Insights from QYS Principal Flute Greta Hunter
What is it like working with Sally Walker?
It has been such a pleasure to work with Sally. Right from the very first rehearsal, her radiant enthusiasm and exceptionally sunny disposition has made every rehearsal so wonderful and engaging. I definitely admire her as a flute player and musician. And I love that she has commissioned this concerto by Elena Kats-Chernin. I'm a huge fan and am definitely hoping this concerto makes it's way in to the central flute repertoire - It's a fabulous piece of music and I can see it being performed for such a long time. What I really love most about working with Sally, is her depth of understanding of the music. As she was part of the creative process for developing the music, the rehearsals have been just so engaging and the orchestra has been able to gain a great deal of insight in to the composition through Sally's amazing knowledge and understanding of the music as a whole. Oh, and should I mention that she has worked from memory the entire time?!
How did your conducting career take off?
Bit of a funny story. When I was 14, my ma took me along to a community choir called Songlines Choir. And this particular choir is a choir that is centred on singing for social justice (reconciliation, refugees, peace and environmental responsibility) so it was a good learning experience outside of the music. And just by a matter of timing, the choir was without a musical director so I briefly took on the role. So just over the year, I got to learn about choral conducting, arranging music and lead the choir through a number of performances at important events all around Brisbane. I then didn't have many conducting opportunities until during my Bachelor of Music studies (flute performance major), where I started to learn more about instrumental conducting with Warwick Potter and was fortunate to have a number of opportunities with conducting ensembles and rehearsals. And now, as I've finished my undergraduate, I'm moving more in to pursuing a career in conducting. At present, I direct two school ensembles and three community ensembles. All are very different. In the community, I direct the Musical Chairs Jazz Band, the Indooroopilly Chamber Orchestra, and as of last September actually returned to Songlines Choir as their musical director... all these years later! But as a career goes - it's early days and I've got a lot to learn. So I'm just starting to get involved with masterclasses and every available opportunity. I audited the Australian Conducting Academy at the beginning of this year and will be attending two international masterclass in July - one in the Czech Republic and the other in Romania.
What are your aspirations for the future?
That's a hard question to answer. I don't really have or hold on to specific goals - I sort of just keep the doors open for whatever marvellous opportunity comes along. But to narrow it down... yes, music definitely. And as for my overall aspiration, I just want to create meaningful music - be able to move people. My heart is certainly in conducting so that is where I'm first headed... but I do also love the flute and piccolo... and composition... and everything else!
What are you looking forward to the most about performing in the next QYS Concert?
Probably the flute concerto. I've always been a big fan of Elena Kats-Chernin's music and Sally Walker is an incredibly player. So between the minds of these two incredible women, you know it's going to be a doubly incredible performance.
But then there's the Debussy and Shostakovich Symphony! This program is a rather unique combination of such different repertoire but there's a wonderful balance between them. I could pick any piece as a highlight.