At Home with Vivienne Collier-Vickers

Part of our QSO AT HOME series

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At Home with Vivienne Collier-Vickers

You may not be able to see them performing on stage, but while our musicians are at home they’re sharing an insight into their daily lives in isolation. Meet French horn player Vivienne Collier-Vickers.

The year, 2020, marks the start of a new decade and my 30th year as a hornist in the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Little did my 25-year-old self know that 30-years later I would still have the privilege and joy of making music. I cannot think of a stranger time in my musical journey, and quite by coincidence, self-isolation has occurred simultaneously with my becoming an empty nester. No longer can I hear the sweet pitter patter of my son’s size 14 feet, nor do I need to despair of seeing mountains of smelly black T-shirts in the wash… sigh.

While scientists are scrambling to find a vaccine, for me every day starts with turning on ABC News to keep abreast of the stats on COVID-19 and the new and ever changing rules on social distancing. 

So, with all this time on my hands to ponder life’s big questions; perhaps, if anyone’s interested, you might like to have a glimpse into my small part of the world. 

#On the coffee table

One of my favourite pieces of furniture is my coffee table. It was made from an old shed work bench by John Harrison, former bass clarinet of QSO. John was not only a musician but a very talented artist whose caricatures and cartoons of musicians and conductors were renowned. The artwork on this table is from the Coffee Cantata by J.S. Bach.

This whole predicament has given me the gift of time like I have not had for a long while. For the first time in two decades, I have time for unhurried horn practice, listening to music and reflection on the parts music and QSO have played in my life. It has given me time to feel the gratitude of having a loving family, good friends and to be a part of a musical family like an orchestra. 

#My practice space

This is my practice space. It’s wonderful to be able to have time to do more than just maintenance and orchestra repertoire work. I haven’t done this much practice since 1989!

I will try not to sound too pious, or as my daughter likes to say “judgy”, but I do wonder (because I have time to do that) if others are feeling the same. I wonder that in a time of abject disaster that we are now realising the value of cleaners, health care workers, educators, carers, check-out chicks/chaps and delivery drivers; the value of our leisure time and how we fill it: music, movies, concerts, shows, theatre, books, galleries and museums; and the importance of going to parks, kicking a ball around an oval and swimming in the local pool.

#In the pool

Here I am, looking forlorn about to get in for my last swim before my local pool closed. I really miss the feeling of punching out some laps then heading home to pour a glass of wi.. oh, I mean a cup of tea.

#My outdoor area

This is my favourite space in the world to listen to music, look at the city lights, read and perhaps even have a wine or two... 

#An orchestra meeting

It’s not the same as making music with QSO, but this Zoom meeting was the closest I have been to seeing my wonderful friends and colleagues for a while now. The first day we all meet in the studio to play together will be quite extraordinary and we look forward to seeing you at what will surely be an emotional and joyous first concert when it happens.

Ms Marie Isackson supports Vivienne through the Music Chair program.

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