Australia’s Aura Go enjoys a multifaceted musical life, performing as a soloist, chamber musician, Lieder pianist and conductor.
She has been soloist with many of Australia’s professional orchestras in concertos ranging from Bach, Mozart and Beethoven to Gubaidulina and Schnittke. Recent highlights include appearing as soloist with the Tapiola Sinfonietta in Aarre Merikanto’s Third Piano Concerto, and recitals in Denmark, Poland, Italy and Australia. As well as this, Aura is one of Musica Viva's FutureMaker artists, having recently finsiehd a residency at the Orange Regional Conservatorium.
Ahead of her appearance at Musica Viva festival this month, we spoke with her about the different angles of chamber music, what sets apart a great performance from a good one and much more.
Can you give us a few highlights from your time as a 2018-19 FutureMaker?
There have been so many! The chance to work closely with Genevieve Lacey, a consummate artist and a role model in so many ways, has certainly been an ongoing highlight and an absolute privilege. We’ve had some wonderful guest artists come in to our intensives to speak candidly about their lives and work. Bruce Gladwin from Back to Back Theatre, playwright Patricia Cornelius, writers Chloe Hooper and Zoe Morrison and choreographer Gideon Obarzanek are just a few of the stand outs from a long list of incredibly inspiring people who have joined us and continue to act as sounding boards for our projects. There have also been wonderful performance highlights. Giving a solo recital at the Utzon Room and playing chamber music with exceptional musicians at the Huntington Estate Music Festival were memorable and invaluable experiences.
You recently engaged in residencies at Orange Regional Conservatorium. What did you get up to, and how did you find the experience?
I spent two weeks as artist in resident at the Orange Regional Conservatorium in late February-early March and will be back for two weeks in May. It was a fantastic experience. I was delighted and touched by the openness, the warm and welcoming spirit and the genuine curiosity and love for music and learning that is shared by staff, students and their families. I did everything from giving a solo recital, conducting workshops and masterclasses, performance class, observing private lessons, sitting in on community choir, orchestra and ensemble rehearsals, attending lectures and conducting private lessons. I also visited primary and secondary schools in the region, performing for the students and discussing life in music. I am now in the midst of planning a collaborative concert for my next residency which will involve most of the piano faculty, students and hopefully the audience!
Your artistic research at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki addresses the aspect of creativity in classical music performance. How did you approach your research, and what was the most surprising thing you learned?
I’m looking specifically at some aspects of the Michael Chekhov acting technique and how his psychophysical approach can be applied to music-making and score-reading to awaken and develop our imagination and create performances that are alive and spontaneous. I took part in a number of excellent Chekhov workshops in London and was struck by how directly applicable the Chekhov work is to my experience at the piano. Since then, my approach to research has been largely authoethnographic: observing, analysing and documenting my own creative process. Using my own practice as a basis, I’m able to adapt Chekhov’s exercises specifically for musicians. I have also found these exercises and principles to be of great pedagogical value and use them in my own private teaching and in group workshops.