Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Music, opportunit­y led Louise to Deni

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When Louise King (pictured) saw an ad for South West Music Regional Conservato­rium’s new head of music, which called for a brave, imaginativ­e and courageous leader, she almost shouted ‘‘that’s me!’’ at her computer screen.

The colourful, energetic and incredibly interestin­g musician has had an impressive career as a profession­al performer and teacher, which has taken her around the world.

And now, after living on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and working in Brisbane for the last 20 years, music has brought her to Deniliquin.

While it has meant leaving her 15 and 19 year-old sons and husband behind, Ms King says she is ‘‘always up for a new challenge’’.

‘‘My sons are used to me disappeari­ng, being a travelling musician nationally and internatio­nally, but previously I have always come home.

‘‘Driving out of my driveway was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but I am excited for my future here in Deni.’’

Growing up in a rural farming town in England, Ms King attended a primary school no larger than Deniliquin’s St Michael’s School.

Although small, music was engrained in the culture thanks to her music teacher Mrs Black, who Ms King said is one of the reasons she has a career in music today.

‘‘Over the 30 years she taught at my school, Mrs Black developed an amazing music program,’’ she said.

‘‘Music was a normal part of the school day and every kid studied music.

‘‘We would have travelling music acts who would come perform for us, and that was how I was first introduced to my instrument — the cello.’’

Ms King compares her first experience with the cello at 11 years-old to the scene in Harry Potter where Harry is choosing his wand.

‘‘It was like the cello chose me,’’ she said. ‘‘I just fell in love with the sound it made.’’ With no one in her town to teach her cello, Ms King’s parents drove her an hour and a half each week to the nearest teacher.

She quickly outgrew that teacher and was accepted into the Royal College of Music in London, which was a four and a half hour train ride away from her home town.

‘‘A regional conservato­rium wasn’t an option for me where I lived,’’ said Ms King.

‘‘So from the age of 12 to 17 years-old I was getting on the 4am train to London every weekend to study music.

‘‘I understand the investment my parents had to put in, as well as the amount of scholarshi­ps I had to apply for to continue and afford my music education.’’

This is why it is Ms King’s mission to make music accessible to all, regardless of background or ability and activate more music in the Deni community.

Her natural leadership and maturity led her to start performing profession­ally at the young age of 13 and tutoring other students at 12 years-old.

From there she studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester for the next four years, before heading to Cairo in the Middle East, where she performed and taught for the next 18 months.

Ms King has played in the BBC philharmon­ic (national orchestra in UK), The Halle´ Orchestra and the Hong Kong philharmon­ic.

‘‘Music has enabled me to explore the world,’’ she said.

Music landed her in Queensland where she worked in Brisbane and brought up her family on the Sunshine Coast.

In that time she performed at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), taught at the Griffith Conservato­rium and Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

She also started and put on a music festival on the Sunshine Coast.

And now her next adventure is here in Deni.

Only starting the position last week, Ms King has enjoyed speaking to all the SWM teachers and meeting all the staff and students.

‘‘Music relies heavily on collaborat­ion and bringing people together, so I hope I can use my skills to re-inject some energy into the space and try to deliver the best music programs, which are interestin­g, accessible and most importantl­y fun.

‘‘Our teachers are the engines who bring the gift of music to the community,’’ she said.

‘‘In my role I will be working closely with the teachers, ensuring they feel heard and supported.

‘‘And in speaking to them all there is one common thread, the desire to get as many kids involved in music and to have fun.’’

To meet the new head of music and learn more about her, SWM is holding a welcome concert on Saturday, April 9 at 6pm.

Ms King will perform a musical journey about herself and all her travels.

For more informatio­n, or to RSVP, phone SWM on 5881 4736.

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