Originally from Melbourne, Associate Principal Cellist Ewen Bramble has been with the ASO since 2009. He knew he’d make a career in music after having such great experiences with the Australian Youth Orchestra programs. In COVID-19 isolation, Ewen got married, yes married!!
Take some time to get to know Ewen, hear about his iso-wedding and the unusual story of how he got his hands on his current cello.
Bachelor of Music: Performance (Hons), Masters of Music: Performance, University of Melbourne
If I weren’t a professional musician I’d be:
Maybe a meteorologist, or engineer.
How did you choose the cello?
My older sister played the cello. I must have liked something about it but I can’t remember exactly what it was.
Is there anything special about your cello?
My cello was made in 10 days by a team of 6 luthiers at the 2011 Adelaide International Cello Festival with the public able to come and watch them work. Ordinarily, a luthier would take between 6-12 months to make a cello. The first person to make a sound on it was David Geringas which is pretty special.
Describe the best thing about being a musician:
Being able to express things words cannot.
Who has influenced you most as a musician?
My three cello teachers at university, Nelson Cooke, Christian Wojtowicz and Janis Laurs
Which solo or moment in the cello orchestral repertoire is your favourite?
There are so many great cello moments in the repertoire, I’m not sure I have a favourite, but Debussy’s La mer deserves a mention for the 16-divided cellos moment about 4 or 5 minutes in.
My most memorable performance with the ASO:
Mahler Symphony No. 6, with Arvo Volmer.
My first orchestral concert memory and what made it memorable?
Watching the MSO perform outdoors at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on a hot summer night as a kid. A sensory overload!
When you’re not performing or practising, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I like playing games on my PlayStation and hanging out with my dog. I find cooking relaxing and satisfying, and enjoy the fresh air and endorphins that come from running, particularly somewhere surrounded by greenery or the sea.
Name three pieces of music you love, and why?
The Beethoven String Quartets, Strauss Four Last Songs and Brahms Piano Trios. It’s hard to describe in words why. I guess I get completely lost and immersed in them whether listening or performing.
What has been your most memorable musical experience as an audience member?
Seeing Stravinsky Rite of Spring performed by Paris National Opera, phenomenal dancing and performing in such a beautiful venue
Do you come from a musical family?
Yes, my parents are musicians and they met playing in the ASO in the late 70’s, and my 4 siblings are all musicians.
What’s your idea of a perfect day in Adelaide?
Waking up early, a strong coffee, a trip to the beach with my wife and dog for a jog and swim, then maybe catching some cricket or footy and a few beers at the Adelaide Oval with some friends.
If you could ask one composer one question what would it be?
There are plenty of times when preparing or rehearsing that I’d love to be able to ask the composer something, whether it’s to ask them what exactly they meant by a certain marking or if I am doing what they would have envisaged. I guess it’s all these little judgment calls that make each performance unique.
What piece of music never fails to move you?
Any of the Mahler Symphonies.
What’s your favourite type of food?
Thai Green curry, extra hot.
What’s the weirdest thing in your fridge/pantry?
Some would say I have way too many chilli sauces! In the pantry maybe the kilos of chickpeas I have on hand.
What books are on your nightstand?
Right now I’m reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
My fiancé Morgan and I had been planning our wedding for a little over a year; we’d chosen April 25 2020 as a rare Saturday on which the ASO didn’t have a performance scheduled. We’d been planning a ceremony in the Botanic Gardens and then a big party, but like it has for many other couples, that all had to change once COVID-19 began to unfold. We discussed putting it all off until the end of 2020 or even 2021, but decided to go ahead and get married anyway. The rings were all ready to go and we had a willing celebrant, so we just thought to ourselves “why not?” Luckily, we live not far from a beautiful spot on the River Torrens Linear Park where we spend plenty of time, and it just seemed like the perfect place. We got a little dressed-up, and with our celebrant, two witnesses and Daisy the dog, we headed off to the park and were married under a beautiful tree. The only ‘guests’ were a few bike-riding families and walkers (including a guitarist who stopped and gave us some impromptu music!). Not what we’d had planned of course, but in the end it was perfect and just as memorable. Wouldn’t change it now!