Selby & Friends to honour International Women’s Day
by Justine Nguyen on February 24, 2017
The chamber music series will donate 50% of ticket sales until March 8 to the Katrina Dawson Foundation.
Chamber music series Selby & Friends will mark International Women’s Day by donating 50% of their ticket sales, made between now and March 8, to the Katrina Dawson Foundation. Established in memory of Sydney Siege victim Katrina Dawson, the Foundation supports education opportunities for women.
“International Women’s Day is fundamentally about transforming the lives of women both locally and globally, to help women and girls achieve their dreams and to challenge bias,” Artistic Director and pianist Kathryn Selby explained to Limelight. “It’s also about valuing both men and women in leadership and trying to achieve a more balanced and inclusive culture. This is why Selby & Friends celebrates International Women’s Day.”
Selby also praised the “critical work” done by the Katrina Dawson Foundation, stating that it assisted “gifted young women to reach their goals where they may not have been able to. As a woman in a privileged society working with both brilliant women and men to bring music into people’s lives, I feel fortunate to be able to contribute to the community in this way, and I know my colleagues support this initiative as much as I do.”
Selby & Friends launches its 2017 season with a national tour of Youth & the Dance, opening on International Women’s Day. Australian rising star violinist Grace Clifford and American cellist Clancy Newman join Selby on the tour. When asked why she chose Clifford and Newman for the tour, Kathryn was unstinting in her praise.
“I believe they are both entirely natural performers who share a deep respect for the great music they are playing and this makes for a very special experience for all involved,” she said. “This particular programme highlights exuberance and a strong sense of self, both attributes highly developed in both my guest artists.”
“Clancy is a born musician, living deeply within music in all its forces – performer, creator, interpreter. He is an instinctive performer with great knowledge and this makes him an exciting musician with whom to work.”
“I have been watching Grace since she first competed in a competition I was adjudicating at age 12,” Selby said. “Since then we have worked together with great success and I find her a highly intelligent and absorbing musician”.
The Youth and the Dance programme shows off the diversity of the piano trio genre, with works from a youthful Beethoven and Saint-Saëns crowned by the evergreen folk-inspired Dumky Trio by Dvořák.
Limelight also spoke to Clifford, who makes an anticipated return to Selby & Friends after her debut in the ‘Development Artist’ programme in 2014. She first made waves competing at age 13 in the 2012 Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition, going on to take top honours at the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year Awards in 2014. Now studying at the Curtis Institute of Music, Clifford reflected on the progress she has made since performing with Selby.
“My collective musical experience since first playing with Selby & Friends could be condensed by the wisdom of Einstein when he said: ‘The more I learn, the more I realise how much I don’t know,’” she said. “In the past few years I have enjoyed learning much more about the theoretical and historical foundation of music, and in moving to Curtis I was exposed to a plethora of deeply held, often contradictory opinions on musical interpretation from both mentors and friends. In some ways I lament the loss of freedom and musical innocence I had prior to becoming so aware; one has to balance knowledge and intellect with the conviction to express one’s personal response to the music freely – informed but not burdened – which can be very difficult.
“It is such a privilege to be able to work with musicians of the calibre and experience of Kathy and Clancy,” she added. “I know that there will be so much to learn from their artistry.” Grace also praised the “thoughtfully put together programme”, stating that “the works share a youthful exuberance but also a profoundly beautiful simplicity in melodic writing.”.
Now that she’s studying in the USA, celebrating International Women’s day and supporting the Katrina Dawson Foundation has an even greater resonance for Clifford.
“As a young woman living in the USA, it feels more important than ever to be conscious of and actively involved in the issues of gender equality and women’s rights,” she said. “I find Donald Trump’s documented behaviour toward women to be repulsive, and it highlights some deep-seated prejudices that still exist in our supposedly very civilised society. I believe that one involved with the Arts has a duty to uphold a truth and a search for a peace – not achieved through silence – that transcends politics. To support the Katrina Dawson Foundation in particular is very meaningful to me because they are dedicated to helping young women overcome barriers to achieve their potential. From what I have read about Katrina Dawson, she was an incredible role model for seizing all opportunities gratefully and with humility”.