Justin Bailey will perform as one of the Piper Uncorked Crew | The Canberra Times

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Most buskers are lucky if they get a moment’s attention and a coin from a passerby. For Justin Bailey, however, playing his violin at Melbourne’s Victoria Markets turned into a major opportunity. Bailey, 25, a former Canberran, said, “I’ve been busking in Melbourne for about three years now. One of the event organisers saw me play.” Not only that, she contacted him on Instagram. The result is that Bailey will be performing his multigenre music – a mixture of classical, pop, jazz, rock, punk and pop, sometimes working with others’ music, sometimes his own compositions – on amplified violin at the Australian Open. The general manager of Piper-Heidsieck, Benot Collard, said, “The Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Bar at Rod Laver Arena will be the centre stage for the Piper Uncorked Crew, which is how we decided to name the collective. We want to give these incredibly talented artists a chance to showcase their skills. “Thanks to the Australian Open, Melbourne turns into the worldwide capital of tennis for a month, yet one cannot forget it also is one of the key cities in the world for live artistic performances,” Collard said. Hence this year, the arts – an industry hit hard by COVID – will be a focus. The Crew will include hip hop dancer Dagogo Obogo, drag artist Valerie Hex, saxophonist Ash James and Ballerina Kealy Fouracre. Bailey – who has Thai and Australian parentage – went to school in Canberra and studied violin as part of the Music for Canberra program as well as performing in local ensembles such as the Canberra Youth Orchestra. He began a law degree at Monash University but left in his third year. “I decided it would be a good idea to quit university and become a full-time musician.” He has become part of Melbourne’s music community. Bailey has played in multiple ensembles in different genres, busks, and teaches as well as writing and performing his own music. He has performed around Australia and internationally, working with Post Modern Jukebox and Vulfpeck, among others. A particular highlight was performing with American jazz saxophonist Dave Koz. “He showed me how I might be able to be a successful musician.” As for tennis and champagne – underlying the Piper Uncorked Crew – Bailey said he loved both. “I’m a big fan of Roger Federer.” He also enjoyed a bit of bubbly, though in moderation. “I’m not much of a drinker.” Collard said, “Justin is an incredible violinist who has a natural talent to entertain and enrich people’s lives. We admired Justin and his commitment to the industry. “Throughout lockdown he spent his time teaching the next generation of children online, endeavouring to educate them on not only how to play the violin, but how to be a good musician.”


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