Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - TANYA MACNAUGHTON

CITY Beach pi­anist Mar­i­lyn Phillips had a long as­so­ci­a­tion with Art Song Perth be­fore the com­mit­tee asked if she would for­malise it by be­com­ing artis­tic di­rec­tor.

The ap­point­ment is one of many high points in the Welsh mu­si­cian’s il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer, which has in­cluded work­ing at The Royal Academy of Dra­matic Arts, Royal Shake­speare Com­pany and the Royal Na­tional Theatre be­fore mov­ing to Perth with her hus­band in 1993 and adding WA Opera and WASO Cho­rus to her re­sume.

It was back while study­ing pi­ano ac­com­pa­ni­ment at Royal Academy of Mu­sic in Lon­don that Phillips dis­cov­ered her call­ing, spe­cial­is­ing in vo­cal work and “un­der­stand­ing the voice in all its man­i­fes­ta­tions”.

This year she has used her ex­per­tise to celebrate Art Song Perth’s 25th an­niver­sary, which will cul­mi­nate on Satur­day, Au­gust 15, with its fourth and fi­nal con­cert for 2015, Sara Ma­cliver and Sally-Anne Rus­sell in con­cert with pi­anist Mar­i­lyn Phillips.

“It’s been hard work but re­ally ter­rific to see such an en­thu­si­as­tic fol­low­ing of the art form in Perth,” Phillips said.

“This year we started the first con­cert with Aldo Di Toro and other singers and this is the fourth con­cert with Sally-Anne and Sara.

“In be­tween we’ve in­cluded as many singers and in­stru­men­tal­ists as we could, keep­ing con­certs care­fully bal­anced and for­mu­lated but us­ing as many lo­cal young singers and pi­anists as we could.”

Phillips said the sim­ple prin­ci­ple of art song was the per­for­mance of clas­si­cal song in any lan­guage where the singer must in­ter­pret the words.

“It can be sad, tragic, funny, ro­man­tic, but the singer has to con­vey this mood or in­ter­pre­ta­tion,” she said.

“It’s not like opera; there are no wigs, no props and no cos­tumes, and pi­ano is very im­por­tant as the pi­anist has to sup­port and col­lab­o­rate with the singer all the way.”

Phillips said she had de­signed the pro­gram to ap­peal to ev­ery­one and the voices of Floreat so­prano Sara Ma­cliver and mezzo-so­prano Sally-Anne Rus­sell matched beau­ti­fully.

“It’s al­most seam­less when one voice stops and the other takes over,” she said.

“It’s gor­geous and as per­form­ers they are very good com­mu­ni­ca­tors, so I’ve made sure we have a wide se­lec­tion of styles, lan­guages and moods to make it en­ter­tain­ing and ac­ces­si­ble.

“Sally-Anne and Sara re­leased an al­bum some years ago called Baroque Duets, and we’ve in­cluded one or maybe two of the duets from that al­bum and they are quite di­vine.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d441811

Mar­i­lyn Phillips.

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