Camerata embraces innovation to continue sharing music

We talk with Executive Director of Camerata - Queensland's Chamber Orchestra and QUT alumnus Adam Tucker about the challenges facing the arts industry, and how Camerata has innovated to continue to bring music into people's homes remotely.

Can you please tell us about the Camerata 5@5 and why you decided to share music in this way?

The program was designed mid-March to change the pervading narrative of fear and put a little kindness into the online world. My team and I thought it important to provide a sense of certainty each day at 5pm, to mark the end of the ‘traditional’ workday and delineate as best we could, the impending working-from-home lifestyle. Secondly, as an employer of one of the largest arts project-business models in Queensland (over 130 artists in 2019) it was critical that Camerata provide an opportunity, in some way, for our artists to be creative and remunerated within the constraints of social distancing and lockdown for the foreseeable future.

What has been the community response to the series?

The audience response has been more significant than anything imagined. Over 150,000 have tuned in and tuned out with Camerata’s five minutes of musical joy each day, a 500% increase to our annual live audience target achieved in just six weeks. While my small team of Angela Loh (Managing Producer), Emma-Kay Price (Producer) has rapidly acquired new skills to navigate digital production and online licensing (with the support of Camerata’s Librarian Kate Harbison), Artistic Director Brendan Joyce has explored a new terrain of programming resulting in audiences remarking on the joy and pleasure of getting to know our artists in new ways.

You’re currently researching creative leadership for your Doctor Creative Industries at QUT. What are your thoughts on the ways in which Brisbane’s arts community has shown leadership in this time of uncertainty?

I am investigating and defining a number of practices of Creative Leadership. One of these practices, is demonstrating values aligned with courage, curiosity and care. We have a very connected and interdependent community here in Brisbane and I have seen these values in action by many, for example I’ve been inspired by Naomi Price and The Little Red Company who launched “The IsoLate Late show”, a one-and-a-half hour variety show streamed on Facebook each Friday night during lockdown. Naomi and her team courageously launched this ambitious music project on the first week of isolation and have since raised over $80,000 through this platform for the Actors Benevolent Fund to distribute to local artists in need. It has been a pleasure to support this initiative by providing Camerata artists to join performances each week.

From your perspective as both a researcher and the Executive Director of Camerata, what do you see as the greatest challenge facing the Brisbane arts community on the road to recovery?

One of the greatest challenges facing the arts community will be navigating change and working within uncertainty. Everything from the way artists create to the way audiences interact will require new approaches. The skills I am learning as a researcher at QUT provide a strong base to chart a course through this time. At Camerata, in the coming months we will trial several new performance initiatives, live and digital, designed to inform the direction of our Season 2021. While we can’t be sure what next year will look like, these trials will be used to gather data, ensuring Camerata continues to be a relevant organisation for artists, audience and communities across Queensland.

Adam Tucker is a QUT graduate, former dancer and educator with more than twenty years of experience across Australia and UK in the performing arts industry. For the last six years, Adam has led change at Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra as Executive Director, is an alumnus of Australia Council’s inaugural Leadership Program 2016-2018 and in 2020 commenced a Doctor of Creative Industries (Queensland University of Technology) investigating practices of Creative Leadership through crisis and change.

Camerata’s 5@5 online is available via Facebook and YouTube. Camerata supports and performs in Little Red Productions’s The IsoLate Late Show raising funds for Queensland’s Actors Benevolent Fund, available online each Friday at 8pm AEST.