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Musica Viva Sessions – Susan Bradley

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5 Feb 2020

An Audible History of the Tuba via the Serpent, the Ophicleide, and the Cimbasso

Join Susan Bradley as she travels to the beginning of tuba history, following its development from the snaky serpent, through the sad tale of the short-lived ophicleide, taking a side trip to the Italian cousin, the cimbasso, and culminating in the modern tuba.

She bravely confronts the loneliness of the solo tuba player in an exploration of music for unaccompanied tuba, featuring composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Barton Cummings, Malcolm Arnold, Lachlan Davidson, Johann Heinrich Schmelzer, Lennon-McCartney, Don Stratton, Arthur Sullivan, and even Richard the Lionheart. 

The performance runs for approximately 60 minutes, with no interval.

Listen to Susan's interview with Andrew Ford on ABC's The Music Show.

Susan Bradley is an orchestral and solo tuba player, specialising in historic low brass: ophicleide, cimbasso and serpent. She holds the degree of Master of Music Studies from the University of Melbourne, and is a Fellow and Licentiate of Trinity College of Music London.

Susan also studied at the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne State College. Her teachers include John Fletcher, Denis Wick, Stephen Wick, and John Jenkins in the United Kingdom, and John Woods and Steve Rossé in Australia. She has had works written for her by composers Edward Cowie, Simon Proctor, and Barton Cummings.

She plays with Corpus Medicorum orchestra, Pure Brass quintet, Melbourne Tuba Quartet, Melbourne Euphonium & Tuba Ensemble, and anywhere else that she can cajole into having a tuba.


Presented in collaboration with the Australian National Maritime Museum.

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Event Dates

  • Sydney 05 Feb 2020 7:00 PM


$25 (includes drink on arrival)


Australian National Maritime Museum
Access via The Waterfront Pavilion
2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour
Sydney NSW 2000

Drinks 6.30pm, Performance 7pm-8pm