Q&A with SYZYGY musician Blair Harris

Q&A with Blair Harris, Cellist in Syzygy Ensemble


Performing at Theme & Variations in Brisbane as part of the the Commercial Road Chamber Music Series


2 November 2012, 7pm



What is Syzygy and what part do you play in this fabulous group?

Syzygy Ensemble is a classical chamber music group dedicated to performing repertoire from the 20th and 21st Centuries. Our goal is to show that so called ‘new’ music does not have to be scary, noisy or elitist. There is some really amazing music being created around the world, and right here in Australia, that really deserves to be performed and enjoyed by many. It is true that sometimes we may perhaps stretch your ears a little, but ultimately we feel you will be drawn in by these fantastic works of art as we certainly have been.


You studied in Brisbane at the Queensland Conservatorium – what is the most positive or memorable thing that you have taken from this experience?

My cello teacher Markus Stocker and my fellow cello students would have to be some of my most cherished memories. Without his dedication to music and education, I definitely would not be where I am today. I must also say the Plough Inn on Southbank had some funny memories too, or should I say lack thereof!


What is it like to live the life of a classical musician in 2012?

It is certainly a fascinating one. Versatility whilst still being true to your artistic convictions is the key. Today, for example, I recorded tracks for a hip hop album, last week I performed on the runway for Melbourne Fashion Week and gave two classical recitals. Ultimately I think I would choose to live my life entirely playing classical repertoire, but by the same token sharing our skills and dedication to our craft in any capacity has got be a good thing.


Apart from music, what else flicks your switch?

I would probably answer this question differently every day, but today definitely the poetry of Giraud, Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde is really flickin’ my switch. People living their passion projects also inspire me greatly. Oh and sunglasses, I must not forget fabulous sunglasses!


What can an audience expect from Syzygy’s concert on November 2nd?

Come along for an exhilarating ride of sounds and colours that you may not have heard before. I hope that our unbridled enthusiasm for the works we have chosen will inspire you to delve deeper into the classical music realm. After all if no one ever went to hear Beethoven’s works in his time, where would we be now? Every work of classical music was at one stage considered contemporary, so why not get it while it’s still hot from the oven!


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See cellist Blair Harris and the Syzygy Ensemble at the Commercial Road Chamber Music Series on November 2nd, 7pm.


The concert will take place in the Steinway piano showroom at Theme and Variations, 60 Commercial Road, Newstead.


Visit here for more information and ticket details


Syzygy are a Melbourne based ensemble that consists of five core musicians: Leigh Harrold – piano, Blair Harris – cello, Julia Stoppa – clarinet, Laila Engle – flute and Jenny Khafagi on violin. Since forming in late 2009 Syzygy have performed at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, Melbourne Music Week, the Banyule Arts Festival, Gaudemus International Interpreters Award.


Syzygy is currently in their second season as Artists in Residence at the Melbourne Recital Centre. The ensemble has been broadcast on and featured on 3MBS and ABC Classic FM and also appears on the Move record label.


Syzygy were nominated for a Helpmann Award in 2012.



7pm Friday 2 November 2012

60 Commercial Road, Newstead



Joan Tower Petrouchskates

Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh  Towards the Beginning*

Brenton Broadstock  Glistening Tears

Takuma Itoh Parallel Divergence

David Lang  Sweet Air

Arnold Schoenberg Kammersymphonie op.9 arr. Webern


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Theme & Variations Piano Services, the Commercial Road Chamber Music Series and Huntington Estate Wines presents …..


A Wine Sipping and Concert Event Package

5:30pm Friday 2 November 2012


Venue                                  Theme & Variations, 60 Commercial Road, Newstead


Cost                                      $20 per person (includes ticket to concert) – includes canapés


5:30pm – 6:30pm              Wine-tasting with Mr Tim Stevens, Owner/Winemaker, Huntington

                                             Estate Wines


Phone (07) 3666 0650 or email info@chambermusic.net.au


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