentor – very thoughtful and honest – and I always love playing alongside her. During my EA year I was lucky enough to sit next to Richard for The Reef tour which was a big learning curve for me – there was no ‘switching off’ on that tour!
Why would you encourage other musicians to participate in the EA program?
G: The EA program is unique as it and musicians an insight into how to be a part of a rigorous touring schedule while presenting concerts of the highest calibre. Sharing this quality of music making with fantastic mentors, internationally acclaimed guest artists and soloists, and of course the other EA’s makes this program an experience I cannot recommend highly enough.
L: Every established ensemble works in a slightly different way and the EA program is in my mind the best way of getting to grips with how the ACO operates. The mentors are very generous with their time and knowledge and you learn so much just playing alongside them. As an added bonus, it’s the most enjoyable way to see regional Australia! Because of ACO2 I have been snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, seen crocodiles in Darwin, stayed at all manner of weird and wonderful hotels and explored the most North-Western point of Australia …
Have you always want to be part of an orchestra?
G: I often considered being a vet, but I think being in an orchestra is probably much more fun.
L: I have always loved playing in groups, big or small, but I wasn’t always sure I could make it a career. Other things I vaguely considered were writing, journalism, law, and being a mermaid.
What do you know now that you are part of the ACO that you didn’t know prior to joining the orchestra as a permanent member?
G: I love learning about all the players’ different lives, their hobbies and their individual little quirks. It makes life interesting!
L: How much goes on behind the scenes! I’ve never had to go to board meetings or strategic planning days before and it’s interesting to see the ‘non-artistic’ facets of the organisation. I’m also learning that it’s not so crazy to over-pack on tour. You really never know when you’ll want your own tea bags, snacks or that little something to make your hotel room feel more like home.
Are there any programs in particular you are looking forward to performing this year?
G: I’m particularly looking forward to Brahms 3. I came from the symphony orchestra background, and love these bigger works. To be able to play this with the ACO will be awesome.
Talented young Australian string players with extensive performance experience, aged between 18 and 27, are invited to apply for the ACO’s 2016 Emerging Artists program. Visit aco.com.au/emerging_artists for further details.