With borders closed and concerts cancelled, we’re checking in on our guest musicians from our home office to theirs. We called oboist Huw Jones at his home in Brisbane to see how he is coping with the new normal.
Eleasha Mah: Hello, I’m Eleasha Mah and welcome to my lounge room. Today we speak with oboist and guest artist of the Australia Ensemble, Huw Jones!
Huw Jones: Hello, my name is Huw Jones and I am the Section Principal Oboe of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and a guest artist with the Australia Ensemble at the University of New South Wales.
Tell us about your journey
HJ: I began my studies in Sydney, studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and from there later went on to London to study at the Royal College of Music, and also got to play with some orchestras over in London as well. Eventually I returned back to Sydney and undertook a variety of roles including being the Director of Music at St. Philip’s Anglican Church York Street CBD as well as being an oboe at Sydney Grammar School and St Andrew’s Cathedral School and doing lots of freelance and casual oboe playing with orchestras such as the Opera Australia Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, and orchestras in New Zealand and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. In 2013, I was appointed the Section Principal Oboe of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and moved up to Brisbane.
What are you doing to continue your music in these unprecedented times?
HJ: In terms of my music making, I have been giving a lot of online music lessons to students including students at the University of Queensland, as well as overseas students, people who’ve contacted me and asked if they could have a lesson. I’ve actually been teaching a young boy in Hong Kong who has been locked in his home since the beginning of March, so this time presents a bit of an opportunity for us to connect with people we might not ordinarily connect with.
What advice do you have for UNSW musicians?
HJ: My advice for musicians in this time, other than just sitting in a room and practicing all day is actually to branch out and use this as an opportunity to connect with people you might not ordinarily connect with. I think it is important for musicians at this time to be offering online lessons as there will be a lot of music students out there who are wanting to continue their learning and continue their joy of music but obviously can’t do it in their normal face to face lessons. So, there is a real opportunity there for you to offer your skills to people who are really seeking it, and in this time of uncertainty, people will be relying on music a lot more than they might ordinarily so I think it is important for the musicians to keep producing music and although it is not the same when you are not collaborating in a room full of other musicians and at the moment we are isolated, it doesn’t mean that we’re not disconnected and we can still be socially connected whilst being physically disconnected.
I’d also encourage musicians to perhaps branch out and explore other avenues, this might be the perfect opportunity for you to do an online course in a different subject, learn a new skill, and do something which you thought you wouldn’t do ordinarily in your studies at university.