WASO Principal Percussion Brian Maloney was recently announced as UWA Conservatorium of Music’s Chair of Percussion. With applications soon to open for the next intake of WASO and UWA’s Master of Music (Orchestral Performance) we caught up with Brian to find out about his new role and his life of music.

In 2018, WASO and UWA launched the Master of Music (Orchestral Performance) which will see its first students in 2021, with the 2020 intake carried over.

The program focuses on orchestral training, community outreach and career support for the next generation of musicians. Through this Masters, program participants will hone their craft as an orchestral musician, acquire the skills and knowledge required to become a 21st Century orchestral musician of the highest calibre.

WASO Musicians will share their expertise and experience with the next generation of orchestral musicians, participants will gain greater confidence and understanding of what is required to reach the highest standards in the profession.

How and where did your musical journey begin?

I began studying drums when I was 10 years old. I first started out playing in my school concert band, and from there began studying privately and eventually auditioned for a local youth orchestra where I fell in love with orchestral music.

Can you remember your first WASO concert?

It was a program under the baton of Alexander Lazarev that had Tchaikovsky Symphony No.1, which is an amazing piece. It was my first time playing that particular Tchaikovsky symphony and to play it under a Russian conductor was an experience I’ll never forget.

What do you love most about being a professional musician?

I think the greatest joy of being a musician comes from our ability to change peoples’ lives for the better, whether it’s over the course of a night, a year, or even a fleeting moment. If I can provide some sort of solace or reprieve even for just one person in the audience I’ve done my job well.

What are your favourite percussion instruments to play?

That’s a tough question. In a way, being section principal means it’s my job to love all the various percussion instruments equally, so I tend to love whichever instruments I’m playing that week the most. That being said, there’s nothing better than playing the climactic cymbal crash in a Mahler symphony!

You’ve recently been appointed Chair of Percussion at UWA. In your opinion, what is the most important concept to teach to your students?

I think the concept of developing a strong work ethic is easily one of the most important things you can instil in a student. Talent accomplishes nothing without hard work and dedication, and that’s a lesson that is transferable into any field of study.

How does it feel to be back performing with an audience?

Quite simply, it’s amazing. I am so privileged to be here in WA and to play in an orchestra of this calibre. It really makes grateful for where I’m at in life, and where Western Australia is in relation to the current global climate.


Applications for the July 2021 intake of UWA Conservatorium of Music’s Master of Music (Orchestral Performance) open in January. For more information click here.

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