On the Couch with Brett Kelly

Brett Kelly AAR On the CouchWho is Brett Kelly?
A very fortunate person who is passionate about orchestral music and has spent almost his whole life performing in, and conducting orchestras. Whether as Principal Trombonist of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, a Guest Conductor of orchestras throughout Australia and New Zealand, or in my new role as Music Director of Melbourne Youth Orchestras, I’m continually energized by the miracle that is the orchestra and its repertoire.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
The only other career path I contemplated was when I was 22 and not sure if I had a future in the music profession. I briefly considering becoming the captain of a sailing “lugger” in the Tahitian islands – I think this career counseling came from Adventures in Paradise which I used to watch as a boy.

Who inspires you and why?
An enormous number of people inspire me, but the bedrock is provided by those millions of Australians who display long-term and often unrecognized heroism through their selfless dedication in caring for those with disabilities, sickness or facing serious life challenges. This is inspiring beyond words.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
With the world facing so many challenges you have to be realistic about what you can achieve as an individual. But if I did have a magic wand my first wish would be to unravel the endemic tribalism of modern politics. As they say “Democracy is the worst possible form of government – except for all the rest”. But what democracy does need from all those who enjoy its protection is a commitment to work for the common good, not just sectional self-interest.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I’ve always be fascinated by the tropics – anywhere that features a temperature to melt butter along with crystal clear waters is just fine with me !

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The Bay, the “Bot” Gardens, the MSO, South Melbourne Market, the Dandenongs, the Penguins and the “G” – if they’re not impressed with that lot they don’t deserve Melbourne !

What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sanders. He won the 2017 Man Booker prize with this novel and although I’m only a hundred pages in there’s no doubt it’s something very special.

What are you currently listening to?
Everything – I’ve just signed up for a new classical music streaming service called iDagio and it is incredible. Every composer, every work and often with twenty or thirty versions to surf between. It also features lots of historical performances which are especially fascinating to me.

Happiness is?
Wow – tough question. I would say continuing to find meaning, inspiration and purpose in your life and never ceasing to be grateful for the wondrous gifts that life gives us !

What does the future hold for you?
To a large extent you control your life, but to an even greater extent life certainly controls you. With that small caveat in mind I plan to keep enjoying and contributing through my life as a musician. Especially with the Melbourne Youth Orchestras I look forward to many exciting and satisfying years ahead.

Brett is Music Director of the Melbourne Youth Orchestras and Director of 125BPM – a concert celebrating 125 years of the Newsboys Foundation at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Sunday 21 October 2018. For more information, visit: www.melbournerecital.com.au for details.

Image: Brett Kelly (supplied)