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Genevieve Lacey on Soliloquy and the world of solo performance

Genevieve Lacey on Soliloquy and the world of solo performance

Genevieve Lacey explores Soliloquy and the art of solo performance: one instrument, one player,  one composer, one collection of music, one dancer.

Genevieve Lacey is a recorder virtuoso, serial collaborator and artistic director, with a significant recording catalogue and a career as an international soloist. In 2018, Genevieve is Artist-in-Residence at Melbourne Recital Centre, takes on a new role as Artistic Advisor to UKARIA, and continues as Chair of the Australian Music Centre board, and inaugural Artistic Director of FutureMakers, Musica Viva Australia’s artist leadership program.

Genevieve transports us into her world of performing as a solo instrumentalist, leading up to her Australian premiere of Soliloquy this November. Catch a glimpse of Genevieve's virtuosity in the video above, captured by ABC Classics.

Genevieve Lacey

Soliloquy and the world of solo performance

Soliloquy focuses on an internal world. The audience bear witness to a very personal outpouring. The focus is deliberately narrow – one instrument, one player, composer, collection of music, and one dancer. The minimalism distils the experience. 

Playing solo can leave you terrifyingly vulnerable – no brilliant colleagues to be inspired by, no other sounds and energies to bounce off, no human warmth to wrap yourself in as you prepare and perform. But it can also be pure bliss, one of the most unmediated, powerful connections with music that I know.

“Just breathe and listen,” I tell myself. “It’s as simple as that.” And it is. 

Genevieve Lacey and her recorder
Genevieve Lacey

I know that if I can get there, there’s a place where all existence is pure breathing and listening. In that place, I’m immersed in sound. I’m weightless, strong and supple, part of something much older and bigger than I am. It’s beautiful. Time drops away, my senses are intensely alive, my conscious mind is still, and I am capable of sensing and responding to infinite subtlety. In that magical place, I am tenderly, powerfully connected to the people listening, to a long line of music-making ancestors, to people whose spirits I love and carry, and to people I’ll never meet. 

This for me, is music. It’s my element. 

If the miracle comes, it generally comes late. When I’m lucky, I get glimpses of it days or hours before a concert. Sometimes, it doesn’t come at all. But when it does, my instrument starts to breathe with me, it’s warm and alive in my hands, I can bend phrases any which way, my brain stops blocking me, my senses and imagination take over, and I’ve reached that magical breathing, listening place. 

The notes are my own, deeply personal, but carrying resonances from many times and places. I feel truthful, alive, connected through time to other listeners and players. There’s no divide between my instrument and me. No divide between the now united Genevieve-recorder creature and the music. No divide between the music, player, listeners. 

This music is alive. We breathe and listen, and we’re connected through sound. 

Genevieve Lacey performs Soliloquy, in collaboration with a creative team directed by Gideon Obarzanek in Elisabeth Murdoch Hall on Thursday 22 November 7:30pm. Discover more about the concert and book tickets here

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