A violin virtuoso for the ages
It’s a weekday morning at Applecross Shore Care Community. Graham is thrilled to have the orchestra members visit in person. With over 50 years’ experience as a professional musician, Graham knows what he’s listening to. In fact, he’s taught most of the players in the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) quartet. His eyes glisten with pride and pleasure. Some hours later Graham is still overcome with emotion.
“Oh, it was wonderful,” Graham says. “Two of the group were violinists and were my students. I almost had a tear in my eye listening to them. It was that good!”
A lifetime devoted to music
Graham’s love of music began as a young man. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. Soon after, he joined the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as a violinist.
I enjoy playing the violin and making music. Even if it’s music written for some other player or composer.
Graham later travelled to London to study with the great Frederick Grinke, a violinist world famous for his performances of 20th-century English music. Graham went onto play with different orchestras in London before marrying his beloved Patricia in 1957. After their return to Australia, Graham joined WASO as a soloist and stayed with them for 15 years.
An enthusiastic teacher
Graham’s passion for music inspired him to share it with others. In 1972, he began teaching at the School of Music at the University of WA and later founded the first West Australian Youth Orchestra. Among a list of achievements too extensive to include here, special mention should be made of his ‘Distinguished Service Award’ from the Australian Strings Association in 2003.
When Graham moved in, our team at Applecross Shore Care Community recognised how much his passion for music brings meaning to his life. But with his dexterity diminishing, Graham was struggling with no longer being able to play the violin. Lifestyle Coordinator, Rebecca, encouraged him to engage with our team at Applecross Shore’s Wellness Centre.
“As people age, they often experience physical and emotional effects resulting from illness, injury or loss of ability,” says Rebecca.
“Our wellness centre supports reablement, rehabilitation and restoration by improving mobility and motor skills. Our goal is to improve quality of life, emotional and physical wellbeing, and promote independence.
“We’re encouraging Graham to try regular exercises to improve the dexterity in his hands. We’re hoping, in time, that he might be able to play a little again. He’s already improved enough to be able to hold his violin to his chin.”
As Graham works on lifting his bow once again, he takes comfort in listening to his beloved music. Be it teaching, lecturing, performing, composing or conducting, the violin will always be his life’s work.