MCO’s Inspirations can be heard on Sunday 19 March 2:30pm at Federation Square and online via Australian Digital Concert Hall; on tour at Wangaratta, Mt Beauty, Swifts Creek, Bairnsdale, Sale and Castlemaine.
MCO: Who or What inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
Merewyn: I was fortunate to grow up in a large, musical family so I was inspired by my parents initially. I continued learning violin all through high school. In fact, my mother taught me daily – and it was quite unique to learn from my mother rather than a music teacher. My father was definitely my biggest cheerleader! I was also influcenced by my older siblings who were very musical. I looked up to them and I just wanted to be like them.
Towards the end of high school I became very involved in sport and I wanted to be a physiotherapist. However, I failed the GMAT so that put an end to that! Two of my older siblings were already studying at the Conservatorium in Melbourne and they seemed to be having such a great time there – so I thought that might be the place for me!
Once I got to University, I was definitely influcenced by my teacher, William Hennessy. But I was inspired by other musicians, fellow string players. I was inspired by big concerts, masterclasses and visiting instrumentalists from overseas, not necessarily just string players. I feel that collectively these all influenced my career.
MCO: What do you enjoy about playing the compositions for the upcoming concert, “Inspirations”?
Merewyn: The MCO Quartet has just commenced rehearsals for the upcoming chamber concert, “Inspirations” and I am so excited to be playing the chosen works.
For me there is an element of nostaligia associated with playing both Haydn and Beethoven. We start with a late Haydn quartet and end with Beethoven’s dramatic Op 95. And, sandwiched in the middle, is a Haydn-inspired composition by American composer Caroline Shaw. This is exciting becasue it explores external string techniques.
I hope the works chosen will be inspiring to musicians, string players and music lovers alike.
MCO: What do you do offstage that provides inspiration on stage?
Merewyn: Off stage I am inspired by movies and documentaries, particulary those about up and coming musicians, dancers and sports people.
My hobby is tap dancing and I love the two worlds of performance arts – dance and music. For me, I find they influence each other.
MCO: Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
Merewyn: At home, the Primrose Potter Salon at the Melbourne Recital Centre is my favourite venue in which to perform. It is an intimate venue with fabulous acoustics – perfect for smaller concerts.
Overseas, my favourite venue in which to perform is definitely Rolston Recital Hall in Banff in Canada. It has the most amazing windows which provide a stunning view of autumn foliage or snow-capped peaks. It really allows you to feel at one with, and influcenced by, the magnitude of nature.
MCO: What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Merewyn: My advice to aspiring musicians is just to say yes! Say yes to opportunities to play, to listen, to create – because when you’re young, you have more energy, you have more time.
There’s a world of inspiration out there, and saying yes opens up opportunities to become inspired and to pursue your passion.
Just say “Yes!”