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Q&A with Monica Naselow

The Darwin Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will soon have an exciting new addition with acclaimed violinist Monica Naselow taking up the role of Concertmaster and Education Outreach Officer in 2017.

Naselow, who is set to make the move to Darwin with her family next year, recently spoke with Off The Leash about her amazing career and upcoming relocation to the Top End.

Interview with Chelsea Heaney.

You are currently with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and will be making the move to Darwin next year. That is quite a sea change, what made you decide to make this move?

My first and only trip to Darwin so far was earlier this year in May to play as guest Concertmaster with the DSO. Flying into Darwin was beautiful, and on my first evening I was taken down to the beach and saw the sunset, had dinner and felt very happy and relaxed. That week was so very enjoyable with the DSO and the Opera Gala concert at the Waterfront was a great success. Following this, the DSO offered me a position and I realised I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by moving to Darwin.

You played with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, one of the world’s great orchestras, for 10 years. What was this experience like?

The RCO is a world-class orchestra – the best in the world – and a highly specialised and well-oiled arts organisation. There is a high level of trust amongst the players, which allows everyone to perform at their best, and the result is a brilliant group of musicians who can play anything. The knowledge and experience I gained from playing with them for 10 years will stay with me for life.

What have been some major moments and influences in your career thus far?

In 2000 I had the opportunity to play as Concertmaster of the Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO) and that year participated in as many training opportunities AYO could throw at me, including chamber music and a fellowship with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. I then completed postgraduate study at the Zurich Opera Orchestral Academy in Switzerland, which gave me orchestral training on the job and polished my orchestral craft.

I was one of 10 Academy students of all different instruments and nationalities. We played as trainees in the orchestra and our mentors gave us opportunities that some professionals never get. I performed major operatic repertoire including Mozart, Verdi and Wagner in a world-class opera orchestra, and learned as much as I could about orchestral playing in the time I was there. We were also encouraged to perform chamber music and attend master classes as much as possible. It was a supportive environment to be in and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. 

What are some of your goals for your move here?

On a professional level I am aiming to expand the education and outreach programs of the DSO, reaching into the community as far as that is possible and bringing music to children and families, in community and schools, and also to people who might not otherwise have access to live music, such as prisons, nursing homes, hospitals and schools for children with special needs. I hope to be able to build on the connection the DSO has to the community and expand it even further. 

Catch Monica play at DSO Master Series: French Fantasy and Spanish Seduction.

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