I am a musician and author from Hobart, Tasmania. Alongside my work with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra I am a writing course junkie. I’m currently an Apprentice with Elephant Journal and plan to next undertake a course about story-telling for change
My work includes short stories, feature articles, personal essays and concert reviews. I have nearly completed a series of reflections arising from my experience of living with cancer, which I plan to publish later this year. I am currently much inspired by the work of Roxane Gay, and my next book is likely to be a series of personal responses to living with a negative body image.
You can find my work in CutCommon, Limelight Magazine, Stringendo, Elephant Journal, Lite Lit One and The Fictional Cafe. My first short story, ‘Georgina’s Dilemma’, won 3rd prize in a ‘Writers’ Forum short story competition in 2017 and my memoir piece, 'The Diagnosis', won 2nd prize in The Field of Words memoir competition, 2018.
I have recently had some success with public readings of some of my writing, which is particularly effective when sharing a stage with musician(s). A further evening of words and music is planned for later this year, and will feature violinist Susan Collins, and my short story, THe Red Dress.
After a lifetime of touring the world with my viola, I have finally settled in a little house by the Mt Wellington fire trail, where I live in domestic bliss with my two cats and trav
el as little as possible. In addition to playing and writing, I love to cook, read and swim.
Contact: [email protected]
Lymphoma Australia was at the forefront of the action-informing, challenging and, most importantly, encouraging me to think and reflect about what lymphoma means to me. First, the informing. The statistics are mind-blowing. 19 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year. 19 million! 150,000 of those are in Australia.
Such an unassuming word. Such a profound emotion. I'm not talking about the contentment that is the opposite of discontent. That's a fleeting feeling, rather like the relief of scratching an itch-quite good, but it doesn't last. The discontent, like the itch, always comes back.
"We read to know we are not alone" - C.S. Lewis Last week, I had various plans for how to use my solitude constructively. I have made a start, but find that I don't like being told what to do, even by myself.
"In a pandemic, self-isolation is called quarantine. In Buddhism, it is called retreat. From the cave of our homes, like the meditators of ancient times, we can consciously kindle the lamp of compassion and connection" - Lama Willa Miller What a difference a label can make.
"And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested...and learned new ways of being" - Kitty O'Meara Saturday March 14 - my last concert for the foreseeable future. The ban on large gatherings was just coming into force, so there was no audience, but it was a great concert nonetheless.
I can't find the word. Somewhere, in the swirling mist of my mind, I know it's there. Just out of reach. I chase it but it skips away from me as it laughs. It doesn't want to be caught today. I used to use it, the word, with such ease.
BY JO ST LEON The Trout Michael Aquilina Chamber Music Festival - Concert 1 Laurence Matheson (piano); Dale Barltrop (violin); Christopher Cartlidge (viola); Rachael Tobin (cello); Stephen Newton (double bass)Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, Athenaeum Theatre, 30 May This concert was the opening event in the Michael Aquilina Chamber Music Festival, and it was a fitting tribute to Aquilina's outstanding philanthropy.
Highlights coming up in online streaming as well as on ABC Classic and the independent radio stations ArtSound, Fine Music Sydney, 3MBS, 4MBS and 5MBS. An uneasy start redeemed by energetic, committed playing. A touching farewell concert celebrating Tasmanian cello star Sue-Ellen Paulsen. A dazzling evening of music making from all involved.
BY JO ST LEON TSO Live Sessions Featuring musicians of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Longley International Hotel, 3 February I set off for Longley, very aware as I drove that I was heading towards multiple fires and a big smoke cloud. Arriving at the Longley International Hotel, though, I could almost believe that none of that existed.
BY JO ST LEON Jonathan Békés in recital TSO studio, 21 November Jonathan Békés (Jono) is the newest recruit to the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra's outstanding cello section. He has fitted an enormous amount of music into his 25 years.
One of the highlights of attending a Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra concert for me is watching its principal double bass player Stuart Thomson working his magic. He has an extraordinary relationship with his instrument in which player and bass almost become one, living and breathing the music.
BY JO ST LEON For the past seven years, Marko Letonja has taken the roles of chief conductor and artistic director with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. But it was recently announced that his time with the orchestra, due to finish at the end of this year, will be extended.
BY JO ST LEON Disclaimer: This feature was written under the guidance of Curtain University through Open Universities Australia as part of Jo's studies in Professional Writing and Publishing. It has been edited by CutCommon. Cellist and pedagogue Janis Laurs was farewelled by his colleagues at the Elder Conservatorium this June.