For the first performance of Ensemble Sacamano, you’ll be performing two greats of chamber repertoire: Mozart’s String Quintet in G minor and Brahms’ String Sextet in B Flat Major. Can you tell me about the programming of this particular performance - how you chose these two pieces and what you think they say about the ensemble's overall ethos?
Firstly, it’s just an absolute pleasure for us to be able to rehearse and perform these pieces. We’ve also chosen the repertoire to appeal to a broad audience. The beauty of joining the concert and the charity together means that hopefully some music lovers will come and learn about a great local initiative, and some interested locals might discover, or rediscover, a love of chamber music.
All donations you receive on the night will go towards the Carlton Family Learning Project. What drew you to this organisation?
One of the first details we like to sort out is which charity or cause we'll be raising money for, so we decided to ask our gorgeous venue The Church of All Nations (CAN) whether they worked closely with any charities. The Family Learning Project was suggested as a great community initiative that could always do with more "love and support". The program gives children (often from non-English speaking families) a chance to get their homework done with volunteer tutors and teachers. There are over 90 students registered from twelve different schools and the program runs three days a week.
Starting an ensemble takes a lot more than planning repertoire and rehearsing the music - there is a myriad of smaller tasks that go on behind the scenes! What have been some of the biggest challenges of launching Ensemble Sacamano and organising your first performance?
Our first concert together as a sextet was in April this year, so we had our first taste of what it takes to put on a concert then. I think once we decided to move to a group with a name, things became a little more complex. People start throwing around words like ‘target audience’ and ‘brand’ and ‘marketing strategy’. It’s all necessary – and it’s actually good to look at your industry from that perspective. The most time-consuming thing for me has been getting my head around creating websites, social media and blogs. There are a lot of great free resources out there, so it’s just a case of trial and error for finding the platform that works best for you.
Everyone in Ensemble Sacamano performs regularly in orchestras as well as chamber groups. How does your orchestral experience influence the way you work together?
I think everyone that works in an orchestra values efficiency. For this chamber music project, that probably translates into a well-prepared part and clear language in rehearsal.
Do you have any words of advice for young musicians looking to start their own chamber initiatives?
I would say just go for it, surround yourself with musicians you respect and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Ensemble Sacamano perform to raise money for The Family Learning Project at the Carlton Church of All Nations on Monday October 30 at 6:30pm. Entry by donation.