On the Couch with Marshall McGuire

MRC-Marshall-McGuire-photo-by-Steven-GodbeeWho is Marshall McGuire?
I’m a musician, harpist, Director of Programming at Melbourne Recital Centre, proud VCA graduate, and passionate about music in all forms. Born in Melbourne, I’ve been lucky enough to work and live in some fabulous places, including nearly 20 years in Sydney in various guises.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
This current crisis has insisted we all slow down a bit, which has provided more time for reflection, thinking about more than just the immediate future, and a chance to imagine better ways of doing things. I’ll make sure I continue to find this space when things inevitably speed up again.

Who inspires you and why?
I’m fascinated by people who can articulate a clear vision and a pathway to achieving it. There are elements of dreaming, of confidence, of risk, of advocacy, of partnerships, of conversations, of sharing, and of boldness. All inspire me to think differently about how I present ideas to others. Also, people who can dazzle me in areas about which I know nothing – the breadth of human imagination and achievement is astonishing.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d broaden my current networks to talk and listen to more people outside my area of expertise, taking inspiration from their successes, and imagining how this can apply to my own practice. Listening and understanding others viewpoints, and taking time to consider how I can learn from this.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Somewhere with water seems to be a theme, in times when holidays were a thing. Byron Bay is always a haven, as well as the hinterland, especially Bangalow. FNQ (Far North Queenland) is almost beyond description for its beauty and grandeur and its impact on all the senses. And kayaking on the Murray River, quietly floating past pelicans and mighty gums, was unforgettable.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
It’s always the NGV, one of the city’s great treasures, and one of the world’s great galleries. There’s a never ending sense of discovery, of stimulation, of the great and the small – and it always seems to look and feel like the community we live in. Somehow the barriers to attending have disappeared, making it open and accessible and engaging for all.

What are you currently reading?
Our Artist-in-Residence, Anna Goldsworthy, has had her residency disrupted this year, and one of our first programmed events was the launch of her first novel Melting Moments. I’m launching myself into this again in preparation for our first book club later in September. Also on my mind are The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, a memorable and beautiful tale; and Rory MacLean’s Pravda Ha-ha a journey through Putin’s Russia.

What are you currently listening to?
Wagner’s Parsifal is on constant replay – an epic world of glorious sound. Dolly Parton always nearby, recorder music by Genevieve Lacey, John Silvester’s Naked City podcast; Phillip Adams’ LNL (Late Night Live).

Happiness is?
Quiet; thinking time; music; travel; friends; being in a lovely garden (or a garden that requires more work to become lovely).

What does the future hold for you?
I know we’ll get back to performing and attending concerts, so planning continues, as does practice when I can. It’s been a difficult transition to make – practicing and preparing repertoire without a defined performance outcome – a new discipline has had to fall into place. But I’ve rediscovered the joy of practicing for its own sake, a place of quiet focus on technique, new sounds and listening. Most importantly, listening.

Marshall is the Director of Programming at Melbourne Recital Centre – who have been providing crucial financial assistance to artists whose performances have been directly affected by the COVIC-19 pandemic. For more information, visit: www.melbournerecital.com.au for details.

Image: Marshall McGuire – photo by Steven Godbee