Meet Lauren Gorman, Master of Music (Orchestral Performance) student

Flautist and Master of Music (Orchestral Performance) student Lauren Gorman. Photo by Giulia McGauran.
Flautist and Master of Music (Orchestral Performance) student Lauren Gorman. Photo by Giulia McGauran.

It was only after spending time studying in Europe that Melbourne flautist Lauren Gorman realised everything she wanted was available back home.

By Susanna Ling

Hi Lauren. Why did you apply for the Melbourne Conservatorium’s Master of Music (Orchestral Performance)?

After completing my Bachelor of Music (Honours) at the Conservatorium in 2014, I spent some time freelancing in Melbourne before travelling to Germany and Austria to undertake private study. I had just been offered a place at the Anton Bruckner Privatuniversit√§t in Linz when I heard the Conservatorium had appointed a new Chief Conductor, Associate Professor Richard Davis. I knew it was the beginning of a really exciting time there.

When I found out that there was going to be a new Orchestral Performance masters degree, working in partnership with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO), I knew I had to come home. I saw that this degree would help elite-level young players bridge the gap between study and the profession, so I declined my position in Linz and returned to the Conservatorium for graduate study.

The prospect of rehearsing and performing with the musicians of the MSO is incredibly exciting. I can’t wait to be part of this network and observe the inner workings of the orchestra. I’ve been going to the MSO since I was ten years old so it holds a special place in my heart.

What are your fellow students like?

The cohort is amazing. I didn’t really know anybody in the course prior to this year – there are a couple of musicians who also completed their undergraduate studies at the Conservatorium but we didn’t really cross paths as we graduated in different years.

There are lots of different personalities, which makes for interesting discussion. We all get along really well and we’re also super-supportive of one another. We come from all over Australia, and also from overseas, including Venezuela and Denmark. Everybody is rich in experience and brings their own creative perspective.

Who are your mentors and what are they like?

This year, I’m studying with both Richard Davis and MSO Principal Flute Prudence Davis.These sessions have been incredibly enriching, enjoyable and inspiring. I love the way my mentors think about music and who they are as individuals. They have a wonderful sense of integrity, passion and humility for music, and are a constant encouragement.

I feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to work closely with Prue, who has been my idol ever since I started learning the flute and came to watch my first MSO concert in Hamer Hall back in 2005. We have worked on a lot of repertoire, including the Mozart Flute Concerto in G major that I’ll be performing in a concert with the University of Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra on 21 May.

Lauren Gorman has been an MSO fan since she first attended a concert in 2005. Photo by James Smith.

Have you always wanted to be an orchestral musician?

Since the age of about 12, being a musician and getting a job in an orchestra has been my dream. I’ve always tried to operate as more of an orchestral, “team player”. I feel like I really do shine in the orchestral setting and that it’s my calling. You have to have a different mindset and approach in orchestral playing, and I love the unique challenges of that.

What are the challenges of a performance career?

One of the major challenges of being a musician is that it’s a lifestyle as well as a job. You can’t just work, come home, relax and switch off. Being a musician is so tightly interwoven into our sense of purpose and identity – so at times when we feel like we’re not making musical progress, it can be a challenge to separate our sense of self-worth.

You have to trust yourself, be patient and appreciate that what you’re doing now will eventually lead to opportunities for you in the future if you operate with integrity, honesty and consistency.

It’s easy to compare yourself to others and be engulfed in in the competitive nature of the profession, but at the end of the day, nobody else is you. When I come across people who are self-driven, self-motivated and focused on their own journey, that inspires me. That’s the type of musician I aspire to be.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in music?

Find someone you trust who’s going to support you. It takes a lot of resilience to forge a career in music. The choice was easy for me because I knew early on that I couldn’t imagine my life without it, but you do have to deal with a lot of uncertainty.

Surround yourself with people who’ll raise you up when you feel a little lost – even better, why not actually be that person? We’re incredibly lucky to do what we do, despite all of its challenges, so support we should support our peers and fellow musicians.

What do you do to relax outside of work and study?

I love being outdoors and in the sunshine during the warmer months. I’ll zip around Albert Park Lake, the Botanical Gardens or along St Kilda Beach. I also enjoy doing the occasional yoga or meditation class as I find it keeps my mind clear throughout the busy performing months. As a Melburnian born and bred, it’ll come as no surprise that I enjoy going to the AFL and drinking coffee.

Lauren Gorman will perform with the Philharmonic Orchestra at Melba Hall on 21 May, 2018. More details. Master of Music (Orchestral Performance) students will appear in concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for MSO Side by Side on 2 June. More details.