Tuesday, April 04, 2017 10:00am
In November last year, Owen Morris was appointed to the position of Principal Trumpet with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. The ASO’s newest member is also one of the youngest and at just 22 years of age, he already has an impressive career.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 22 years old and originally from the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.
When did you know you’d make a career in music?
I think it’s hard to define a moment when one ‘knows' they’re going to make a career in this field. However, I do remember the point that I decided that this is what I really wanted to do.
I was playing in the orchestra for a world premiere trumpet concerto with an orchestra in Sydney. I was in year 10 at high school and a famous international soloist, Rex Richardson had come to Sydney for the International Trumpet Guild Conference. There was an incredible cadenza in the middle of this work which he only revealed to the orchestra on the night of the concert and it completely blew me away. I had never heard anything sound so amazing live before and it inspired me to practise more and more. That night after the concert, I stayed at the Conservatorium in Sydney until closing time; it was the first of many late nights there...
Who has influenced you most as a musician?
I have many influencers as a musician. The list is probably too long for this story. However, to name a few: my very first trumpet teacher, James Pensini, Dave Elton and Paul Goodchild from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Reinhold Friedrich and Roy Hargrove.
What solo or moment in the trumpet’s orchestral repertoire is your favourite?
There are so many great moments, it’s so hard to pick. I would say the last movement of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, orchestrated by Maurice Ravel - ‘Great Gate of Kiev’. It’s such an inspiring and uplifting way to end a great piece and sends chills down my spine every time I hear it.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
My most memorable concert experience would probably be the first time I ever played with a full-time professional orchestra. I was in first year at the Sydney Con and got a reasonably early call from a number I didn’t recognise - it was Paul Goodchild, Associate Principal Trumpet with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, who I’d met only a few weeks prior working with him at the Canberra International Music Festival. He asked if I could come in immediately to work with the orchestra as the regular second player was unwell. As I’d just moved house the day before, things were still in boxes and I couldn’t find where my trumpets were. After about 10 minutes of searching I caught a cab to the Sydney Con as I remembered they were in my locker. To cut a long story short, I ended up playing that whole week with the orchestra as the second player could not come back in to work. I was obviously very nervous playing with such an incredible group, however the playing was made so easy as everyone played so in tune and with such fantastic sounds. We were playing Hindemith’s Concerto for Woodwinds, Harp and Orchestra and at the very end of the piece there is quite a big slow down to where the last chord is placed. We had not really rehearsed slow down the end (which I later learned is not uncommon in professional orchestra) and I remember getting to this moment and not even being able to think about what was happening and letting my instincts and senses take over. All of a sudden the entire orchestra placed the last few notes perfectly together and I couldn’t really believe how the 60 or so musicians had just done that. It was a wonderful experience and was the first of many with my time in SSO and now at ASO.
What’s your guilty listening pleasure?
Funk music - Tower of Power, Kool and the Gang, Earth Wind and Fire etc.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy being active and would consider myself a bit of a foodie - I love going out to different restaurants and eating delicious food. I also like to hang out with my little sausage dog, Hazel.