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10 Questions - Craig Whitehead, chief executive, Queensland Symphony Orchestra

Summer Reading

Queensland Symphony Orchestra chief executive Craig Whitehead steps up to answer InQueensland Summer Reading’s 10 Questions.

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Did anything good come out of 2020?

I think 2020 provided a number of people (including myself) the opportunity to slow the treadmill of life a little, and reflect on who and what is most important to you. I hope to carry this into 2021 and take time out to enjoy the journey and not just the destination.

What’s your favourite summer memory?

Holidays at Tallebudgera Creek Caravan Park. I had friends who also holidayed there every year and our days were filled with swimming, playing cricket, and riding our bikes over Burleigh Hill. The caravan park would also host movie nights and other entertainment. It was an idyllic way to spend my childhood.

Are you a summer or a winter person?

I’m more of a summer person, as I love the beach. It’s also a time to relax, recharge, and catch up with friends. I also love the build-up and drama of a good summer storm.

How do you stay resilient during periods of change, like the year just gone?

Surrounding myself with friends and family (even over Zoom) is important as they tend to ground you and force you to think outside your little bubble. It’s also important to remember to laugh and to do it often. It’s good for the soul and reinforces your resilience for the next challenge waiting around the corner.

Who were your heroes of 2020?

I’m in awe of the frontline workers around the world who have worked tirelessly and at great personal cost to keep us safe. The people of Australian who put politics and other differences aside to listen to the experts and follow their advice, which has allowed us to be in a much better position than most of the rest of the world.  QSO’s community of supporters who continued to give generously in 2020 despite the fact we were unable to perform for them, and my colleagues at the QSO who continued to inspire the people of Queensland through their hard work, dedication, and extraordinary creativity.

What’s your secret ambition?

I started my career as an actor but haven’t performed on stage for over 20 years. It would be fun to tread the boards again and to see if I can still do it. My other (not so) secret ambition is to help my two sons be the best people they can be.

What’s your favourite holiday spot?

Sunshine Beach. My wife and I started going there over 20 years ago with friends and we have been back pretty much every year since with the same couple and now our children. I love its relaxed village feel, great beach, and close (but not too close) proximity to Noosa.

What are you hoping for in 2021?

After the year we just had I’m entering 2021 with an open mind, knowing that together the QSO can adapt to whatever we are forced to face. However, I don’t think a little more certainty and normality is too much to ask.

What have you been watching on television/streaming services lately?

The Queen’s Gambit. Brilliant writing and a mesmerising performance from Anya Taylor-Joy. Pre and post US election I have also been watching, for about the fifth time, The West Wing and imagining a United States without President Trump.

Any people or businesses to watch in 2021?

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra. We are back in 2021 with a full season of wonderful music performed by extraordinary musicians. The energy and excitement created by the orchestra and our audience at our return concerts in 2020 bode well for an amazing year of performances. The Orchestra is ready, our audience is building, and I can’t wait for the 6th of February.


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