Life at the Conservatorium – Nikhil Deo
A degree from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University can take you down many career paths. From Eurovision finalists Kate Miller-Heidke and Dami Im to Tim Davies, who orchestrated the music for La La Land and Frozen, many of the Conservatorium’s graduates have found remarkable success.
In this series we asked students from the Conservatorium to share their experiences at university. This week we are highlighting Nikhil Deo, Bachelor of Music student majoring in viola.
What is a regular day at university like for you?
Well, that’s the thing. Is there a regular day at the Con? Yes, we have normal scheduled classes, but my day can be anything between just a one-hour lecture, to having a two-hour lecture, 6 hours of orchestra rehearsals, maybe even a two-hour quartet rehearsal. In even busier times, we might want to chuck in a concert into the mix as well. There is no regular day at university, and I love it! Being surrounded by all sorts of different musical activities.
What do you love most about Queensland Conservatorium and why did you come here to study?
There are so many things to love about the university! But I think the main reason I love and wanted to come here was because of the staff. My viola teacher, Graeme Jennings, has won prestigious world-renowned awards, and played in well-respected positions including guest concertmaster of some of Australia’s leading orchestras. The former Head of Opera at the Conservatorium, Nicholas Cleobury, has conducted more than 25 different orchestras in England! This includes the BBC orchestras and London Symphony Orchestra. Paul Dean, Head of Winds, is the former Artistic Director at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM). These are a few of the MANY people that teach at the Conservatorium.
Have you had many opportunities to perform?
I have been apart of multiple performances in the past semester. With the university, I have played in several orchestral concerts, including playing the Verdi Requiem with the Opera Queensland Chorus as part of the Bleach Festival at the Gold Coast. The quartet I am in have played for the children in the Queensland Children’s Hospital and in the Conservatorium Chamber Ensemble Concerts. I have also been a part of the Conservatorium Divertimenti Ensemble, playing Brahms and Schoenberg. Outside of the Conservatorium, I have performed with the Queensland Youth Orchestra in their production of the Nutcracker with the Queensland Ballet Academy, as well as supporting orchestras I was in previously such as the Young Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra.
What is your proudest achievement so far?
Currently, my proudest achievement is being invited to play in the Brisbane City Hall with my Quartet – Beldeine Quartet.
Why study viola?
I love the role the viola plays in the music society. It has the dexterity of the violin, and the resonance of the cello. Either as an orchestral instrument, where it colours the harmony, or as a chamber instrument, where it helps provide movement. It can also act as a solo instrument, where it can play melodies that are dark yet somewhat rich with tone, or fast virtuosic passages where it sounds strident – in a good way.
Have there been any classes or specific teachers who have inspired you throughout your time here?
All my teachers have inspired me in some way! Even teachers that don’t directly teach me. My viola teacher is probably the most inspiring. Seeing Graeme playing a piece by Carter (Duo for Violin and Piano), made me realize that I am learning from a true professional!
What are your plans once you graduate from the Conservatorium?
I haven’t set my mind into anything yet. I have two general directions I want to head into, however. I wish to do a Masters of Education. I am very passionate about teaching and want to spread the love of classical music to the next generation as well. I also want to do a Masters of Music, majoring in conducting, overseas in institutes like the Royal College of Music. I have always been fond of working collaboratively with so many different people!
What inspires you?
Simply walking into the Conservatorium and seeing a variety of very capable, first-class musicians practicing or performing fills me with inspiration, and reminds me of who I can be.
Study at the Queensland Conservatorium, one of Australia’s leading music and performing arts schools.
For more information on concerts at the Conservatorium, visit queenslandconservatorium.com.au