LICENSED TO TRILL - Australian Brandenburg Orchestra

LICENSED TO TRILL The story of Melissa, Mikaela, Howard and Fred. SYDNEY, MELBOURNE & BRISBANE from 27 July.

When the spotlight falls on Melissa Farrow and Mikaela Oberg in Blazing Baroque, these modern baroque stars will be taking the baton from the previous generation in their field - the late Fred Morgan, widely recognised as one of the world's finest recorder makers, and Mikaela's dad, Howard Oberg.

Howard was the Brandenburg's original recorder player and played an exquisite Fred Morgan crafted instrument on the orchestra's ARIA Award-nominated debut album in the early 90s.

His daughter Mikaela will play that very same instrument when she and Melissa Farrow play a concerto for flute and recorder by Telemann: "This recorder was made in 1983, which means it is older than me and it has had a longer career with the Brandenburg than I have!"

Melissa, now Australia's pre-eminent performer on baroque flute, was taught and mentored by Howard at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music from the age of 17, when Mikaela was just 10.

Howard also informally taught Mikaela, but 'audaciously' at 17 she told him she wanted 'real' lessons. So who did Howard turn to to teach and mentor his own daughter? Melissa was the natural choice.

"Saturdays quickly became my favourite day of the week," says Mikaela of her weekly lesson. "Melissa soon suggested I try the baroque flute and the rest, I guess, is history."

In 2004 there was a turning point in Melissa's career when Artistic Director Paul Dyer asked her to be Principal Flute with the Brandenburg: "It was a huge challenge especially as I had two children under the age of 5 at the time. I had to weave more efficient practice techniques into my day to keep up a high standard of playing."

It wasn't long after that Paul Dyer invited Mikaela to play alongside Melissa in the Brandenburg, performing her first concerts with the orchestra in 2005.


Mikaela is not the only offspring of an original Brandenburg member playing with the orchestra. The father of baroque violinist Natalia Harvey is Dominic Harvey, the original Principal Horn (playing from 1990 to 2001), and her aunt Bianca Porcheddu who has played violin with the Brandenburg since 1999.

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