Georgina from Tempo Rubato

making classical music accessible, and their rehearsal room for hire
— at
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale Anstey — Laneway
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Local classical music venue Tempo Rubato run a small music rehearsal space for hire, the Tempo Piano Room, at Nightingale Anstey in Brunswick.

What is Tempo Rubato?

Tempo Rubato is a live classical music space on Breese Street in Brunswick, close to Nightingale Village. We opened in 2019. We seat around 100 people, and we're a space for predominantly classical chamber music and solo artists. But we do stray sometimes into more ambient or stripped-back music as well. We have a bar, which we strive to make zero-landfill. 

The reason our founder (also named Georgina) thought to open Tempo was because she had lived in Europe for a few years and loved how accessible classical music was over there. It wasn't put on a pedestal the way it is here in Australia. She wished Melbourne had more spaces for enjoying classical music in a non-intimidating environment, and where there’s really no transition from the street into the space. I think she also liked the idea of having booze with your classical music. 

All of our profits go to a charity called Piano Project which supports music education projects for kids who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity.

What’s the history of the Tempo Piano Room?

There are a lot of people who live in apartments who don't have space for a piano, and also ensembles who are looking for a room like this. Something we heard a lot at Tempo Rubato was people asking about hiring the space to play on the grand piano. But because we also have a co-working space at Tempo Rubato, Rubato Upstairs, we don't use the concert space during office hours. 

This idea for the Piano Room really came about when Julie Kantor donated this Beale baby grand to Piano Project. It's a really generous gift, and it’s beautiful to play. It has a mellow, softer tone which is perfect for this space. 

How did you change the space to make it appropriate for music practice?

Any instrument this size in such a small space is going to be really live. So we had to do a few things to absorb the sound and break it up a bit. We put up the curtain, and you can see there's baffling on the wall too. Even just a simple carpet makes a difference.

What’s coming up at Tempo Rubato?

Some of the artists performing in the coming weeks include classical guitar duo, Ziggy and Miles, who are currently based in New York, and are the first Australians (ever!) to be accepted into the Artist Diploma program at The Juilliard School. There's exploratory music with New North.  Italian jazz pianist Alessandra Garosi plays as part of Adam Simmons' INSIGHT improvisation series. We have a program called Tempo Queer, curated by Coady Green, who's another Brunswick local and an amazing pianist. He developed the series last year, celebrating LGBTIQ+ composers and artists. 

Our full program is on our website.

Other than live music we also have a new writers' group, run by another Brunswick local, called No Typewriters / No Talking. You just go for an hour and write. 

We also sell books and music and secondhand sheet music. People are going the way of iPads more and more now, so with sheet music normally you’d buy the PDF. But it's like a step back in time, browsing through sheet music, and they have the most amazing artwork on the front.

Tempo Rubato hosted a lovely event last year to welcome Nightingale Village and Nightingale Anstey residents to the community. How did this event come about? 

I remember when we first opened Tempo Rubato, these streets were mainly warehouses. Something we love at Tempo is meeting the locals, especially those who've seen the neighbourhood change and grow, and who've been to our building in its various previous lives. So we were super excited that all these new apartments had gone up, full of a bunch of interesting people. We wanted to do something nice to welcome them - and so they know we're here!

Learn more about Nightingale commercial and creative spaces here.

First published in
August 2023