Orchestral Manoeuvres This January
An interview with Julian Thompson, member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, about their upcoming tour in Niseko this January.
Members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra tour Niseko again this winter – we took the opportunity to speak to Julian Thompson about why him and his fellow performers can’t stop coming back!
Please tell us a little about who you are:
I’m Julian and I’m a cellist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. The orchestra is based in Sydney but we spend a lot of time touring. This year we’ll run 8 tours around Australia as well as the USA twice, Switzerland, Scotland and the UK. So as well as spending quite a lot of time in concert halls and airports I try to squeeze in as much surfing as I can back in Sydney and hanging out with my kids and wife back home. I’ve also recently taken up playing the Baroque Guitar, which is an exciting diversion from my usual cello playing antics.
When did you first come to Niseko and why?
We ran our first small music festival in Niseko back in 2010. I’d never been to Hokkaido before and I was completely beguiled the moment we arrived in Niseko. Since that first visit we’ve made it an absolute priority to get back just about every year – we’ve only missed one. It’s truly one of the most beautiful places I have even experienced and arriving direct out of the heat and humidity of the Aussie summer, it refreshes the psyche.
What keeps you coming back?
Well of course there’s the ludicrous powder! I’m a mad-keen boarder and the amount of quality snow you guys get over here is just ridiculous. I mean sometimes you just have to pinch yourself as you’re screaming down the mountain. I love the whole scene, so many great places to eat and cosy little bars. We’ve made some great friends and I think that through these concerts we can really add something to Niseko culture as the resort continues to grow and improve.
What do you hope to achieve with the ACO events this year and in the future?
I can see a future where the festival continues to grow and our performances and relaxed concert going become integrated into the whole Niseko ski holiday experience. A bit like in Europe and the US, where the après-ski culture is a big part of the ski holiday package, I think that we can add something special to Niseko’s culture. A day on the slopes followed by a relaxed concert of beautiful music, for me that’s a perfect combination.
What's your single most favourite thing about Niseko?
The powder and the people – hmmm, I guess that’s two though isn’t it…