Why I Play Chamber Music - Michael Dixon

Why I Play Chamber Music - Michael Dixon

Welcome to our latest Omega blog series featuring the musicians of Omega Ensemble. Each week one musician will be featured. Get to know more about their thoughts on music, performing and what they love most about music.

In this new series we asked the musicians of Omega Ensemble one simple question : why do you play chamber music? They were allowed to answer as freely as possible.

Michael Dixon - French Horn

Born in New Zealand in 1961,  Michael began piano studies with his grandmother and horn with his father. Michael has held full-time positions with a number of Australian orchestras including that of Principal Horn in the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra. Michael now freelances and is a regular with the Australian Opera & Ballet Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with most orchestras in Australia including the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Ludovico’s Band on natural horn. Chamber music credits include his contemporary ensemble LOCANA, since 2003, and Omega Ensemble from 2013.

Teaching is an important part of his work with lessons focusing on nurturing the abilities of each student. He has taught in a number of schools in Sydney and Brisbane along with tertiary teaching for the Queensland Conservatorium and the Sydney Conservatorium. In 2011 he was awarded a Doctor of Creative Arts from the University of Wollongong after having previously been awarded an MPhil in composition from the University of Queensland and MMus in Musicology from Griffith University.

Composition is also a significant part of his musical life having written much ensemble music along with songs and percussion works. A considerable number of his compositions include intervals from the harmonic series, extended just intonation. His music is published by Wirripang . In March 2015 Michael launched CHIME Music College with a focus on exploring the language of music.

Why I Play Chamber Music

When I started to think about this I remembered the beaut experiences I had in high school with fellow students. I also had orchestras and bands to play in but it was the wonderful deep interaction with a few musicians that provided my most cherished musical experiences. 

On further reflection I recall getting a real buzz doing duets with my dad, who played trumpet and some of his trumpet students also testing our transposition skills. I would have been around 11 or 12 years old. Once a few recitals had come my way I thoroughly enjoyed duets for piano and horn after maturing past the feeling that the piano was there to get one through exams. 

I love the sense of being totally essential to the musical experience in chamber music, of having the opportunity to mould the music, to have a point of view and a chance to present it. To me, these are the most engaging musical times. 

See Michael performing in Strauss' Four Last Songs and in many more concerts at our On Demand Channel.

You can also see him performing in Schubert's Octet in F at our next concert on 27 July at City Recital Hall.