SCOTT TAGGART: RELIVING THE MENUHIN ODYSSEY
Sunday, Wollongong City Gallery
Among string instrument aficionados, Yehudi Menuhin is considered one of the greatest violinists of the past century.
While the American musician was not widely known as a composer, he took on the tunes of other musical greats such as Bach and Beethoven and interpreted them in his own way.
"He was an incredible natural on the violin, a child prodigy. A lot of the interpretation he did was very natural, it wasn't anything he learnt, it was what he felt," says Scott Taggart, Wollongong Conservatorium of Music's string co-ordinator.
"Particularly when he was very young, for someone of such a young age to feel these emotions and communicate them is what made Menuhin such a great musician."
Taggart and friends Philip Bailey and Bethany Cook are performing a tribute to the late musician, featuring pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Elgar and Kreisler, tunes both Menuhin and his pianist sister Hephzibah played regularly.
Taggart plays violin, accompanied by Cook on piano. Between each song, Bailey will share anecdotes about Menhuin.
Bailey was a close personal friend of Menuhin's and came up with the concept for the show. He spent 11 years researching and writing a biography of the violinist.
Taggart, who met Bailey through mutual friends in Illawarra, has been playing the violin since he was 11 years old.
"Every time I pick up the violin to perform, I feel privileged to have learnt such a great instrument," he says.
After studying at the Sydney Conservatorium and the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, he has been in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English Classical Players and the City of London Sinfoniam. He has also worked with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.
During Taggart's time in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, he encountered Menuhin. The great violinist was guest conductor for a dozen performances.
"He had a presence about him," Taggart says.
"Being an Australian working with that orchestra and growing up listening to Menuhin and then to be sitting there with him conducting, albeit not playing the violin, just conducting, was almost like you could barely believe you were there."