Exciting high brass: Redland Sinfonia’s Trumpetissimo - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views
Local Arts

Dr Graeme Denniss and Timothy Reed. Photos: Supplied.

For those who rejoice in the glorious, golden song of trumpet RPAC has just the show for you, the Redland Sinfonia’s Trumpetissimo, devised and conducted by multi award-winning Dr Graeme Denniss and featuring soloist Timothy Reed.

Redland Sinfonia (originally the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra) was founded in 1986 by flower farmer and Shire President Merv Genrich, who wanted Redland locals to be able to enjoy quality music without having to travel to Brisbane. Graeme, Sinfonia’s Artistic Director and Conductor since 2014, brings with him a wealth of knowledge, experience and a passion for orchestral music.

“I’ve been hooked on it since I was 11,” he says. “My grandfather was a church organist with a wide range of musical skills and one of my uncles was an internationally recognised concert pianist, so perhaps it’s inherited.”

A musical polymath in his own right, Graeme’s career has seen him in demand for his many professional skills; pianist, French horn player, conductor, composer, arranger, teacher, adjudicator, artistic director, lecturer and presenter, but he says that his real joy is working with the Sinfonia.

“It brings together my entire skill set; the joy is two hours on stage four times a year in our concerts, getting the best out of the musicians who have been entrusted to my care,” he says.

“Being the Artistic Director is a huge job; administration and finding musicians are ongoing tasks. Then for each concert there’s deciding the theme, doing the research, selecting and arranging the music to suit the strengths of the orchestra sections and individual musicians, and finding quirky little ‘bonbons’ to plant as surprises in the program. Then there’s the work of preparing the introductory notes; I typically do about ten drafts before I’m completely happy with them.”

Graeme, who is largely driven by narrative, is a natural communicator, whether for adult or youth concerts or in rehearsals.

“I’ve learned the value of a well-placed joke and often find that a concept can be most easily described by relating it to a lived experience,” he says. “If you start with something familiar that people understand you can then move on to something less known, bringing them with you. I just love talking about music.”

Judging from the commitment of the orchestra members, they get as much out of the experience as their maestro does.

“The Sinfonia offers retired and emerging musicians a very special experience. An orchestra is a complete musical ensemble that combines brass, woodwind, strings, percussion so we can play any style of music. Also, different attitudes come in with different instruments so we’re constantly learning from each other and senior orchestra members give me valuable feedback from their experiences. Members come for the social contact and for the joy of working to a common goal – a performance in a professional, ticketed environment.”

For that goal to be met, Graeme demands a professional standard of presentation.

“The performances may not always be perfect but the presentation must be,” he says. “I’m a dictator, albeit a benevolent one; it’s the only way this can work.

“If musicians become distressed about a mistake they’ve made I remind them that next to their chair there’s a little pile of broken notes that will be swept away after the performance – swept away and gone.”

Of the soloist Timothy Reed, a performer and teacher who holds several degrees in music, Graeme says he has something special.

“It’s the sound he creates and his ability to project it. For each of the four pieces he will be playing he creates a different sound – this is a talent to watch!”

Trumpetissimo will make the rafters ring on Saturday 15 June 2:00pm in the RPAC Concert Hall.

To book or for more information on the program call 3829 8131 or visit rpac.com.au.

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