Workshop Testimonials

What would a year be without a week in January in Armidale, dedicated to playing recorder intensively with fellow recorder addicts at the wonderful Orpheus Recorder Boutique? Orpheus Recorder Boutiques are a very rich experience for so many of us, where we can immerse ourselves in the joys of learning, music-making and team-work, with like-minded people who quickly become lasting friends. Orpheus Music also sells a fabulous range of recorders of all sizes, to suit every pocket, and music from the earliest times to the ultra-modern, to suit recorder players at every level, whether playing solo or in a group of any conceivable size. A veritable treasure trove! Thanks so much to Zana, Peter and Alexandra for their expertise and patience in providing advice and help.

Vanessa Elwell-Gavins, Hervey Bay QLD Australia

January 1998 was my first time in Armidale taking part at a ORPHEUS Recorder Summer School. May I introduce the most dedicated event organisers: Zana Clarke and Peter Biffin I have been to various Recorder courses every year since, including this year. This week-long work- shop and recorder paradise has become my yearly focus for intense playing (8am to 9pm), finding new and stocking up from a large range of special recorder sheet music. Orpheus have their own publications and carry an endless amount of Australian and international publications with music up to nine parts. Available as well is a wide range of recorders from different makers. They are a constant temptation as one can never have too many recorders. With so many recorder specialists at hand it is safe to find a recorder to match your needs. The week is dedicated to the recorder; from the Garklein to the very big. No cooking or housekeeping, just good tasty meals in interesting company among likeminded people. Over the years I have learned from and listened to dozens of highly qualified musicians and esteemed tutors from Australia and New Zealand, from Europe and the Americas. One of the biggest joys for me are the youngsters: their enthusiasm and energetic attitude are inspiring and a credit to Orpheus’ Recorder Courses.

Nora Julien , Malany QLD Australia

Armidale? A place for an outstanding annual recorder workshop with first class tutors. The added bonus was the wide range of recorders and sheet music offered on site by Orpheus Music Publications. I was able to find a comprehensive manual on ornamentation called “A Baroque Ornamentation Tutor for Recorder" by Bali János. I plan to attend the workshop again as I have learnt so much in just one week!

Brigitte Leroy, South Coast NSW Australia

What better way to spend a week in January than enjoying a Boutique Recorder Workshop in Armidale run by Orpheus Music. A group of recorder players of all abilities play wonderful music from all ages, guided by world class tutors who also give a world class concert such as would command high prices and high acclaim in any concert hall. Those who wish to can also perform for the group at evening blackboard concerts. It is an opportunity to try and buy recorders and to browse through the recorder music for sale. Music to be played at the course is available through the on-line shop prior to the course to allow for individual practice. The opportunity to play in large and small groups is enjoyed by recorder players from all around Australia and from New Zealand with the occasional overseas guest, is not to be missed for lovers of recorder music.

Barbara Weisflog, NSW Australia

I have found Orpheus Music to be invaluable in my time as a music teacher, arranger, conductor and performer. Orpheus Music stocks the most comprehensive range of recorder music in Australia. They have also been more than willing to order music in upon request and are quick to post as soon as it is in stock. The annual Orpheus Recorder Boutique is a wonderful experience. Recorder players gather together in Armidale to improve their technique and benefit from the expertise of the tutors. The range of ensembles is particularly valuable for those in remote areas who do not have local recorder societies. It is a great opportunity to make or renew friendships with those who have a love of the recorder. Orpheus also offers the opportunity to try a range of recorders and make informed decisions when purchasing. It is a rare occurrence for me to leave Armidale without a new instrument ... and I always leave with new music, new knowledge and inspiration.

Karen Drury , Lower Hunter Valley NSW Australia

I really enjoy the quality of the tutors at the annual recorder courses. Their knowledge and how they pass this on is really appreciated by me. To immerse yourself totally in 6 to 8 days of recording playing and listening is a fantastic experience. There is something for everyone in the annual courses for the recorder. The recorder shop, at the annual courses, with the many recorders of different sizes in woods and plastic is great to browse through and to make up your mind what you would like to purchase. The same applies to the recorder accessories and the vast selection in printed music from recorder tutors to recorder orchestras and all the different consort combinations in between.

Simonette Bunder, Wollongong NSW Australia

I fully recommend the Orpheus Recorder Boutique held in Armidale in January each year. It is professionally run and the tutors are talented professionals from within Australia and from overseas. It is residential and is a great opportunity to enjoy the company of like-minded musicians and to extend your skill in recorder playing. I enjoy the wide range of playing experiences it offers –technical work, playing in small and large ensembles and the opportunity to perform in blackboard concerts at night. Orpheus Music offers an extensive range of recorders and recorder music for sale, at the Orpheus Recorder Boutique and through their on-line catalogue.

Heather Snell, Wollongong NSW Australia

I have attended the Orpheus Recorder Boutique in Armidale every January for the past 5 years. As a Graduate of Classical Performance (Recorder) from the Elder Conservatorium, the Boutique offers me an excellent standard of playing and teaching. The workshop is a chance for me to meet and play with people of a similar level, which is a wonderful experience and not as readily available in my home city of Adelaide. It's a busy, well-organised and fun-filled six days, attended by recorder players of all ages from all parts of Australia. We perform in duos, small groups and large ensembles. The instructors are extremely talented and experienced musicians from all over the world. They bring along their love of recorder, new ideas and lots of interesting music for us to play together. In the 2016 Boutique, for example, our tutor Ryan Williams showed us how he uses electronic equipment in conjunction with his recorder collection to produce and perform innovative contemporary music. It was a lot of fun. The Orpheus shop hosts a vast collection of recorders and music, and the staff, in particular, are world class players who are passionate about their love of recorder. I would highly recommend the Orpheus Recorder Boutique to recorder players of all levels and ages. 

Patrick Squire, Adelaide SA Australia

I cannot thank you all at Orpheus enough for the experience of the 2018 recorder boutique. It was a huge learning experience, the tutors were talented and professional to a T and the massive range of sheet music, instruments, gifts and accessories available at the store and on line are truly impressive. I’ll be back!

Amanda Oades, Riverina district NSW Australia

Since 2006 I have attended at least ten of the Orpheus Summer Schools for recorders in Armidale. It is always a most enjoyable time for learning from the top class tutors, connecting and reconnecting with recorder players from all over Australia and sometimes beyond, having opportunities to play in small groups and perform at blackboard concerts if you wish. Since 2006 when I first attended, the numbers for the course have grown from the mid twenties to over ninety with several new players each year. Some stalwarts have been returning year after year. The tutors come from Australia and other parts of the world so there is a good mix of music, some of which takes time to adjust to, and varied approaches to playing. On most evenings there is a concert given by the groups that are divided into various abilities as much as possible, small groups that have come prepared, other groups that have formed during the six days and of course one of the highlights is hearing the tutors play together. This is a wonderful chance for them to get together with players of a similar standard and despite their exhaustion from tutoring all day they give very inspiring performances.

Another positive is having lunch and morning tea with other participants and sharing news and ideas from the various recorder societies around the country. Some individuals relish the time at Orpheus as they live in isolated places where no-one else plays the recorder. Although the age group is generally above forty there is a special program for younger people and many of them are commendable players and often exist in places where the recorder is not highly valued. They play at the concerts and sometimes entertain us at meal times. One hopes that they will continue playing the recorder for as we know it is not an instrument that the majority of people have heard played in consort or realise can sound so appealing.  Despite the public perception those of us who play the recorder greatly value the time we spend together in our own home towns and cities.

Another very valuable, although hard on the pocket temptation, is the huge array of recorder music, recorder paraphernalia and recorders that are for sale in the shop. Although you go into the shop with the determination not to spend any money, that resolve disappears when you find music, (which I find much easier to buy once you have seen it) and most people either buy music or recorders that take their fancy. Zana’s husband Peter is also very helpful in repairing problems with recorders, which is of enormous benefit. The final concert is often held in the New England Art Gallery, followed by a dinner at a local hotel.

It is a tiring week of concentration, but I recommend it to anyone who wants to play all day and enjoy the techniques that are given in the morning sessions and the opportunity to gather with likeminded enthusiasts. The Orpheus website is also a useful place to recommend to people who want music or recorders.

Anne Cooke, Sydney NSW Australia

Orpheus Music is a unique Australian recorder-related entity which concentrates both in publishing its own editions and in delivering a wide range of existing publications, products and instruments. OM is a web shop, but has also a physical location situated in Armidale, Australia.

As an equally important item OM organises each January an intensive yearly week-long course for amateur players concentrating in small and large ensemble playing. In addition, an extra course for a smaller number of advanced participants is arranged in the end of the week to work on more demanding repertoire one-to-a-part. The number of participants varies between 50-100, and mainly consists of ensemble music of 3 to 8 parts in all styles from medieval to contemporary music. Three sessions including one technique session are included in the daily program, as well as a final concert and daily open evening concerts for keen voluntary performers.

I find the course of OM an excellent platform for the participants to enjoy, sustain and develop one's recorder playing skills in recorders of all sizes. The spirit in the course encourages both the participants and the tutors to keep an enjoyable yet demanding atmosphere, and OM lead by Zana Clarke ensures a very high international tutoring standard - being a recorder professional herself. Still, up to 5 different categories of skill and experience levels have been created to secure a suitable group for each participant. The technique class is also wisely restricted to a group not too big in order to enable thorough attention for everyone.

I took part as a tutor in the 2018 course, and an especially pleasant memory remained from the technique class I was teaching. A group of 10 players with more or less experience had prepared the suite BWV 997 and Meditation by Ryohei Hirose. In the beginning the participants had high prejudices or little faith in ever being able to execute the modern work nor the double of the gigue in BWV 997, but we managed to open up the works line by line over the course of the week, making them practically completely accessible for nearly everyone. Equally satisfying was to combine dynamically demanding musically speaking instrumental elements of Bach with the rudiments of fine-tuned technical aspects, having everyone in their turn -multiple times the week- take part as a soloist and otherwise in an accompanying or observing role. In this fashion everyone was occupied actively.

The course is very well paced and packaged with substantial breaks, including breakfast, small breaks, lunch and dinner, arranged with a comfortable lodging on demand within the course area. A good number of practising rooms are also available all day long for participants to work on their lines.

All in all, OM course offers a great balance of simply playing, more demanding concentration at will, learning, recorder repair services, a vast music library, instruments and accessories for sale, and social free time with good schedule margins in an all-included package.

Petri Arvo (Master of Music, musician, recorder player, teacher), Finland

For the past 6? Years, a week in early January, Orpheus Recorder intensive in Armidale is my home.

We, who love and play throughout the year and we who are passionate beginners, young and old, from far and wide on our earth are given, in groups of similar standard, the teaching by the best selected tutors to play the music of the masters. These are from early centuries of European history to our present day composers:

Dance music from the courts  or countryside,  folk song arrangements, or simple Bach & other tunes for those progressing fast. Details of style, ornamentation, are for daily tutorials, the music for which we prepare before, to be ready for the teaching. This is the most wonderful start to each day. 

Exhausted and happy, fresh baked morning tea gives energy for the rest of the day’s diverse groups to attend and play. 

Important is the care, on site accommodation, and very good food needs based catering, in the school refectory, where we meet, eat with tutors and everyone.

Every night we provide a concert. The wonderful tutors open the first night. Each concert is a rich selection of solo or group or often humor & fun.

The final concert in the beautiful Art Gallery includes everyone, the joyful young teens - and younger-, the best piece of each group, and finally all participants in a wonderful double choir grand work.

Music making is wonderful food for soul, body, socially-be there.

Marta Mikes, Sydney Australia

Product Testimonials

Orpheus Music has provided me with wonderful opportunities to advance my recorder playing. I have attended several of the Annual week long courses which are run by a team of expert tutors. I live in New Zealand and such courses no longer exist here. It has been very worthwhile to travel to NSW for these events. Being immersed in recorder playing with around 80 or more other participants is transportive and inspiring. Ordering music through Orpheus is a very efficient way for me to access a wide range of recorder music. Also I have bought three wooden recorders, a soprano, a treble and a tenor all by Mollenhauer through Orpheus Music and they are excellent instruments for myself as an intermediate player.

Jenny Lewis, Wellington, New Zealand

Hi! I have used Orpheus services many times and have been very pleased with them. They are able to do repairs and maintenance work on recorders. In my experience the work has been well done, in a timely manner and at reasonable cost. They have a store, which is well-stocked with recorders with music. It has happened that music I have ordered has been out of stock but they have made a big effort to acquire the music. Orpheus provides a very valuable service to the recorder-playing community in Australia.In particular they organise a summer school for players from most states (about 90 people in 2018). The tutors at the school are first rate and include Australian and international performers and teachers.The company has played an important role in publishing work by Australian composers.I highly commend and recommend Orpheus diverse services.

Dr Elizabeth Lindqvist, Melbourne VIC Australia

Armidale? A place for an outstanding annual recorder workshop with first class tutors. The added bonus was the wide range of recorders and sheet music offered on site by Orpheus Music Publications. I was able to find a comprehensive manual on ornamentation called “A Baroque Ornamentation Tutor for Recorder" by Bali János. I plan to attend the workshop again as I have learnt so much in just one week!

Brigitte Leroy, South Coast NSW Australia

I have purchased my recorders and music from Orpheus Music for over five years. Because I have very specific needs, I was able to discuss those with Zana and Peter, and they were able to send me just what I needed. It is increasingly becoming important to have a service like this as I strive to improve my playing technique. Buying a recorder over the internet is not as easy as saying, ‘I like the look of that recorder’. How you hold a recorder, play it and just what it is you need in a recorder are all aspects that need to be considered. I have one more: I am profoundly deaf so it is vital I am able to trust the person I am purchasing the instrument from. Zana, in particular, has an amazing ability to match recorder to player. At a time when music shops are rapidly disappearing from our shopping centres, it has become increasingly important to not only have a reliable source of good music, but to have people who understand your needs and is able to reliable meet them. When I recently had to purchase music for my studies, having my music on my doorstep three days later was fantastic.

Helen Pitcher, Bathurst NSW Australia

General Testimonials

I've been a serious amateur musician for over 50 years and have recently renewed my interest in the recorder. When bricks and mortar stores seem to stock only the most popular instruments, Orpheus Music has been an absolute godsend with their extensive catalogue of instruments from many top manufacturers, at a wide range of prices. They even sell Paetzold Basses! I've purchased several instruments in different sizes (descant to bass) and styles. Their service is excellent and their prices very competitive.They have an extensive catalogue of sheet music too, both their own publications and methods, studies and collections from other publishers. I'm working through a few of these at the moment and expect to purchase many more as my skills increase. Frankly without Orpheus Music I'd be lost.Although I didn't realize it when I first started doing business with them, Zana Clarke, the founder of Orpheus Music, was a major inspiration in developing my interest in the recorder in the first place through her early music recordings. Perhaps we'll meet at an Orpheus Music Boutique sometime. I believe they're a lot of fun and an opportunity to learn from some great teachers.

Christina Norwood, Melbourne VIC Australia

As an avid recorder player, I could not manage without Orpheus Music. The range of music and instruments on offer is unavailable anywhere else in Australia. And the opportunity to try the instruments in order to find the ones that make for a comfortable and pleasing performance is an added bonus. I have had the pleasure of attending the annual Orpheus Music Workshops for over a decade. These workshops have provided the occasion to play with like-minded recorder lovers and to be benefit from the expertise of nationally and internationally acclaimed tutors. In addition, I can have my various instruments serviced while attending the workshops.

Annette Salt, Sydney NSW Australia

Without the support and service provided by Orpheus Music I would be lost. I have been a keen recorder player for fifty years and I deal with Orpheus frequently. The annual Recorder Boutique is excellent in every respect and is a highlight of my year. The catalogue of music and tutorial books offered online is extensive and readily available with a prompt ordering and delivery service. I have purchased all my recorders from Orpheus and have been well advised by them as to the best instruments for my needs. The range and quality of the instruments they provide is the best available. I am always impressed by Orpheus' knowledge, passion and exceptional service to recorder players nationwide.

Dianne Goulding , Country VIC Australia

Orpheus Music is run by an expert team: with them, you are in the best hands! Do you need to have your recorders serviced, are you looking for new repertoire suitable to your level or are you going to invest in a new instrument? Zana, Peter and Alexandra will make it very easy for you with full professionalism, passion for music and the friendliest service!

Maria Martinez Ayerza, Spain

Orpheus Music has an amazing catalogue of music for the Recorder and a wonderful range of instruments to purchase. I have always found the service speedy, friendly and obliging. Kind regards and fond memories of the Boutique last January.

Irene Batini, Perth WA Australia

Yes, happy to highly recommend everything you do: the range of sheet music, the fabulous instruments but most of all the incredible recorder boutique. Cheers

Carmel Spark, Mid North Coast NSW Australia

I have purchased my recorders and music from Orpheus Music for over five years. Because I have very specific needs, I was able to discuss those with Zana and Peter, and they were able to send me just what I needed. It is increasingly becoming important to have a service like this as I strive to improve my playing technique. Buying a recorder over the internet is not as easy as saying, ‘I like the look of that recorder’. How you hold a recorder, play it and just what it is you need in a recorder are all aspects that need to be considered. I have one more: I am profoundly deaf so it is vital I am able to trust the person I am purchasing the instrument from. Zana, in particular, has an amazing ability to match recorder to player. At a time when music shops are rapidly disappearing from our shopping centres, it has become increasingly important to not only have a reliable source of good music, but to have people who understand your needs and is able to reliable meet them. When I recently had to purchase music for my studies, having my music on my doorstep three days later was fantastic.

Helen Pitcher, Bathurst NSW Australia

I have been dealing with Orpheus since 2000 and have always found them to be absolutely efficient and trustworthy in all things recorder. I have attended every January course since then except one, and many weekend workshops where Zana has been a tutor. I can’t praise her teaching ability enough, nor that of the various other tutors she has gathered around her. Since she began publishing and acting as agent for other publishers of music I have bought many pieces, in the knowledge that I will be given reputable advice in the suitability of such, and if in stock, very fast service. The same is true when purchasing instruments, which I have done more times than I care to admit (in case my children read this). I have depended upon Peter for a couple of repairs and reconditioning of favourite recorders which he has carried out quickly and efficiently. It goes without saying that I wholeheartedly recommend Orpheus Music to anyone needing recorders, sheet music, workshops and courses, or repair of recorders. Brenda Kreger

Brenda Kregar, Central Coast NSW Australia

I have found Orpheus Music to be invaluable in my time as a music teacher, arranger, conductor and performer. Orpheus Music stocks the most comprehensive range of recorder music in Australia. They have also been more than willing to order music in upon request and are quick to post as soon as it is in stock. The annual Orpheus Recorder Boutique is a wonderful experience. Recorder players gather together in Armidale to improve their technique and benefit from the expertise of the tutors. The range of ensembles is particularly valuable for those in remote areas who do not have local recorder societies. It is a great opportunity to make or renew friendships with those who have a love of the recorder. Orpheus also offers the opportunity to try a range of recorders and make informed decisions when purchasing. It is a rare occurrence for me to leave Armidale without a new instrument ... and I always leave with new music, new knowledge and inspiration.

Karen Drury, Lower Hunter Valley NSW Australia

Orpheus Music is a unique Australian recorder-related entity which concentrates both in publishing its own editions and in delivering a wide range of existing publications, products and instruments. Orpheus Music is a web shop, but has also a physical location situated in Armidale, Australia.

Petri Avo (Master of Music, musician, recorder player, teacher), Finland