Musica Viva's new podcast lands

Hosted by Artistic Director Paul Kildea, the Chamber of Musical Curiosities is a chamber music podcast exploring the world in and around Musica Viva Australia. When brainstorming names for this new audio venture, the image that came most vividly to Kildea’s mind was that of a Wunderkammer. Also known as ‘cabinets of curiosities’, these rooms emerged in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, filled with exotic objects: antlers, claws, stuffed birds, artworks plundered from many different lands, a skeleton playing the violin. It is also a pretty neat way of describing a chamber music concert – a chamber of marvels.

This season features an eclectic range of guests in conversation with Paul Kildea, as both parties reflect upon creativity, their careers, and their passion for chamber music. Australian academic and musicologist Malcolm Gillies, violinist Wilma Smith, writer and broadcaster Jane Caro, and actor and theatre director John Bell all feature. 

Listen to the podcast

Episode 6: Alice Humphries and Paul Kildea: Creativity and pushing boundaries

In this episode, Paul Kildea is joined by contemporary classical, jazz and experimental composer, Alice Humphries. This insightful conversation touches on Alice's early years and her love for a wide range of musical genres and instruments, they discuss creativity and pushing boundaries within arranging music and composing during a pandemic.

Alice's new work for viola and piano was commissioned by Geoff Stearn and will be premiered by Christopher Moore and Caroline Almonte in November 2021.

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Episode 5: Genevieve Lacey and Paul Kildea: The Anatomy of a Duet

In this episode of the Chamber of Musical Curiosities, Artistic Director Paul Kildea talks with the Australian artist Genevieve Lacey. As he eloquently notes in the introduction, to simply refer to Genevieve as ‘a recorder player, is missing the point’, as she has forged a rich career, with credits as a performer, composer, and curator. In this conversation, Genevieve reflects upon the emergence of her artistic practise, talks about how ‘a life in art is one of constant evolution’, and reflects on the genesis, and importance of Musica Viva’s Future Makers program. She doesn’t leave without revealing tantalising information about the new collaboration she’s developed with her friend and colleague, the harpist Marshall McGuire, which they’ll be touring for Musica Viva in 2021.

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Episode 4: Jane Caro and Paul Kildea: A not so linear path

In the fourth episode social commentator, broadcaster, author and lecturer, Jane and Paul discuss the not so linear path of her career and beginnings in advertising, identifying as an out, loud and proud feminist, miming the flute and dealing with age discrimination. With music creeping its way into her life as a teenager, during the era of rock and roll Jane relives the experience of attending Led Zeppelin’s infamous concert in Sydney and talks about the chemical reactions of music and being a passionate audience member.

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Episode 3: John Bell and Paul Kildea: Shakespeare and influences on Australian theatre

In the third episode of the Chamber of Musical Curiosities podcast, Paul Kildea is joined by actor, producer, director and author John Bell, known for his influence on the development of Australian theatre through the 20th century. Together they reminisce on Paul's first encounter with John's work in 1984, his fond memories of University years, and leaving Australia to join the Royal Shakespeare Company; the moment in his life where he "really learned what acting was about".

John touches on his time running Nimrod Theatre Company, before a period of freelancing which would inevitably lead to founding the Bell Shakespeare company in 1990, and the motivations behind this pivotal moment in his life. John and Paul then lead the conversation in a musical direction, discussing the use of music in Shakespearean productions.

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Episode 2: Wilma Smith and Paul Kildea: Musical journeys, founding ensembles & Strike A Chord

In the second episode, Artistic Director Paul Kildea is in conversation with Musica Viva’s own Artistic Director of Competitions, Wilma Smith. Together they discuss Wilma’s musical journey from New Zealand to the United States, her subsequent studies with the legendary Dorothy DeLay, and the founding of the New Zealand String Quartet.

Wilma shares the fascinating and fortunate story of how her 1761 Guadagnini violin came into her life, and reflects upon the importance of chamber playing in a musician’s career, and the extraordinary talent uncovered by Musica Viva’s latest venture, Strike A Chord. Read the show notes and transcript here.

Click on the play button below to listen.

Episode 1: Malcolm Gillies and Paul Kildea: Creativity, careers and chamber music

Welcome to the Chamber of Musical Curiosities! In this episode, Musica Viva's Artistic Director Paul Kildea and Australian academic and musicologist Malcolm Gillies reflect upon creativity, their careers, and their passion for chamber music.

Read the show notes and transcript here.