DSO Principal Flute Tania Watts steps out as our soloist in front of the Orchestra for the first time. 

Tania Watts is DSO’s multi-talented, musical gem. Not only is she Principal Flute, but also DSO’s Orchestra and Operations Manager. 

In less than 2 weeks’ time, she will be stepping out in front of the orchestra for the first time to perform Brett Dean’s stunningly mysterious and incredibly virtuosic ‘Siduri Dances’ in DSO’s Darwin Festival concert, Destiny and Desire.

Tania Watts prepares for Dean’s Siduri Dances with Darwin Symphony Orchestra

Tell us a bit about Dean’s ‘Siduri Dances’. What can the audience expect from this piece? 

The Siduri Dances is a virtuosic and energetic concerto for flute and strings by Australian composer Brett Dean. There are moments of intense emotion and calm contrasted with aggressive rhythmic sections. There is a recurring “D” section which is dancelike and almost bacchanal which the audience will become familiar with. 

How challenging has it been to prepare for this piece? What has your routine looked like in preparation for this performance? 

This is the most challenging piece I have performed in my flute life. I started a regular practice routine about a year ago and have kept a journal of my practice to keep me on track, I tried to have no more than 3 days off practice in a row. I resurrected my tone and technique books and started working on getting back into shape. I travelled to Sydney for 4 flute lessons with my teacher Geoffrey Collins which kept me inspired and motivated. I am pleased to say I didn’t find it too difficult to do the practice required, it started to enrich my life and therefore was not a chore. It is challenging balancing full-time work, parenting, and flute practice, I have had less of a social life as flute practice has been more of a priority. 

This piece of music is quite contemporary, is this a style you enjoy playing? What is unique about Dean’s work that may be new or unfamiliar to audience members? 

I do enjoy playing contemporary music, it is exciting getting to know the music of living composers. Even though The Siduri Dances was composed in 2007 the compositional style is firmly rooted in the classical. Dean uses contemporary flute techniques such as flutter tonguing, multiphonics, quarter tones, glissando, and vocalising which are sounds the audience may not be used to hearing from the flute!

What are you looking forward to doing once the concert is over? How do you unwind after an exciting and challenging performance? 

In my job as Orchestra and Operations Manager for DSO, I always miss the post-show party because I am packing up the stage, so I am looking forward to relaxing on the DEC balcony with friends and family with a non-alcoholic beer or 2! My Mum and Dad are coming from interstate to see the performance which is great. On Sunday afternoon I am going to catch a Darwin Festival Show and then Monday I am back in the office organising for the hire music to be returned and onwards to the next concert!

Outside of your solo, are there any other pieces you are looking forward to playing in the Destiny and Desire program? 
I will be joining the Orchestra as Principal flute for the second half of the concert. Appalachian Spring by Copland has some really beautiful flute solos which I am looking forward to playing. It is also exciting to be playing Foreigner or Foreigner by Rebecca Erin Smith, a cinematic and exciting work.

You can see Tania shine in Destiny and Desire with Darwin Symphony Orchestra, on Saturday 19 August, at Darwin Entertainment Centre.

Tickets are on sale now.