Julian Bliss

Photo: Nick White

Photo: Nick White

When we think of musical performances we typically think of the emotions and entertainment they conjure up, however we often overlook the physical prowess and conditioning required by the performers.

Ahead of his show in Parramatta this weekend J.A.M spoke with British clarinet prodigy Julian Bliss about that often overlooked aspect of music, as well has his journey through the industry.

In order to remain in peak performance condition Bliss said he tries to go to the gym as often as possible because touring isn’t “particularly conducive to a healthy lifestyle at times.”

Often Bliss’ training regime will consist of cardio exercises, “swimming in particular is good because it can help with breath control.” Alongside these more common training techniques Bliss will perform breathing exercises using the clarinet during his practice sessions.

These training sessions have been particular important head of the performance in Parramatta this weekend because the show features a piece of music which goes for over 40 minutes by itself.

Quartet For The End Of Time which is a huge work is a very powerful and incredibly difficult piece of music,” said Bliss before explaining further, “It’s difficult physically because you’re playing for a quite a long period of time and there are some movements in there where you’re playing constantly. So as a wind player obviously that can be pretty challenging because you need to stop and take a breath, which doesn’t happen very often in this piece.”

Despite this being an incredibly difficult piece of music the 29 year old Bliss is certainly equipped to tackle it considering he has been playing and performing on the clarinet since the age of four.

Whilst Bliss cannot pinpoint a precise reason behind initially picking up the instrument he does recall immediately falling in love with it.

“I come from a non-musical family so it was a little out of the blue but it was something I always enjoyed doing, so it’s cool to now be able to do something I enjoy as a career.”

Since those early years Bliss has been performing constantly and has played some pretty incredible concerts along the way, one in which he will never forget.

“The Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 was an absolute honour and privilege,” he said, “I remember that show for a multitude of reasons, obviously playing for the Queen was amazing but it was also my 13th birthday and the biggest concert I’ve ever done. It didn’t feel real almost, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was really there.”

With all of this experience under his belt Bliss is excited to now be performing a show which is accessible for both classical music aficionados as well as newcomers.

“If you’re open minded and interested in hearing new music that uses extraordinary techniques than this is the show for you. This type of music is so much more powerful hearing it performed live than it is hearing it on a recording.”

Aug 25. Riverside Theatres, Cnr Church & Market Streets, Parramatta. $34-$44+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.riversideparramatta.com.au

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