WASO cellists present free Corner Stage concerts at Festival of Chamber Music


Louise McKay. Picture:  Andrew Ritchie
Louise McKay. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

WASO musicians will be in the spotlight with the presentation of 12 intimate concerts across two days during the inaugural Festival of Chamber Music on March 2 and 3.

Associate principal cellist Louise McKay, who is performing in free and tickets concerts on the program, said the festival would give audiences the chance to get to know their orchestral musicians a little better.

“It will give them the opportunity to see how we personally express ourselves rather than in the mix of the orchestra,” McKay said.

“Quite often we’re given specific instructions by the conductor how something is supposed to sound but with this we can be more independent; there’s more artistic license with chamber music, so I hope that really comes across as a sincere and genuine expression of the music we’re playing.”

McKay will spend part of the festival playing three free Corner Stage concerts in Perth Concert Hall foyer with principal cellist, and her former teacher, Rod McGrath.

She will perform Bach suites composed for a single cello while McGrath will present the suites of Britten.

“I played piano and cello during primary school and then in high school I had an arm injury which meant I had to stop playing for 18 months,” McKay said.

“When I took it up again, I decided to focus my efforts on cello, mostly because it meant more playing with other people.

“After my arm injury, Rod helped me get back into cello and taught me privately through the rest of high school. He was quite demanding but in a good way and I think that’s what you want in a teacher.

“It’s wonderful sitting next to him now because I have this understanding of his commitment to music making and his expectations of himself as well as the people around him. It’s nice to be able to try and live up to that.”

McKay joined WASO full-time in 2011 after furthering her studies in Los Angeles, where she discovered a second passion – cycling.

“When I lived in Los Angeles I decided I should probably learn to exercise as well as eat as much as I wanted; that’s basically how it started,” she said.

“Since I moved back to Perth I was able to join a cycling club who have encouraged me to start racing and I’ve got quite into it. I’m training five or six days a week now and keeping track of my data and all those things cyclists like to do.

“Playing the cello is quite physical too and I find that keeping fit outside of my cello practice is quite beneficial to be able to sit still for a long time; it’s sitting still but being active with small muscles. My parents tell me I do too much, but I don’t think so.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: WASO Festival of Chamber Music

Where: Perth Concert Hall

When: March 2 and 3

Program and tickets: www.waso.com.au