JOHN MA PLAYS THE VIOLIN, VIOLA AND VIOLA D’AMORE, SPECIALISING IN EARLY MUSIC
As well as the Canberra Symphony, John has performed with leading Australian and international ensembles, including Pinchgut Opera, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Australian Bach Akademie, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Ageof Enlightenment and AcademiaMontis Regalis.
Together with his wife, pianist Marie Searles, John recently launched Canberra-based Early Music ensemble Apeiron Baroque. Outsideof music, John is an avid gamer, amateur horticulturalist, comic book enthusiast and self-identified tech-nerd....
Writer:; Photo: Martin Ollman
CSO Rest Magazine (21st June 2023)
Bach Akademie’s passionate exploration of Bach’s solo partitas
Bach Akademie Australia: Universe of One
"...showcased a group of exceptionally skilled baroque musicians.... John Ma’s precise and expressive violin... joyful tempo and playful melodies, it was a jubilant finale which the quartet obviously enjoyed playing"
Writer: Pepe Newton; Photo: Australian Digital Concert Hall
"When you get a musical director and violinist as much fun as John Ma, a concert can’t fail to be enjoyable."
"He has his own refreshing take on the music to be played and describes it in amusing and accessible terms. Watching him playing his instrument and leading the orchestra is to see a man who obviously loves what he does and wants to communicate that to his audience."
"The busy first and third movements of the concerto were played with gusto and the second largo movement was most memorable with the viola d’amore’s haunting sound rising so appealingly above the orchestra."
"The Alle Breve was vibrant and explosive, throbbingly vibrant in its circular repetitive structure, while the Adagio ma non tanto was pensive, slower and profound. The Allegro was bright and snappy with an emphatic repeated beat and melody.."
"“Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 BWV 1051” opened with a lively and bright first movement before moving into a slower second and finishing on a bouncing, joyous third movement dominated by the pairings of the harpsichord and Anthea Cottee’s cello and the playful violas played by Karina Schmitz and John Ma. The energy of this performance was high and it was wonderful to see the rhythm so infect the players as to bring smiles to their playing faces."
"...the two viole da braccio get a play date, with string ripieno joining in their games. The slow movement, played by the two violas alone with continuo, was beautifully realised by Schmitz, leading the ensemble, and Ma. They gave free reign to the unbridled joy of this music, eminently palpable in the thrumming third movement Allegro"