Former Principal Artistic Director - Marten Visser
While it’s with some sadness at having now delivered Marty’s final concert as Chime’s Principal Artistic Director, we are also happy and joyfully grateful for the time he has spent with us, and for the skills and wonderful experiences he has gifted to us.
We recently spent some time with Marty to record his thoughts in retrospective, on his wonderfully influential period as the musical leader of Chime Choir.
What most motivated you to take on the Artistic Director position? I worked with the choir for a while, as Assistant AD, before taking on the main job. In that season I developed relationships with many of the choristers, began to understand the ensemble’s strengths and could really see great potential, not only in the musicianship and quality of the choral sound but in the positive sense of community within the group.I was also in a season of life where I had ample time to invest in the development of a community organisation.
How is the Chime of 2019 different from the choir you joined, and in what ways does it remain similar? When I began we had a core group of singers who had performed together for many years. One of the key areas of growth that I have seen has been the increased diversity and breadth of our current membership.
Also, the ability and skill of our singers have improved dramatically. The quality and complexity of the music has changed and the choir members are now very versatile singers across a range of genres.
As you approach your final concert as our musical leader, what will you look back on as your most significant legacy for Chime from your period here? For me, one of the values that I hold highly is quality relationships and people. I hope that people remember the wonderful conversations, trips, musical and life experiences that we’ve had together over the past 10 years.
That’s not to diminish the incredible musical experiences that we’ve had; from London to New York, from Gippsland to Daylesford and every major venue in Melbourne – but for me the motivation has been to use music as a vehicle to connect with each other and our audiences and to share a message of hope and positivity, through the music we present.
What are your plans for the next phase of your musical journey? Currently, I’m the Director of Music at St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School. This is a wonderful community with a rich choral tradition, and it’s exciting to continue to work with younger musicians and to invest in their development.
I will also continue to work as a freelance choral clinician and conductor; supporting other choirs and organisations with their ensembles. However, my main focus will be to spend more quality time with my family. Often as I talk to older people, the number one focus of regret that particularly older men have, is that they wished they had invested more time in their family when their children were young. I have two young sons, Judah and Elijah and an incredible wife Karen. We’re really just looking to prioritise our time with our family, especially in these young formative years.
What will you most fondly remember of Chime? I will remember the amazing concerts and tours we’ve been on, I will remember the fun rehearsals we’ve had, I’ll remember the special music that we’ve been able to share with thousands of people across the world – but mostly I will cherish the amazing times we’ve had together as people, walking through the seasons of life, singing!