BRIAN Maloney had no idea a decision at age 10 while growing up in Boston would have such an influence on his life, taking him to the other side of the world as principal percussion of WASO.
“In my elementary school, we had to take band in fourth grade and I had the choice between trumpet and drums,” Maloney said.
“I had asthma and thought it might be better to be a drummer; in retrospect, playing trumpet probably would have helped my asthma.”
The 26-year-old studied at Boston University and New England Conservatory before a whim application online to WASO last year resulted in more than Maloney ever expected.
“All orchestra musicians know how competitive it is and the challenges to get a spot; it’s a very coveted thing in the music world,” Maloney said.
“Before I came to WASO I came close to winning other auditions, at least 20, each where I was competing against 60 or 70 other people.
“It’s one of those things where you get so close that you can almost taste it.
“I think one of the greatest things playing in an orchestra as good as WASO is that all the musicians have been through that more or less; they all know what the defeat is like and also the joy of winning.”
Maloney moved to Perth in February, where he immediately fell in love with the city and Cottesloe Beach.
He said his WASO appointment as principal percussion was humbling.
“Up until this point I have been around fantastic musicians my own age but I think I’m the youngest at WASO,” Maloney said.
“It’s an interesting experience because I’ve been given this leadership position where I have to make a lot of decisions and work with people who are so much more experienced than I am.
“And I guess flattering that they’re willing to trust me on a lot of issues.”
Maloney will be joined by fellow young musicians, violinists Kate Sullivan and Christina Katsimbardis, for WASO’s performance of The Planets and The Rite of Spring at Perth Concert Hall on August 5 and 6.
“Both pieces are iconic, especially for percussion,” he said.
“Stravinsky wrote for different techniques on a number of instruments that no composer before him had really successfully written for.
“And Holst is the same in that we have this whole palette of percussion that a composer can choose from.
“I’m looking forward to playing both of these pieces in their entirety because I’ve never played either of them in a concert setting; it’s exciting to add these awesome pieces to my repertoire.”
What: WASO – The Planets and The Rite of Spring
Where: Perth Concert Hall
When: August 5 and 6