What a start to the year it has been! This term has been crazy as is the usual at the Academy but has been so much fun too! But before I tell you about what I've been up to so far this year, let me introduce myself.
My name is Tegan LeBrun and I am currently in my second year of a Master of Arts degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London. I am originally from Australia and completed my Bachelor of Music at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), before moving to London last year to commence my postgraduate studies, where things have been 'full steam ahead' since day one!
The lead up to this year was busy for me but was also one of the best times in my life musically. I was lucky enough to be selected as the Principal Timpanist of the Australian Youth Orchestra for their 2016 International tour, where we travelled to Amsterdam, Germany, China and across Australia performing the likes of Mahler 1 and the Brahms Piano Concerto with soloist, Helene Grimaud. It was a whirlwind experience but was so much fun and really allowed me to put into practice the various technical and musical changes I have made during my first year at Academy. After tour I had a short break at home and then it was back to London!
This term has been a typically busy and exciting one at RAM. The Academy Symphony orchestra had been busy with "5" symphonies - Mahler 5 with Edward Gardener, Prokofiev 5 with Yan Pascal Tortelier and Shostakovich 5 with Sir Mark Elder and I have been fortunate enough to play in all three concerts. The percussion department has also had a big term - we have had a visit from Colin Currie, a few days with vibraphone player, Joe Locke and, most recently, a series of masterclasses with Fredric Macarez, Principal Timpanist of the Orchestre de Paris.
I think the highlights of the term for my have been Shostakovich 5 with Sir Mark Elder (I absolutely love the symphony and will jump at any chance to perform it!) and the classes with Fredric. I aspire to be a professional timpanist in the future so these classes were really great for me. It's always invaluable to get insight from a professional musician and hear about their views of how the timpani can be played and how they should sound, as well as what their role in the orchestra is in different contexts. It was a great couple of days!
I can't believe that the end of another term is fast approaching - it feels like only yesterday that I moved to London and now I am finishing the first term of my last year of studies here. Next term looks to be full of great projects for us percussionists, with a percussion concert with Colin Currie in January and some great orchestral programs - I can't wait!