MPU Alumni Harrison Collins is in quarantine, after returning home from Pensylvania, USA. We gave him a call to check in and see how he is doing in this brave new world of social isolation.
Sonia Maddock: Hi, I’m Sonia Maddock and welcome to my loungeroom. Over the next few weeks we will be reaching out to some of our music alumni in their loungerooms to find out what they’re up to, and how they’re spending their time during the COVID 19 outbreak. The first of these is Harrison Collins.
Harrison Collins: Well, I’m a musician, primarily a pianist and conductor who grew up in Sydney. I did my undergraduate in music and physics at the University of New South Wales, and then did a Masters in orchestral conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium. And I am now studying Music Direction for Music Theatre at Penn State University in Pennsylvania.
At UNSW, I mean, I was part of various ensembles. I played violin in the UNSW Orchestra, I played piano for all sorts of different concerts and events, I sang in both the Collegium choir and the Burgundian Consort, and I page turned for the Australia Ensemble … what else did I do? I feel like I was perpetually doing all things at all times [laughs].
SM: So, music’s a pretty big part of your life currently. Tell us a bit about what you’re up to at the moment.
HC: Well, we were working on a production of Spamalot, amongst other things, which has been canned, obviously. But outside of that, I play for voice lessons for the undergraduate students, and I have classes of my own - this semester I’m taking a class in sound recording techniques and the music theatre history class, and working on skills like conducting and accompanying and all the things you would expect of someone studying to become a music director.
I think that now is a great time to, especially if you’re a musician, to be looking at new repertoire. You know, you’ve finally got a chance to practise without any distractions, so I think you should try to make the most of that time, if you’ve got any projects or side-projects that you’ve been putting off for years, you know, this now is the time to do that, because you might not get another holiday where you’re not doing something else for a while. Forced vacation!
* Sings Bellini *