“I took so much away from all the experiences as an Upbeat Artist and it really set me up well to pursue a career in chamber music.”
Learn about Francesca Masel’s career and aspirations since completing Camerata’s 2022 Upbeat Artist program.
1. You’ve just been accepted into the Scottish Conservatorium to study your Masters, congratulations! What do you hope to gain from the experience, and what are you most looking forward to?
I am hoping to really develop further in my solo playing and gain more experiences performing in different chamber and orchestral ensembles at the conservatoire and outside of it too. I also would love to really immerse myself in the culture of Scotland and the diverse music scene in Glasgow. I am most looking forward to lessons with my teacher, Alison Wells, who uses body mapping to inform her teaching. I also am very excited to meet new people and see the stunning sights of Scotland.
2. Body mapping sounds really interesting! How does that work for those who might not know, especially in relation to developing as a musician?
Body mapping is a method that teaches musicians how they should move according to their true anatomical design. So often we have a perception of our body and how it moves that is not actually the reality so body mapping can help you to be more aware of how your body moves naturally and as a whole. It’s great because it can really enhance your freedom of movement and also prevent injury.
3. Tell us about your career since you completed Camerata’s 2022 Upbeat Program. Are there any performances or projects you worked on in 2023 that you are especially proud of?
After being a part of Camerata’s Upbeat Program, I was really motivated and inspired to pursue cello further, especially ensemble playing. So, in 2023 I focused on practising and taking every performance opportunity I could to develop my ensemble skills. I was definitely most proud of performing with the Australian Youth Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House for their July Season. It was such a special experience being conducted by Nigel Westlake playing his music and being surrounded by such passionate committed musicians. It was a great way to say goodbye to Australia for a little bit and it really reminded me how much I wanted to pursue performing.
4. You joined Camerata on several projects in 2022 as an Upbeat. How did the program help develop your skills and career, and what are the key learnings you took from it?
I was fortunate enough to play in several different projects in 2022 with Camerata all of which helped me develop more versatility as a musician. The program gave me the opportunity to work on my ensemble skills having to constantly be aware of what is going on around you and communicating with the rest of the group on and off the stage. It also helped me develop experience approaching a wide range of repertoire from the classics of chamber music to modern works by Australian composers. I particularly loved the educational shows on the regional tour, which was such a fun fulfilling way to make a positive impact on regional communities. I took so much away from all the experiences as an Upbeat Artist and it really set me up well to pursue a career in chamber music.
5. What are your dreams and aspirations as a professional musician, and where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years?
My biggest dream and hopefully where I see myself in 5 to 10 years is having a permanent position in a professional chamber orchestra and touring regularly to all parts of the country. I would love to be in an ensemble that explores a wide range of repertoire and sound worlds pushing the boundaries of classical music and collaborating with different artists. Another dream of mine is to become a specialist and teacher in somatic methods such as Feldenkrais and body mapping as I believe it would be such a useful explorative way for students to learn an instrument.
6. Any advice or hot tips for future Camerata Upbeat Artists, or aspiring musicians?
My advice to Upbeats is to make the most of your time playing with Camerata. Learn and study the score well, be curious and ask questions and really engage with the other players because they really are such lovely people. For aspiring musicians, I would say to get out of your comfort zone wherever you can because you’ll learn so much about yourself. I was definitely nervous to be in a new environment by myself (and I still am) but every time I experience something new, I start to feel more comfortable out of my comfort zone.
Applications are now open for Camerata’s 2024 Upbeat program. Apply here.