Romantic Landscapes – 27th October 2019

The NRSO is thrilled to present Romantic Landscapes on Sunday 27th October 2019, featuring Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 performed by Gold Coast soloist and piano teacher Vicky Hong.  She was also the accompanist for the Australian Youth Choir and pianist for the Allegro Trio.  Here, we ask Vicky to tell us a little bit about herself.

How did you decide on the piano as your instrument, and do you play any other instruments?

When I was 3 years old, my dad discovered that I had “perfect pitch” which means I could tell any note just by listening to it (Mozart had it too; it is supposed to be present in 1 per 20,000 people).  Consequently, he started teaching me piano.  As I became older I appreciate this ability even more – it helps to speed my music learning and increases my musicality.

I have always enjoyed playing the piano, and being a pianist was my only choice of career.  Once, I did wonder what my life would have been like if I had done some other things, but I quickly realised that music was a lucky choice for me.

I also learned guitar in high school and played it quite well because of my piano foundation, but it hurt my fingers so much that eventually I stopped.

You started earning money by playing piano from the age of 13.  Can you tell us how this came about?

Growing up in China, when I was in grade 8 or 9, I wanted to earn pocket money during summer holidays.  My classmate’s mother was a pianist and piano teacher who also performed at a hotel lobby with a trio group.  In exchange for performing her son’s composition at school, I persuaded her to let me play gigs at the hotel so that I could earn some money.  She warned me that they could give me any music to play on the spot, and if I didn’t ensemble well with the violinist and the cellist, I would lose the job.  Thankfully I was quick with sight reading, so I got to keep the job, and she let me play 1-2 nights each week.  That was also the beginning of my chamber music career.

Please tell us about a memorable performance you’ve had – when and where was it, and what was special about it?

It had to be when I was performing in Melba Hall at University of Melbourne.  I was performing Schumann’s “Carnival”.  There was a dark and intense moment in the music, and I was performing with my eyes closed (I do that a lot in my performance).  As the music opened up, I also opened my eyes, to find that the hall was really dark, and then it began to light up again.  I thought I was dreaming because I was so involved in that musical moment.  Later on at the post-concert reception, everyone came up and asked me how I had arranged the light effect during my performance.  Eventually I found out it was due to a faulty light, but a really perfect one!

Why did you choose to perform Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 with the NRSO, and what should we be listening out for?

I won a Mozart competition performing his D minor Concerto when I was studying at Queensland Conservatorium of Music.  It is one of my favourite concertos.  I’d always be listening for the grace and drama in Mozart’s music.

About our conductor, Camillio Manricks

Camillio’s music education began in Sri-Lanka (Ceylon) before going on to the USA to further his cello studies.

In 1972 he accepted an invitation from the Australian Broadcasting Cooperation to join the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. During his 18 yrs with the QSO he was also kept busy outside the orchestra with recording, playing chamber music, teaching privately & tutoring the Queensland Youth Orchestra.

Camillio left the QSO in 1990 to further develop The Modern String Quartet and The Manricks Connection, groups he promoted and directed. He also conducted and taught in private & public schools including spending a year out west in Charleville.

He also established Manricks Music, a violin shop he owned and operated, in South Brisbane (2000/7).

During his time with the QSO he had the opportunity to study conducting with Mr Werner Andreas Albert and Mr Dobbs Franks.  After retiring to the Gold Coast he was invited to conduct the Gold
Coast Chamber Orchestra, and in late 2018 was appointed the conductor of the Gold Coast Philharmonic Orchestra.

Among his many memorable musical highlights would be the performance of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique with Vladimir Ponkin, (QSO), playing principal cello for The Australian Ballet’s Australian Tour of Swan Lake, and organising, directing and conducting The Suzuki Pan Pacific Conference at QPAC in 1996.

Camillio now lives at Nobby Beach with his wife Jeanette. They enjoy life by the beach watching the whales go by and spending time visiting seven lovely grandchildren.