The ACO in the ACT

Words by
Mia Stanton (ACT) violin

Canberra... yes the land of roundabouts, politicians, cable-tie decorated helmets, large cement bus stops and all things national... but more than that it’s a place that I love as fiercely as it is daggy and it will always be the place that I will return to call home.

Canberra is fantastic because it has all the perks of a big city, without the cut throat hustle and bustle. The typical drive from my house to the city would take about 15 minutes, and parts of the journey could have been on a road in the bush. This was the exciting journey I made every Saturday to youth orchestra, where many of the amazing and committed musicians of Canberra would spend hours teaching us about music and how wonderful it is – at every level!

Mia Stanton - photo by Pia Johnson

Canberra was the perfect place to grow up with music. Somebody said to me recently that it takes a small village to foster a musician. My experience in Canberra was a real testament to this, with a small but very committed and generous community of musicians sharing their infectious knowledge and love of music. My music teachers were not only teachers of music, but life mentors. I think all musicians should go back and thank their first music teachers for being the ones to plant the seeds of inspiration that have grown to bloom!

In high school I remember going with a friend to see the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) Collective, known then as ACO2. All the members were going around introducing themselves and person after person, almost to comic effect, said that they were from ANAM. In particular, I remember a girl on stage with very cool red hair. After hearing this concert, I thought to myself that this was something special and that I seriously wanted to be a part of it.

In 2018 I was absolutely rapt to be chosen as one of the ACO’s Emerging Artists. It was an incredible opportunity, and to top it off... I was chuffed to have the owner of the red hair chosen as my ACO mentor! I played alongside my idols and brought music to audiences in regional Australia, who truly relish the opportunity to hear live classical music. Working with the musicians and guests of the ACO has been the best music-making of my life. The depth of exploration is unparalleled, always striving to find more and to dig deeper into the music – and you can feel it, the audiences feel it too. Every rehearsal was an opportunity to explore and tweak. Every concert an opportunity to live and breathe the music!

At the end of 2018, I decided that I wanted to take my musical studies further and auditioned for ANAM. It was an opportunity to hone in on performing, surrounded by amazing musicians and committed audiences. In February I’m looking forward to colliding these two amazing musical forces in my life, going on tour with the ACO with expanded forces from ANAM. To make it really special we will kick off the tour in the same hall in Canberra where I first saw the ACO Collective to present Beethoven’s Symphonies 1, 2 and 3. I think the concerts are going to be electric, with the special energy that the ACO brings to every performance.

Crown - Creative by Helen Hsu

Reflecting on the works of Beethoven we get to see his canon as a whole, with all compositions like snapshots forming an entire album. But placing yourself in the artist’s life, it would have been months or years between works, which leaves a long time for a person to experiment and evolve. It will be a treat to zero in on these three consecutive early works of Beethoven, in particular to play his second symphony which I’ve never had the chance to play before.

Although I am the only person listed as from the ACT at ANAM, I am not alone... there is another Skywalker! I will be joining my good friend and violist Cora Fabbri on tour to take this high voltage music to our beloved home town.

8 – 17 February 2020

Photo of Mia Stanton by Pia Johnson

Artwork created by Helen Hsu in collaboration with ACO Artistic Director and Lead Violin Richard Tognetti

Mia’s training at ANAM is generously supported by ANAMsyndicate - Lyndsey Hawkins, Ann Grant, Christine Connors, Elise Callander, Helen Ballantyne and Milton Robinson, Anonymous (1)

To find out more about joining an ANAMsyndicate and directly supporting a musician’s training, please contact Jessica Donohue, Development Programs Coordinator, 03 9645 7911

Back to top