My mother played the piano, but sadly sold it before I was born. My father was a bank officer and thought there was no career to be had in music. With my mother’s encouragement, I started playing the classical guitar before playing percussion in my school brass band, and became more interested in hitting things rather than plucking them. The conductor was Peter Walmsley, who played trumpet in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He was also conductor of the award-winning Willoughby Municipal Band. With his encouragement, I joined their percussion section and became exposed to the timpani.

Playing Up The Timpani

I really loved what you could do with this instrument: play chromatically, sustain notes via rolls, play the foundations of many chords orchestrally (or any part of a chord), produce thunderous energy and power as well as the gentlest of musical moments, play glissandi, articulate strong rhythms, the list went on.

During this period, and while I was playing with the Sydney Youth Orchestra, I started timpani lessons with Richard Miller, then-Principal Timpanist...