On Saturday 8th December, 2018, Lianah Jaensch had the immense privilege to debut with the Western Sydney Youth Orchestra, conducted by James Pensini.
She performed the first movement from Haydn Cello Concerto C major.
And she absolutely smashed it! This was such a proud mum moment for me. My daughter, 12 years old, sitting at the front of the Verbrugghen hall stage, with an orchestra behind her. All those years of work had paid off. All the driving to the lessons. All the arguments about having to practise. All the frustrations. All the nerves of exams and eisteddfods. It’s worth it! If your child has a passion and drive and focus, it really is worth all the time, effort, energy and money.
She was asked earlier in the year to prepare that movement for the Sydney Youth Orchestra end of year showcase. She was thrilled and nervous. She had never worked on a concerto before.
To prepare, Lianah worked on the Haydn from March to June. She learned the notes and memorised it, but from July to September she didn’t touch it. She worked on other pieces instead like Popper’s Hungarian Rhapsody and Shostakovich cello sonata D minor (2nd movement), and the Elgar cello concerto E minor “just for fun”.
October came and she picked the Haydn back up again. Working it over and over, every day perfecting intonation, phrasing it better, trying to project her sound and learning her new cadenza. Lianah’s cadenza was written specifically for her by her cello teacher, David Pereira.
There was a break in her practice schedule in the last week of October, due to a school camp to New Zealand for 3 weeks! (Her school does amazing class trips which bring together a whole year’s worth of subjects they’ve been studying, and also teaching the kids about challenging themselves, taking them out of their comfort zones and showing them they have resilience).
She came back from the trip excited to now focus solely on the Haydn. She was thrown in the deep end a bit here – her flight got back 11pm Sunday night, and first rehearsal with WSYO was the very next day! She practised for 2 hours before that afternoon’s rehearsal. Which, when she reflects, was probably not the best as her fingers had lost the callouses from no cello playing for 3 weeks! OUCH!
Her fingers quickly recovered, and as each day approached she felt more and more ready. We bought the dress, and the shoes (very important!) and she practised in her outfit a couple of times. She wanted to feel how she could walk in the shoes, as well as how it felt to play in the dress.
On the morning of the concert Lianah was nervous. She was able to eat some breakfast, but…it soon came back up again. Afterward, she felt much better – her nerves settled and she did one run through in our loungeroom before setting off to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. We were shown backstage to a warm up room (you can see footage from the warmup on my insta @cadenzaapparel). James asked her if she thrown up yet? She said yes… He replied “Good! Means you’re taking it seriously. It’s only bad when you’re a wind or brass player and you vomit, because you end up having that taste in your mouth for the whole performance!” LOL
They had a quick run through on stage before the audience started filling the hall.