String theory


The rich, warm tones of the cello come to life in the hands of Dr Peter Rees of Cannon & Ball Veterinary Surgeons in Wollongong, NSW.

“A few years ago, I played cello with the Australian Youth Orchestra for a stage production of the Wagner opera, Tristan and Isolde. It’s a mammoth work that takes five hours to perform and is one of the most amazing pieces of dramatic music ever written. It was both a stunning production and a truly amazing experience.

“I originally started playing the violin as a child but soon switched over to the cello. My father was a music teacher and during a dinner with some other music teachers, I ended up having a cello lesson. The cello appealed to me immediately and I think it’s fair to say I have a natural affinity for the instrument.

“I kept playing through school and high school and attended the Conservatorium in Newcastle [NSW]. I obtained a Bachelor of Music in 2002 and then spent a year studying at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne. I followed up with some postgraduate study in Sydney and started working professionally as a musician.

“I did quite well in the freelance music scene. I was performing regularly with the Australian Opera and Ballet [Orchestra], and occasionally playing with the Sydney Symphony [Orchestra]. There were some recording sessions for movies and TV shows, and I visited the UK to play with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow.

“I started my veterinary course in 2009 and the workload meant I didn’t play the cello as often as I would have liked. I graduated three years ago and finally have the time to play more frequently. I’m really getting a whole lot of pleasure out of it. I’ve only recently moved to Wollongong and I’m still finding my way around the local music scene. There have been a few concerts and I’ve played with some groups from my old days. My dad runs a choir up on the central coast and I’ll go and play with them. I’m also hoping to start teaching the cello in the future.

“The cello is a beautiful instrument to play with a range and register that overlaps with what a male voice can achieve. Like any musical instrument, it can express things beyond words.

“It creates a beautiful sound and has a quality that tends to draw people. No-one has ever come up to me and said, ‘I really don’t like the cello very much.’ Most people tell me, ‘You know, the cello is one of my favourite instruments.’ I definitely have to agree with that.”

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