WHEN Sharn McIver was in Year 5 and asked to write down what instrument she would like to play, she chose trumpet, having recently seen James Morrison on Hey Hey It’s Saturday.
The decision was one that carried the central Queensland-raised McIver from primary to high school and in to Queensland Conservatorium, until she did a masterclass with famous Australian horn player Barry Tuckwell at the end of her second year of studies.
“I’d never really noticed the french horn before and I thought ‘What is that?’,” McIver said.
“It looked fancy, sounded amazing and was really eye-opening, so I got a friend to lend me a second-hand french horn that I mucked around on before going to the lecturer of french horn at the Conservatorium and asked for a lesson.
“He said no, told me I was a trumpet player and I should just play the trumpet.
“So I got all the Mozart horn concertos and sat in the practice room next to his room and blasted them out for six hours a day until he gave me a lesson; he said I was more suited to horn and I ended up changing.”
McIver has since played in orchestras of musicals for Love Never Dies, Les Miserables and South Pacific.
She joined WA Symphony Orchestra in 2014 as associate principal horn and will combine her two passions, french horn and musicals, when the orchestra presents From Broadway to Hollywood at Perth Concert Hall on November 4 and 6.
The WASO concerts will feature British vocalist Mary Carewe, conductor Guy Noble, who will return in December for Symphony in the City, and a program including songs from Les Miserables, Chicago and The Wizard of Oz.
“I love all the tunes and especially the horn parts are fantastic, so I was pretty excited when I heard about the concerts,” McIver said.
“Our section all play Alexander horns, which is a German model of horns (produced in Mainz); I think we might be the only section in Australia who all play on the same horns.
“I changed to Alexander six months before I got the job at WASO. It’s got that professional horn sound and you have to be quite strong to pick one up because they have a lot of resistance to make the sound. I think you need to know what you’re doing before you change to an Alex.”
What: From Broadway to Hollywood
Where: Perth Concert Hall
When: November 4 and 6