Andrew Collis in Canberra, Australia

                  June 2008

I was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 1990 to spend four months in Britain lokking at the teaching of musical literacy in primary schools using the recorder. Thus, in 1991 I met Paul Clark and through him Andrew Collis. Andrew and I have remained in touch over the years, and it was with great pleasuere that my husband and I welcomed him and his partner to our home in Canberra.

We had lined up several events for Andrew. The first was probably the highlight-he was invited to join the Governor General and his wife for dinner at Government House, a beautiful old extended and refitted pastoralist''s mansion dating from the late 1880s. After dinner Andrew entertained the forty guests to a short recital of solo recorder music in the drawing room during coffee. Andrew played Van Eyck''s Wat zalman op den Avond doen, which brought a gasp from everyone, then Telemann''s Fantasia in A minor, and Ben Thorn''s playful avant-garde work for bass, The Voice of the Crocodile. The recital was very much enjoyed and appreciated, especially as most of the guests had very little knowledge of recorders.

The following day, Andrew joned me with my U3A Recorder Orchestra of about sixty members. We meet each week for several hours, and all of us were thrilled to have Andrew to conduct workshops with the obligatory tea breaks! Andrew took us through the Overture to Handel''s Messiah, then his own arrangement of Dvorak''s Slavonic Dance No.8, and Bloodworth''s arrangement of After You''ve Gone. He stressed the stylistic interpretation of each piece, with an emphasis on meticulous ensemble playing. He put us through our paces, and with marvellous good-natured exactitude. The end result was that the orchestra and the hitherto unseen pieces came together to everyone''s delight and satisfaction. The day was beautifully rounded off by Andrew''s 45 minute solo recital. He introduced each piece and the particular recorder to be used, amd demonstrated many of the different sounds and techniques possible on recorders.

The recital was a repetition of the recital at Government House with additions. The Van Eyck was again played with gusto and brilliance. A gasp went up again. Two Medieval Italian Dances were then followed by the Telemann and a Bach Partita- both superbly played. The dream flute was used for Christopher Ball''s Pan Overheard-an evocative demonstration of panpipes using different types of vibrato with breath and fingers.After Staep''s Virtuoso Suite, the final work was Voice of the Crocodile. This was not the bass as we expect it, but a tour-de-force of voice, percussive sounds and avant-garde techniques. This had the audience sitting on the edge of their seats, wondering what they would hear next! We had an inspiring afternoon of music making and listening, and came away full of admiration for Andrew as a tutor and as a performer, and enthusiasm and determination to really work on those chromatic scales.

Margaret Wright   Recorder Magazine Autumn 2008

Andrew Collis's Profile | Create your badge
Make your own badge!