‘This role has become very fundamental to my practice as an artist’: Lina Andonovska is devoting herself to becoming a mentor

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‘This role has become very fundamental to my practice as an artist’: Lina Andonovska is devoting herself to becoming a mentor

Lina Andonovska
Words by Jacob McCormack

Lina Andonovksa splits her time between her home In Ireland, regular trips to the USA and the occasional rendezvous with family and friends in Australia.

The pandemic installed a significant barrier to the latter, but since December Lina has been returning to play at festivals, engage in workshops and partake in residencies.

Her upcoming residency at ANAM is an example of such. The flautist will spend a short stint mentoring and working closely with ANAM musicians to piece together a performance that will be showcased on Friday June 16, at 7PM at the Rosina Auditorium, Abbotsford Convent.

The concert will be centred around its titular composition – Workers Union. The piece is the brainchild of Louis Andriessen and allows the scope for any arrangement of instruments to be featured, an openness that Andonovska describes as democratic.

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“The performers are given an opportunity to determine which pitches they play whilst the rhythms remain outlined. But it’s democratic and is a very refreshing composition for a cohort.

“Anyone can play it, the notes for the score specify any loud sounding instruments can play the piece. It can be whatever ensemble of loud sounding instruments. Actually, it’s open-ended instrumentation. Although, in the group there’s definitely a double bassist, there’s definitely someone playing piccolo and there’s definitely a couple of percussionists and I think there’s some brass as well. So, it’ll be large.”

Workers Union has acted as a time marker and reminder of where she has come from. For Lina, it resembles the journey of her career as a musician. It makes total sense, with her commitment to mentoring young musicians, that she shares the meaning of this piece with those she encounters for her ANAM residency.

“The reason why I came back to that piece was it was the first time I’d experienced those sets of rules and parameters in contemporary music,” she says. “That’s the beauty of contemporary music. You have a composer that is present that you can ask ‘what do you mean by that?’. In that moment, you know, you can’t call Beethoven. It’s still very much a big part of my life and that piece in particular, had a very profound effect on me.

“When I was a student of ANAM, Workers Union was one piece that was presented to me by a fellow student. It was the first time I’d actually encountered that style of composition. I was at a place called the Banff Center for three months, and in my final week at being at the Banff Center, the guest faculty member there was Louis Andriessen.

“Some of the people there and I worked on one of his pieces, a chamber piece called Zilver. That was a very important moment for me because up until that point I hadn’t had that many experiences where I was working up close with a composer. There we were in the room with this legendary figure of modern composition, getting guided through his music and for me, that was a very important and maybe even pivotal moment in my career.”

And now Andonovska is utterly excited at the opportunity to impart her learnings, integrated throughout her musical career, onto an eager group of mentees.

“For me, true mentorship comes from a place of kindness, generosity and integrity. All of the mentors that I’ve had in my life are people that continue to be mentors for me. From when I was a student at ANAM to the present day I still contact my mentors for guidance: whether it’s purely professional guidance or personal guidance, because mentors ultimately become part of your family and part of your network. Whenever I’ve had this very special feeling of being mentored it has felt like I’ve been an equal in the relationship.”

Lina concludes our conversation from where she took the call in Wisconsin. It was there she was conducting a creative lab with the musical group Eighth Blackbird. For an artist who keeps very busy and is perennially in transit, it is formidable she finds the time to mentor all the musicians she offers herself too.

“It is just the beginning of my journey as a mentor. I’ve been teaching for a while, working with young people for a while, but in the last few years this role has become fundamental to my practice as an artist.”

Workers Union will take place on Friday June 16, at 7PM at the Rosina Auditorium, Abbotsford Convent. Buy tickets here.

This article was made in partnership with ANAM.