A Q&A with Julia Fredersdorff from Latitude 37
What is your goal/s for your Local Heroes series in 2016?
We love playing the music of JS Bach. To us he represents the pinnacle of compositional achievement in the Baroque era. However his ancestors, contemporaries and his sons were also awesome composers and we are aiming to illustrate this by playing some of their best chamber works next to the work of the great JSB.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Performing music you love with wonderful musicians. When musicians really know each other as a group it becomes a spontaneous musical dialogue where anything can happen.
What do you think about when you perform live?
Many complex thoughts come to mind under pressure! To focus my thoughts I try to immerse myself in the effect of the piece I am about to perform and to serve the music as best I can. Performing music is a little like acting; you have to put your own fears aside and represent the work of the composer to the best of your ability. Adrenaline helps!
Which historical figure do you most identify with and why?
I am not sure I could say I identify with many of the Baroque and pre-Baroque composers, as they lived in such different times but certainly on a musical level, I feel a true affinity with J.S Bach. I feel that his music has a special power and humanity about it that never fails to touch the soul.
Where is your favourite place on Earth and why?
My home in Hobart. We live 500m up Mount Wellington, surrounded by National Parkland and all of the flora and fauna that brings. It is a truly magical place and a sanctuary for me and my family.
If you could swap places with any other human or animal who or what would you choose and why?
I am not really much of a dare devil but I would like to try my hand at flying, so I would love to be a bird for a day. A day would do though! I don't think I would be quite as keen on sleeping in trees!
Who is your ideal audience?
An audience which is open enough to feel and respond to music naturally. I have no problem with spontaneous applause, even between movements. Sitting silently during concerts is a mid-20th Century development. Before 1950, audiences were allowed and even encouraged to express their feelings about the music and musicians they were hearing. Letting yourself really live the music whilst trying to remain silent is counter-intuitive.
What colours speak to you? Have you ever experienced synaesthesia?
I can't say that I have experienced any sort of cohesive synaesthesia because we are required to play in so many different pitches in early music. However, I do believe that different keys in western harmony have different characters and affects (which could definitely be described as colours), but this is usually more to do with the altered notes (sharps and flats) and how they affect the tuning within a temperament (and therefore the resonance of the instruments).
Which living person do you most admire and why?
Probably Bob Brown, who has been working tirelessly all of his life to preserve Tasmania's stunning World Heritage forests. He selflessly protects some of the most important land left on the planet for our future generations and always keeps his cool and behaves like a gentleman, no matter what insults are thrown at him. I admire him enormously.
What is your favourite book and why?
I am fickle when it comes to favourite books! I am a recent convert to gardening and have a big vegetable garden up and running, so my favourite book of the moment is Steve Solomon's book, Gardening South of Australia, which is like a bible for anyone in this part of the world. I am also a big fan of my friend Simon Rickard's book Heirloom Vegetables. He plays a mean Baroque bassoon too!
What is your favourite piece of music and why?
I am totally in love with late 17th century German repertoire and particularly the works of Johann Christoph Bach (J.S. Bach's uncle) and also the works of Franz Tunder, Schmelzer and Erlebach. This style of music is so wonderfully expressive and written in 5 parts, with extraordinary harmonic complexity. Never fails to bring a tear to my eye!
How did you come to play your instrument/s?
I asked to play the violin when I was 6 years old. I think I saw someone playing live and that was it. My poor parents then had to endure years of torture whilst I was practicing!