On the Couch with Tim Munro

Tim Munro - photo by Joe MazzaWho is Tim Munro?
I’m a Aussie musician based in Chicago. How DO I describe myself? I’m a flute player by training, but I’m also a broadcaster, writer, curator, and occasional musical director… For nine years I played in the touring ensemble called Eighth Blackbird.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
When I was 17 I set my sights on a pretty conventional classical career. I didn’t see many other models out there. When I slipped down this weirder path, there was always a little tiny devil on my shoulder that yearned for the security of that orchestra job, of that teaching position. But then I think “What would the 14-year-old version of me think of what I’m doing?” Honestly, I reckon he’d be stoked.

Who inspires you and why?
My wife is my biggest artistic inspiration. Her name is Julie Ritchey, and she runs a theatre for young audiences in Chicago called Filament Theatre. Her work does two things incredibly well: treating audiences and performers as equals, breaking down the hard barrier between the two; understanding that the best sort of audience is an audience of young people, who come to art with openness, honesty, and some serious sassiness. Most of my work is for grown-ups, but I try really hard to talk to the  child within all of us…

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I think about this question a lot at the moment. I feel a certain powerless as an artist, but I often program works like the one I’m directing at ANAM (John Luther Adams’ Ten Thousand Birds), which focus our mind on nature’s beauty, danger, and fragility.

Favorite holiday destination, and why?
Mexico City, Mexico City, Mexico City. The energy, the vibrancy, the food, the museums, the history, the music…

When friends come to town (Chicago), what would you take them to, and why?
Three things: tacos, the architecture, and the neighbourhoods.

What are you currently reading?
It’s been a discombobulating year of work, and I’m looking for a book to just grab me and not let go. I’m reading The Fireman by Joe Hill – who is a great writer in his own right, but also happens to be the son of the one Stephen King…

What are you currently listening to?
All of the podcasts in the known world. I particularly love the dorkiness of In Out Time – the fascinating cultural conversations of the Slate Culture Gabfest, and the long chats about writing on the Longform podcast…

Happiness is?
My wife, my cat, a couch, and a pot of tea between us.

What does the future hold for you?
Gosh. I’m always chipping away at several dream projects. Some fail, some succeed, some lurch to the finish line. I’m working with the Pulitzer-finalist American composer Christopher Cerrone on a project inspired by the heartrending, strange, funny blog called “last message received”. It will be an immersive, unconducted work that zooms in on the challenges and beauty of modern communication.

Tim will collaborate with five ANAM musicians to present Ten Thousand Birds, transforming the South Melbourne Town Hall into a Midwestern American Landscape on Tuesday 4 June 2019. For more information, visit: www.anam.com.au for details.

Image: Tim Munro – photo by Joe Mazza