Peregian’s ‘prodigal’ son returns to Noosa

Peregian local, Sacha Gibbs-McPhee.

Just like a young Mozart at a very early age, Peregian local, Sacha Gibbs-McPhee remembers listening under the piano while his teacher mum, Tara, conducted lessons.

The precocious youngster sometimes annoyed his mum by shouting out answers to music questions directed not at him, but her students.

Sacha started piano lessons but soon discovered a love for the clarinet, which he played in the Sunshine Coast Youth Orchestra. He later became principal clarinet in the Symphony Orchestra while studying at UQ on a scholarship.

A young graduate, Sacha had his sights set on Europe and was one of three postgraduate clarinettists to join the UK’s top music conservatoire, London’s Royal Academy of Music in 2017.

While sponsors, including the Noosa Orchestra, helped launch Sacha’s career as a clarinet soloist, competition within the Academy was fierce and life in ultra-expensive London was often confronting.

“I was subletting a small room in a very dangerous neighbourhood… from my window, I have witnessed gang fights, police chases and domestic disputes,” Sacha said.

The outside world mirrored the artist’s own inner turmoil, as the intense and exacting young man obsessively honed his clarinet technique through sheer determination and self-discipline by sleeping on the floor, fasting and depriving himself of entertainment and human contact.

“On one occasion, I spent two entire days playing only two bars from Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony, I was in a state of monomania,” he said.

After an intense two years, during which time he met his wife, Yanting, Sacha is back on the Coast and ready to delight concert-goers at a joint Noosa Orchestra and Noosa Alive recital: Orchestral Magic & Wonderous Arias.

The one-time only performance with Noosa Orchestra on Saturday 27 July at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 115 Eumundi Rd, promises to be a musical tour de force.

As star soloist, Sacha will perform a musical score written expressly for the clarinet, Weber’s extraordinary 2nd Clarinet Concerto with the orchestra. Sacha is a real music appassionato who will give contemporary resonance to Weber’s music, which like opera, is very dramatic and highly embellished.

The 20-minute solo, divided into three movements, has all the coloratura of a miniature opera exploring a large range of characters. The melodies are sometimes bold and sometimes sensitive and reflective. The second movement contains a “recitativo” passage – this is the part in opera in which the singers act and speak to each other through song. The final movement contains explosions of fast technical passages, and finishes with notes flying everywhere – as fast as possible on the instrument.

Three young stars from the (Advanced) Opera Class of the Queensland Conservatorium will sing world-famous arias, bringing the operatic feast to a thrilling conclusion.

Hold on to your seats Noosa for a world-class classical music experience.

Tickets can be purchased for $37.50 (includes booking fee) from www.noosaalive.com.au.

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