Soundbites are hour long lunch time concerts curated and performed by ANAM musicians. This coming Friday 11 May, the Tasman Trio take to the stage presenting works they’ve honed at the Adam Summer School for Chamber Music earlier this year.
In and amongst rehearsals we were lucky to find some time with ANAM violinist and Tasman Trio member Laura Barton to talk ensemble origins, summer school and rehearsing.
What’s in a name? Tell us a little about the ‘Tasman Trio’. How and when did the trio first form as a group?
Laura Barton (LB): After a long day of rehearsing and a series of unfortunate events – cello strings breaking, Liam’s flights cancelling – we decided we needed a drink! We met some mates at the pub and saw this cocktail called a Glow Worm (it had a snappy fluorescent stick in it) and thought that looked like a good idea. Fast forward a week later and we had a gig in Wellington – we needed a name, fast! That was the first and last concert by the Glow Worm Trio; we changed our name to Tasman Trio to reflect this ‘Trans-Tasman’ partnership between the three of us.
Earlier this year the Tasman Trio spent 10-days in Nelson as participants in the Adam Summer School for Chamber Music. What was that like?
(LB): Super intense; the course involved one or two tutorial sessions every day, with rehearsals interspersed between them. At the end of each day, all the participants and tutors came together for a masterclass. It had its ups and downs; when you’re spending up to 12 hours a day in a small room with the same two people, it can make or break a friendship! Fortunately, it made ours. It was a very inspiring week, working with such incredible mentors. The two finale concerts were of such a high standard, and it was very impressive how far every group had come in a week.
What did the application process involve?
(LB): There was a written application as well as a recorded audition, and then successful applicants are assigned a group and repertoire according to their playing level.
Both you and Liam must have relished being Daniel’s tour guides in your home town. Did you do anything particularly NZ specific when you were there?
(LB): We actually had a lot of things that we wanted to do with Dan on his first NZ trip, but in the end, barely had time. Which just means he’ll have to come back! Mostly it involved experiencing amazing coffee in between rehearsals, and exploring the craft beer scene after them. Nelson is also surrounded by the most glorious scenery…
The upcoming Soundbite ‘Island Songs’ is curated by you. What can we can expect?
(LB): ‘Island Songs’ is a repeat performance of the concert we put on in Wellington following the Summer School. At that time, we’d been too busy rehearsing the Brahms at the School, and we only had the two days when we arrived in Wellington to put together the Psathas. This time around, we’ve had months, so are feeling much more comfortable! Island Songs is a work by NZ composer John Psathas, whose work and practice draws heavily from his Greek heritage.
Being an ANAM musician is pretty intense, with the Professional Performance Program bursting with activity – how do you manage to find time to make the Tasman Trio rehearse?
(LB): Putting on this Soundbite gives us an opportunity to really take charge of the whole process from conception to delivery, allowing us to consider important aspects which go on behind the scenes – necessary in order to work as freelance musicians in today’s competitive industry. Also, it was particularly important to us to put on a concert in Melbourne, to acknowledge the support we received from everyone here in making our trip to the Adam Summer School possible. Once we got our ANAM schedules for the year, we sat down and planned out rehearsal times for the months leading up to the concert. In having to work around all our schedules, it’s mostly ended up being rehearsing for a few hours on Sunday afternoons followed by Liam providing a glorious home-cooked dinner for us – could’ve been worse!
If you were to describe the Tasman Trio in three words – what would they be?
(LB): Dan, Laura, Liam.
SOUNDBITE: ISLAND SONGS
Fri 11 May, 1pm
Tickets $5 available at the door