Principal Timpanist, Queensland Symphony Orchestra since 1998
Thoughts on playing Timps
I certainly agree with many other Timpanists in that with the position comes great responsibility, power of sound, and the opportunity to be creative. I believe it would be one of the most enjoyable positions in the Orchestra! The constant decision making with sounds, shape, timbre (stick choice) means that the player can approach a piece of music in a variety of ways. You can add a layer of bass presence to the Orchestral sound, or be purely “a drum” playing very rhythmically and precise, and many variations in between.
My Hardtke drums allow me to deliver all of these elements when needed. I find that working with the conductor, having a good relationship across the Orchestra is also very important. Sometimes leading the placement of rhythm, shape of the phrase or playing “inside” the orchestral sound are just some of the options you have. Having the conductor trust you and your instincts is a good place to be and something I always try to achieve.
I was born in Brisbane, Queensland in 1969. I began learning Percussion from 11 years of age; however it wasn’t until I began University studies at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 1987 that I was exposed to the role of the Timpani in the Symphony Orchestra under Alan Cumberland. Alan had moved to Queensland in this year from London where he was Professor of Timpani and Percussion at the Royal College and Principal Timpanist of the London Philharmonic Orchestra for 20 years.
I felt very comfortable on the Timps early on with Alan’s tutelage and found I simply loved playing in an Orchestra. Percussion studies were continued alongside the timpani studies which led to success following my Post Graduate Diploma where I was appointed my first Orchestral position – Section Percussion, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in 1990.
In 1992 I was very fortunate to appear with the London Philharmonic Orchestra for 3 months as a Timpanist/Percussionist. Many thanks again to Alan!
In 1998 I became the Principal Timpanist in the QSO where I still am today. Over the years I have appeared as guest Principal Timpanist with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble Kanazawa in Japan and currently Principal Timpanist in the Australian World Orchestra.
After speaking with other Timpanists who play Hardtke, and hearing these drums in our hall here in Queensland (courtesy of the visiting Hamburg Philharmonic) I was sold on these instruments as the very best Timpani I needed to produce the sounds and impact I was looking for.
From the moment I wheeled the timps out of their boxes, they not only looked fantastic but sounded fantastic – a testament to the quality of design, construction and trueness of the bowls. The Berlin pedal system gives the player peace of mind through its ease of use.
The pedals are silent in operation and pinpointing the centre of the pitch is very manageable. Along with the fine tuner, these drums are very “user friendly” from the bottom to the top of all ranges. Their dynamic range capabilities leave nothing to be desired. From sonorous bass-like playing at any dynamic to clear and powerful strokes supporting the Brass section – these drums deliver both warmth and direct pitch.
Since using Hardtke Timpani I no longer get asked by Conductors to “use harder sticks” or to play “dryer” so from the player’s perspective I feel I can play with a lot of freedom.
81, 74, 72, 65, 62, 56 ( 32”, 29”, 28”, 25.5”, 24.5”, 22 )
Berlin Bowls with retractable wheel system, American set-up with Kalfo heads.
Ginter, Kappert, Morbey, Funke, 4Timp and Offelder