DESPITE being inspired by a children’s television show to play the violin, a young Peter Facer growing up in England discovered he wasn’t very good at it.
“I struggled on with it for awhile and then when I went to high school, I was very shrewd and had my eye on the school orchestra,” Facer said.
“I knew I wanted to be in the school orchestra but because my violin playing was so bad, they didn’t offer me a place.
“So I thought if I took up an unusual instrument, I would have a higher chance to get in the orchestra. A friend of mine had just taken up the bassoon and got in, so I thought I’d pick something similarly obscure and I happened on the oboe.”
His parents bought 11-year-old Facer the cheapest oboe they could find at the local music shop, without realising it would turn into his career.
He has since upgraded to the French-made Marigaux oboe.
Facer joined WASO in 2014 as principal oboe after finishing his studies at a music conservatoire in Germany.
“I had been to Australia when I was about 16 on a youth orchestra tour with the English Schools Orchestra and we did concerts in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane but I’d not been to Perth,” he said.
“I thought, ‘’Why not? I’m young and free and single. Let’s go to the other side of the world and see what happens’.”
The 29-year old said his main WASO highlight to date was performing in the Brahms Festival with principal conductor Asher Fisch.
Fisch returns to WASO this week to lead concerts Asher Fisch Conducts Sibelius, featuring a program of Mozart, Stravinsky and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2.
“We’ve never done Sibelius with Asher while I’ve been in the orchestra; he normally focuses on German or Austrian works,” Facer said.
“I think Sibelius will really suit him, so I’m looking forward to playing it.
“There’s one rather lovely oboe solo in the third movement of Sibelius but the oboe is quite prominent in the whole symphony. The solo is this beautiful melody that appears after a flurry of activity.”
Facer said he did not have favourite composers, rather, favourite pieces and Sibelius’s second symphony was much-loved.
“It’s just gorgeous; it’s really romantic but not in the sense of Brahms or Tchaikovsky,” he said.
“It’s romantic in a soulful, simplistic way rather than all of this highly charged stuff. It’s very accessible for audiences and even people who know very little about classical music can get a lot out of it.”
What: Asher Fisch Conducts Sibelius
Where: Perth Concert Hall
When: April 20 (Morning Symphony Series), 21 and 22