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Even though our musicians have been on a break from ANAM this last month,  it doesn’t mean they are taking it easy. In fact, many of them are as busy as ever! And that’s no exception for ANAM violist Pat Brearley who managed to squeeze in some time to answer a few questions for us whilst sitting in a German airport after a cancelled flight on the AYO tour.

Why did you come to ANAM?
Why wouldn’t you!? ANAM is an incredibly unique place. To be able to come to an academy where you are surrounded by colleagues of such a high calibre, and being in constant contact with all of the staff, is something really special, and exactly what I needed when I came to Melbourne in 2014. It was a huge learning curve for the first six months, but you soon become familiar with the challenges of such a busy program, and start to look forward to the craziness that comes with it!

What project has been the highlight so far of your time at ANAM?
Last year I had the pleasure of playing the Shostakovich Piano Quintet with Anthony Marwood. This was easily the highlight of my time at ANAM so far. Anthony is such an incredible musician, and to get to play one of my favorite chamber works with him was incredible.

What’s the biggest life lesson you’ve learned during your time here?
Coffee! And when you’re not drinking coffee, practice.

What’s it like being taught by Caroline Henbest? 
Fantastic. Caroline has such an incredible understanding of music in general, as well as string quartet playing, that it makes lessons very enjoyable, challenging and inspiring all at the same time.

You performed in the Gala Concert last year under Simone Young. How did that go?
Ha ha, I remember this concert well. The first half went smoothly. Then come on and began Brahms 2, a personal favorite of mine… We get to the bottom of the first page, and my ‘A’ string decides it’s had enough, and snaps, flying off and unwinding my ‘D’ string in the process. Needless to say, I was pretty annoyed! But there was no way I was missing out on this symphony, so I simply strung up my ‘D’ string in some rests, and played the piece with three strings! I have to say, it was a pretty fun experience, but I can’t say I’d recommend it! Here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen this year…

What are your favourite things to do outside of ANAM?
Every time I answer a question like this, any teacher that as anything to do with my career shudders. I love my outdoor adventures, and will take any opportunity to get out there and go a little crazy! Some of my favourite activities include snowboarding, multi-day hiking, mountain biking, soccer, and rock climbing, but sadly I had to give the climbing away last year as my fingers were constantly getting injured. Probably a good call I reckon.

Favourite way to unwind post gig…
A single malt whiskey, hot chips, and some Pink Floyd.

Any tips for auditions?
Recently I’ve been finding ways of actually enjoying the excerpts/concertos that need to be learnt for auditions. This has been a big help for me personally when it comes to performing well and actually enjoying what can be a very stressful, and often negative experience. Aside from that, practice, listen, and stay positive.

You’re originally from country NSW, then spent time in Tassie and now in Melbourne. How was the move to the big smoke for you?
It’s been fine! I spent some time in Brisbane before Melbourne, so I think that helped me get used to a busier city, with actual traffic lights. It did take me a while to get used to those hook turns though!

What is something that we may not know about you?
I’m a volunteer fire fighter back home in Wingello, and I have shaken the hand of President Obama…

Find out more about Pat and all of the ANAM Musicians at anam.com.au 

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