Alumni Portraits AMY WHYTE (CLARINET 2015)

Why did you choose to study at ANAM? 
I had heard so many incredible things about ANAM - the inspiring, world class guest artists invited to work with ANAM students, the range (and sheer number!) of concerts presented weekly and the numerous opportunities to work on the physical and mental longevity of pursuing music as a career through Alexander Technique and peak performance seminars to name a few - I was definitely keen for the challenge! 

What do you remember most about your time at ANAM? 
Playing a lot of music! Not only that, but also the valuable friendships I made during my time at ANAM, which have been pivotal in furthering my music network. 

What has been the most memorable moment of your professional progress so far? 
Touring northern Italy performing the chamber version of Mahler’s Symphony No.4 with Mario Brunello. Such an incredible work, sharing the stage with a group of outstanding musicians. The theatres we performed in were covered in alfresco paintings and dripping with exquisite chandeliers - simply unforgettable with very enthusiastic concert goers. We even had a concert in Bologna where audience members sat on the stage behind us as the hall was at capacity! I can’t help but reminisce and smile about this unforgettable experience every time I hear Mahler 4. 

How did ANAM help get you where you are today? 
ANAM helped me open my eyes (and ears!) to discover greater potential in my playing, becoming an all rounded musician as opposed to simply a clarinettist. 

What in your experience is the hardest part of the transition to a professional music career? 
Being apart of a music institution has the incredible benefit of surrounding yourself with many hard working colleagues who constantly challenge you to keep searching for even more potential in your playing. When leaving this nice bubble, it can often prove rather daunting knowing what to do next, especially during the “quieter times” when you really need to remember your sense of purpose and trust it will get better. 

What does it mean to you to be apart of the ANAM family? 
To be associated with such an inspiring group of musicians is quite an honour. During my time at ANAM, the faculty and students definitely felt like extended family who you share all the rollercoaster emotional journeys with. 

If not the clarinet, what would you have played instead? 
When I was 7 I was absolutely dying to play the flute as my older sister, Sarah had just started learning it at school. I would often sneak into her room, pick up her flute and try to imitate the sounds she was making. I think I cried for a whole day when discovering I had been allocated the clarinet. Couldn’t imagine it any other way now though! 

What do you enjoy doing outside of playing music? 
I love being outside, especially around water. There’s simply no better way to start the day than with a dip in the ocean, or even better an ocean swim in Manly where we spot the occasion reef shark gracefully moving below - it’s quite magical. 

Do you have any future music projects in the pipeline? 
In a couple of weeks, I’ll be heading to Norway to play in the Summer Music Festival in Voksenåsen, which I’m very excited about! I’m going to be working on a program I’m starting to prepare for a solo recital I’ve been invited to play at in the Southern Highlands later this year (I’ll keep you posted on details!) 

What sage advice would you give to our ANAM musicians today?
We all know it’s essential to work on fundamentals and technique in the practice room, but when you take the stage to perform always remember to play the music not your instrument. Having this mentality has many benefits, but overall helps to remind us why we do what we do - make music!

Photo courtesy of Tania Niwa

Profile last updated in 2017

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