Musical Treasures – 26th March 2017

The Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra (NRSO) welcomes back Spiros
Rantos to conduct ‘Musical Treasures’, a wonderfully rich and diverse program
including works by Berlioz, Elgar, Schubert and more… to be held on Sunday 26th
March 2017, 2.30pm NSW time (1.30pm QLD time) at the Tweed Heads Civic
Centre, Brett St, Tweed Heads.
In meet the players of the NRSO, we asked Helen Dolden (Cello, front desk, inside)
to tell us a bit about herself –

Q – What started you playing the Cello?
HD – At my secondary school we all had to learn a musical instrument in our first
year. The cello teacher took one look at my spadelike hands and said, ‘You’re a
cellist. I’ll have you.’
Q – Do you play any other instruments?
HD – I play the piano incredibly badly and I played all the recorder family at primary
school. My recorder group won every eisteddfod and our dear music teacher cried
when we left! I learned the violin for a year when I was ten and was still trying to fix
my fiddle player’s left hand 50 years later. Slow learner?
Q – Are you a professional cellist or do you have work outside music?
HD – I have no music qualifications, and have never played professionally. I
stopped playing after a year at Conservatorium, worked as a journalist and public
servant, and took up the cello again when I retired. It was then that I really
discovered the joy and challenge of cello playing, and soon after retiring I was
playing for over 20 hours a week in orchestras, chamber groups and private
Q – When and how did you come to play with the NRSO and do you play in any
other groups?
HD – I joined the NRSO about 10 years ago through a friend in the Brisbane
Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO). I’ve played with the BPO for 11 years, the last five
as principal cellist. I have also played with the Gold Coast Chamber Orchestra
since it started.
Q – Could you name one of your favourite orchestral pieces?
HD – Only one? Mahler 5, Shostakovich 5, Sibelius 2…..
Q – Is there one performance with the NRSO that stands out for you?
HD – Far and away the one we did with Nathan Aspinall, a super young conductor
from Brisbane, now furthering his career in the US. We did the Tchaikovsky 5 and
the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner’s ‘Tristan and Isolde’ complete with singer.
Q – One last question Helen, what do you enjoy doing outside of music?
HD – I adore what I call ‘wild’ gardening. We live on a small acreage with a lot of
natural bushland, and I plant madly…..anything that will benefit our teeming wildlife.
I can spend hours and hours in art galleries and I enjoy painting on glass (window
panes etc): I get drunk on colour. I love tramping in wild country (especially when
there’s a coffee shop at the end of the track) and wish I weren’t getting older!