Above :  Musica Viva  FutureMakers for 2018-2019. Pianist Aura Go and percussive artist Matthias Schack-Arnott. Featured image : Pianist Aura Go, photo credit: Maarit Kytoharju

Pianist Aura Go is one of two artists selected by Musica Viva to participate in the FutureMakers initiative for 2018-2019. Her recent recital as part of the Sydney Opera House’s Crescendo series for emerging artists quickly demonstrated her potential and worth as an artist to foster innovative musical exchange in the decades ahead.

Her debut Sydney concert, In the Changing Light : Colour Poems for Piano was a fine start to such practice, featuring a concert structure and feel which was a fresh, imaginative and well explained group of musical poems, captivatingly played and cleverly structured.

As a selected musician in this initiative, concerts such as this engaging Utzon Room event will exist alongside networking opportunities and the creation of a major musical project. It was quickly evident that Auro Go’s return to Australia to take part in this initiative will be an exciting and productive time.

Her clear approach to new and older music and the introduction of Finnish music to our stages will enrich our Australian music scene and audiences with her signature bold and inspiring innate storytelling skill at the piano as well as her wide global experience.

We heard Einojuhani Rautavaara’s suite of poems Pelimannit (The Fiddlers) 1952 which was keenly divided in performance into six different characters, moods, colours, scenes and environments. Aura Go expertly used shifting combinations of pianistic lines, balance, texture and layers of tone to paint the required contrasting pictures.

This work was directly followed by Kuutamo (Moonlight) from Aarre Merikanto’s Six Pieces Op 20 (1919). This was played with a spontaneous feel of exploring the atmosphere, using a variety of
pianistic effects and clever keyboard washes of colour to satisfy the composer’s mystical and emotional statement about that old chestnut, moonlight. There was nothing clichéd however about Go’s direct and genuine portrayal of stillness and a range of light in this careful journey through the soundscape.

Following a third Finnish work in which Go answered the demands for candid evocation of colours at the piano, Raito’s Nelja värirunoelmaa pianolle (Four Colour Poems) Op 22 from 1923. The vivid and brief snapshots of intense hues from nature were shared with us using fine piano shapes and poetic gestures.

Also attractive about Aura Go’s colourful and dynamic piano playing is her preface to the works in fine verbal description. These precious moments made the contemporary music even more accessible  to us rather than as ingenious workings of keyboard sound  and not any unusual or unfortunately  portrayed ‘other’ at the event.

Aura Go’s exciting return to Australia and her recent Sydney concert debut follows years of work and study in the USA and Finland.

The atmospheric and extramusical challenges of the compositions from Finnish composers and the kaleidoscopic spiritual suggestion in the movement Summer from Liza Lim’s masterful work The Four Seasons were capably communicated on the Aura Go’s piano. In this programme they were included smoothly alongside a more frequently heard work by Ravel.

The programme  or story shaping  of these works and the more well known Ravel was always explained well. The variety of colours to expect was clearly hinted at by Go. When she reached her instrument, the degree of their combination and realisation in the interpretative extemporisation on this occasion was rich and profound. The beautifully shaded range of sound did not disappoint.

Ravel’s Miroirs (1905) continued Go’s exploration of creating colours and recreating keyboard sound arrangements with the raw materials of timbral choice, nuance, scored suggestions and programmatic title.

Go’s unique delivery of watery effects were especially well handled in an expansive palette of soft dynamic resources. Her painting of scenes, animals and atmospheres here were executed with impressive and deep clarity. This approach made Aura Go’s technical tweaking of keyboard attack yield impressive results. She offered
clear acoustic pictures in the formidable intimate venue for our ears and imaginations to work with.

Maybe Aura Go’s emphasis on creative performance practice and fresh creation of sound regardless of history or national culture will inspire brave programming of events from a true variety of musics. We could even finally see a juxtaposition of what the public perceive as ‘classical’ versus  so many other styles of ‘non-classical’ sound performance in a ‘classical’ or ‘serious’ concert venue in her hands.

Whatever the case the future looks bright for Australia and worthy Musica Viva FutureMaker and musical personality Aura Go. We look forward to more concerts and ground breaking  creative work in musical communication from her via this Musica Viva initiative and in many years to follow.