Why I Play Chamber Music: Celia Craig

Why I Play Chamber Music: Celia Craig

Celia Craig - Oboe 

‘Celia Craig is a remarkable musician. Australia is fortunate to now claim her and Adelaide is the incredibly lucky city she has chosen to call home. I have never heard her play anything any less than world class’ - Carl Vine AO, Artistic Director of Musica Viva Australia. 

A former Scholar at the Purcell School, Exhibitioner and Prizewinner at the Royal Academy of Music, Celia was elected an Associate of the RAM in 1997. Appointed Principal Oboe with London Chamber Players while still at the RAM, she has performed several times for the Royal Family, recorded at Abbey Road, toured extensively, including South America, Greece, America, Thailand, Japan, Norway, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Lithuania with a stellar list of conductors: Bernstein, Boulez, Berio, Haitink, Ashkenazy, Rattle, Morricone, and others, a highlight being Shostakovitch in St Petersburg with Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Critics from The Times, The Australian and The Guardian among others have described her playing as ‘melifluous’…’vocal’…’beguiling’… ‘eloquent’…’ plangent’ and ‘exquisite’“…oboist Celia Craig’s effortless vivacity … superbly characterful, almost theatrically alive performance…”  (Graham Strahle, The Australian, May 2016).

Celia was recently invited to become Music Curator for the National Trust of South Australia, designing a new Signature Series of concerts at Ayers House as well as planning music in many of the Trust’s other historic properties.

In 2018 Celia will premiere a new Concerto with the Adelaide Symphony, written for her by distinguished British composer Judith Weir, Master of the Queens Music, and perform at the International Double Reed Society conference in Granada, Spain, as well as releasing an album with her chamber group, Artaria.

Why I Play Chamber Music ... 

During a musician’s many years of apprenticeship it is almost inevitable to spend long periods incubating performances alone in tiny practice rooms. Large spaces, beautiful surroundings and acoustics then almost inevitably become an obsession for their natural performance enhancement. And for me, context has always been another preoccupation, especially with the vanguard of historically informed performance practice in which I was thoroughly involved, although eventually choosing the satisfying trajectory of a symphonic orchestral career.

I am a strong believer in the restorative power of chamber music for both performer and listener- away from the grandeur of orchestral sounds, one experiences the true connection between performers, everyone enjoys the interaction between performance and audience reception. Every opportunity to perform chamber music fulfills all musicians’ real highlights: genuine interaction shared with friends in a beautiful space. 

On Curating Chamber Music ... 

Although all of my early education was spent hoping and planning to become a musician, I also have a strong interest in local history and have always enjoyed discovering the built environment where ever I’ve lived. Therefore it’san honour and a joy to be entrusted with planning music to be heard in the National Trust of South Australia’s unique properties, and a particular pleasure to consider suitable programs which can consider both the heritage of the building and the historical context of the music. The National Trust of South Australia has a vision to make our heritage places vibrant venues for all forms of art, of which the Ayers House Signature Series I have curated is one new strand. I sought to match that vision with a series of attractive and varied events, featuring artists at the top of their game. 

You can catch Celia Craig in our next concert Beethoven's Quintet and in many of our 2018 concerts.