The Amogus Trio, made up of Anna Suzuki, Jeremy Sun and Joshua Jones, have had a whirlwind of a year. Having only formed in March of this year, the talented, Queensland-based ensemble who are taught by Tim Li have proven themselves as one of the brightest stars of Australia's next generation of chamber music; this much was noticeable when they first submitted their performance video, and then solidified when they took out the Robert Salzer First Prize at this year's Strike a Chord championship.
We sat down with the three musicians that make up Amogus Trio, to learn about them, the process of Strike A Chord, memories of the experience, and more.
Firstly, congratulations for winning Strike A Chord! How did it feel When you heard your names announced by Wilma Smith?
Jeremy: I think we were all a bit surprised and shocked when Wilma Smith announced our group as the winning ensemble since there was a lot of great chamber music played.
When did you all start playing together?
We first got together in March, 2021.
Can you tell us a little about how a rehearsal works with your group? How do you all work together? Do you have a teacher in the room with you?
We had rehearsals once a week with our coordinators Tim and Anna but we also got together by ourselves to rehearse. The composer and piece was new to all of us. getting the character and feel for the piece was quite difficult at first.
What did you think about when you were on stage?
Jeremy: Before the recording I felt a little nervous but also quite excited and during the recording I was just trying to enjoy it and hoped that all the work from the rehearsals had paid off.
Josh: I was trying to remember all the little details that we had worked on during the rehearsals and tried to apply them every time we played.
What was the hardest part about preparing for Strike A Chord?
Anna: For me, it was the travelling for an hour to go to the rehearsals and then another hours going back, which was a bit annoying for me.
Jeremy: I think a lot of the times, we had conflicting ideas on parts of the piece e.g. phrasing/articulation and may or may not have had small arguments about it. However, we always manage to find a way.
Josh: A major difficulty that our group had was finding a balance in where we played within the musical texture, such as playing a bit more subtly when another instrument had the melody.
What was the best thing about Strike A Chord?
Josh: I think the best thing about Strike a Chord was how we could get together and do the thing we love that is making music.
Why do you love learning an instrument?
Jeremy: the piano is a very fascinating instrument and there’s always so many new things to discover every time you sit down to practice.
Josh: musical instruments allow for unending creativity in music that many people know and love. Cello has a unique sound that can have both an airy lyricism but also a deep richness at the same time
Who’s your musical hero?
Josh: There are a handful of cellists that are renowned for several different things. Rostropovich is regarded as one of the best cellists of all time and he was admired for his passionate and intense timbre, as well as the sheer command and control he had over the instrument and sound.
Jeremy: I don’t think I can pin only one musician as my ‘hero’ as there are so many who have inspired me e.g. Lupu and Katchen’s Brahms and Blechacz’s Chopin etc.
What will you do with the prize money?
Jeremy: We used some of our prize to start a not-for-profit chamber music program in Brisbane. I have also used the rest of the money to get a camera for higher quality recording videos.
Josh: I will be using some of my share of the prize money to pay for my music studies interstate next year.
What would you tell other young musicians who are thinking about entering Strike A Chord?
Jeremy: It’s a really great experience and a lot of fun too. I guess there’s nothing to lose (also great prize money if you do get a place ;) ).
Josh: Strike a Chord is a fantastic opportunity to work with other musicians and further your musical understanding and knowledge. It will prepare you for the communication and teamwork required in musical (or non-musical) professions.
It was insightful to hear from the winners of the Strike A Chord 2021, the Amogus Trio. This talented, driven and enlightening group are guiding the way to the future of chamber music. Musica Viva continues to support and foster emerging chamber musicians and aims to showcase their talents. To learn more about Strike A Chord and for updates, click here.