As she began to perform in high profile ensembles and venues around the world, violinist Harmonnia Junus realised her classical training did not quite prepare her for the interdisciplinary collaboration that awaited her. With her Young Artist Excange program, she hopes to expose young musicians to skills and forms beyond their own instrument.
“I have an interdisciplinary ensemble in the US,” Junus explains of Artists By Any Other Name, an international collective of which she is artistic director. “I started it when I was doing my Masters degree, and it really affected me as a musician seeing how other disciplines reacted to music. It changed my perspective on the music I was performing and rehearsing, and so I really wanted to explore that in education, for kids to start having that mentality at a young age. And also to show them how different disciplines fit together to create a unique performance.”
The result is Young Artist Exchange, a program of workshops and performances that allows school-age creatives the opportunity to gain a deeper and unique understanding of artistic collaboration. After three days of workshopping and rehearsals, students will take part in a fully-realised performance alongside their teachers.
“It’s really a meeting point of different disciplines with one theme to express; what I thought would be really cool was that when I was growing up learning the violin, one thing that was really inspiring was when I saw my teacher perform. He’d be teaching me one day, and then down the line I’d see him performing at the Sydney Opera House, and that was really inspiring.
“So the structure of the Young Artist Exchange is that there’s a workshop where the students get to know the teachers, and learn different disciplines and all the behind the scenes insights of how it fits together – what the music is really about, and how it’s represented through dance. Then they get to perform as part of the performance with the teachers.
Throughout the Young Artist Exchange students try their hand at costume and set making, offering a comprehensive tour through all the creative elements that go into a performance. “They’ll also have dance classes where they get to know how dancers are choreographed, and how they represent these things by moving their bodies.”
Held in Adelaide from July 11 to 13, the 2019 Young Artist Exchange is themed around the planets, with a final performance – dubbed The Planetarium – comprising of vignettes inspired by each celestial body of the solar system and their relationships to Roman and Greek mythology. The result, Junus hopes, will give participants a richer practical and thematic appreciation of the work they perform both in the program and beyond.
“Sometimes I would hear music, and growing up you’re taught Baroque dances and ‘this is how you play it’,” Junus reflects of her own education. “But visually to see how it changes with a dancer, I can now play a piece of music, imagine how a dancer will move to it, and that will inform my own playing.
“That’s something that I didn’t realise was missing in my life until it happened.”
Young Artist Exchange
Tabor College Music Department
July 11 – 13
The Planetarium performance