UNSW Concerto Competition with Thomas Azoury

Thomas Azoury
Thomas Azoury

This Friday 15 November UNSW student and clarinettist with UNSW Orchestra, Thomas Azoury, will perform Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A. We sat down and asked him a few questions before the big day.

Why did you choose the Mozart Clarinet Concerto?
It really is the bucket-list work for any clarinettist to perform with orchestra. So joyous, full of life and colour. We (clarinettists) prepare the first movement to the point of insanity for orchestral auditions, however rarely get the chance to step away from that mentality and enjoy the work in its entirety. I also absolutely love it so just couldn't pass up the opportunity

What is going to be unique about your interpretation of this work?
Gratuitous ornamentation and big hair... just kidding. Even these are old hat! The work has been so well loved for nearly 150 years that there aren't too many interpretational revelations to be had. That said, this is one of those pieces that the performer has a lifelong relationship with; I've been listening to and playing it for the past 12 years. I really look forward to sharing that relationship with everyone, and hopefully bringing out some of the wonder in this great work.

Have you performed a concerto with an orchestra before? 
I was lucky enough to perform Nigel Westlake's Concerto for Bass Clarinet, 'Invocations', with the Canberra Youth Orchestra some years ago. It was a great experience, such a different work to the Mozart. Working with UNSWO has been great though, we have a lot of laughs and have really been coming together as an ensemble under Steve's direction. He brings fantastic energy, understanding and experience to every rehearsal. We really are dealing with such amazing contrasts in this program, from the high classical of the Mozart to the romanticism of Finlandia and the evocative, contemporary Great Animal Orchestra.. it's been such a great ride and I'm sure will be a brilliant performance!

How have you been preparing for this performance?
Really it's been process of listening, playing, as consistent practice as possible, playing excerpts to friends and generally saturating myself in it. Hopefully should do the trick.

Auditions for next years’ Concerto Competition are coming up at the start of 2020, any advice or tips on people who are thinking of auditioning?
Well I couldn't over-stress the importance of knowing the work inside out; where your part interacts with other instruments, being absolutely secure rhythmically and technically, hearing the orchestral score as you're playing it, but also when you go into the audition, remembering that the panel want you to play well, so try to relax, enjoy and just play music. If you've done the preparation there's no need to be nervous, so trust yourself!

Anything else you’d like to add?
It's such a privilege to play with the UNSWO, I think it's an incredible asset to the life of the university, and can't wait to share these brilliant works and all our hard work. See you Friday!


The Great Animal Orchestra

Friday November 15, 7.00pm

Sir John Clancy Auditorium

Tickets: $20/$15/$10

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