Interview - Meriel Owen, TYO Program Development Manager

Meriel Owen is an accomplished harpist and pianist with a diverse musical background and more than a handful of musical degrees. Meriel has spent a lot of time travelling with her harp, performing in Washington DC, Houston, Chicago, Italy, Austria, Germany and Australia. In between her commitments with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and raising a family (including high maintenance cats!), Meriel joins the TYO team for six months to develop new programs for young Tasmanians beyond the perimeter of Hobart. We spoke to Meriel about joining the TYO team.

We know it's hard to choose, but who is your favourite composer? 
There are so many, but today it would be Brahms – specifically chamber music.

What is your favourite piece of music? 
Brahms B major piano trio.

Where is the most intriguing place you have performed and why? 
I used to play with a Canberra-based group called the Griffyn Ensemble. In 2012 we performed an amazing concert at the Yale-Columbia ruins of the Mount Stromlo Observatory. The observatory was devastated by the 2003 bushfires, but their remaining shell was an extraordinary venue. We performed a work by Urmas Sisask called “Southern Sky”. Playing in these atmospheric ruins under the Southern Sky was extraordinary. The venue itself was very much a part of the overall performance experience. You can watch the performance here.

What do you love most about Tassie? 
Apart from the environment, the wine, the food, the friendly people and the wonderful cultural scene? I have wonderful family here.

What do you do at TYO? 
At this stage I am pretty much gathering information about existing opportunities for youth music in Tasmania. This research component will hopefully lead us to finding creative ways to collaborate with existing organisations and to expand our activities in Tasmania.

What are you most looking forward to about the job? 
Hopefully being part of expanding TYO’s activities beyond the greater Hobart area. I’m also enjoying meeting new people and being enlivened by the extraordinary energy and enthusiasm of so many people who work tirelessly to create musical opportunities for young people in Tasmania.

Got any thoughts, helpful contacts, existing programs, or things you’d like to see in the North and North West of Tasmania? Contact Meriel on meriel@tyo.org.au to let her know!


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