Royalty beckons after Amy’s Kelso concert

Amy Dickson is in Kelso tomorrow night (Friday 21st)
Amy Dickson is in Kelso tomorrow night (Friday 21st)

WHAT with entertaining Kelso Music Society and celebrating the Queen’s visit to Australia, it is set to be a busy end to October for talented saxophonist Amy Dickson.

The Sydney-born concerto star appears tomorrow evening at Kelso High School alongside pianist Martin Cousin.

She then hops on an 18-hour flight Down Under to Perth for the Commonwealth Gala Concert on Tuesday, being held during the royal ten-day visit to Australia.

Amy will perform the western Australian premiere of Graeme Koehne’s Inflight Entertainment in the city’s Concert Hall, alongside the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra.

Next Sunday, October 30, a day after the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh leave, she will take part in a Commonwealth Thanksgiving Service in Perth Cathedral.

A busy time then for Amy – but she is used to the demands on a professional musician, having made her concerto debut at 16.

She subsequently received the Australian Young Artist of the Year award and on her 18th birthday she recorded the Dubois Divertissement with John Harding and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

The following year she moved to London where she studied at the Royal College of Music where she was the first saxophonist to win major competitions including the Gold Medal at the Royal Overseas League Competition, the Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year competition, and the Prince’s Prize.

She has performed in front of some important political figures and at major venues, such as the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta, the Scottish Parliament, St James’ Palace in London and for former Australian Prime Minister, John Howard at Parliament House, Canberra.

Amy has released two critically acclaimed recordings. Her first, Smile, was released in 2008, and led Gramophone magazine to write: “She has an individual and unusual tone, luscious, silky-smooth, sultry and voluptuous by turns; her phrasing is beautifully finished, her control of dynamic infinitely subtle.”

Her second album, Glass, Tavener, Nyman, comprises the Violin Concerto by Philip Glass and The Protecting Veil by John Tavener, both of which she arranged, and Where the Bee Dances by Michael Nyman.

She has also made recordings of McDowall’s concerto Dancing Fish, Larsson’s Konzert and Dubois’ Divertissment, and has appeared on Bollywood composer Mithoon Sharma’s album Tu Hi Mere Rab Ki Tarah Hai.

Among the composers to have worked with Amy are Graham Fitkin, Steve Martland, Huw Watkins, Martin Butler, Michael Csanyi-Wills, Cecilia McDowall and Timothy Salter.

In 2008 she gave the first performance of the Violin Concerto by Philip Glass arranged for soprano saxophone with Otto Tausk and the Auckland Philharmonia, and subsequent performances with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

Martin Cousin is another previous winner of the Royal Overseas League Competition, in 2003, as well as the Ettore Pozzoli International Piano contest in Seregno, Italy.

Having appeared across the world, Martin’s hands have also featured on the big screen.

The appearance, however, is not as bizarre as it first sounds, as they were in the Oscar-winning film Shine which told the story of Aussie pianist David Helfgott, starring Geoffrey Rush.

The pair’s Kelso performance begins at 7.30pm and tickets cost £12, concessions £10, students £3 and under-14s free with an accompanying adult – who will pay only £6. Phone 01668 216550 for more information.