Music students embark on International Tour with the Australian Youth Orchestra

30 Jun 2016
UQ Students on AYO tour
UQ students ready to travel with the AYO: Matilda Watkins, Phoebe Masel, Hannah Harley, Simon Svoboda, Sariah Xu (not pictured: Yena Choi, Eleanor Hill).

Seven string-playing students from The University of Queensland’s School of Music will be travelling with the prestigious Australian Youth Orchestra on its international tour in July. 

Phoebe Masel (3rd year violin), Hannah Harley (3rd year cello), Simon Svoboda (3rd year cello), Sariah Xu (Masters viola), Eleanor Hill (2nd year violin), Matilda Watkins (graduated 2015 violin), and Yena Choi (Masters violin) were selected for the tour on the basis of national auditions involving over five hundred applicants for string positions alone. 

Over a four-week period the Australian Youth Orchestra will perform throughout Europe and China before returning to Australia for concerts in Sydney and Melbourne.

Patrick Murphy, Cello Performance Fellow at the UQ School of Music, says being selected to perform for the Australian Youth Orchestra is highly valued.

“There’s enormous competition to get in to the Australian Youth Orchestra, especially in the international tour years. To be selected is a great honour and endorsement of your practice, ” he said.

“They will be performing in some of the great venues of the world, which is a wonderful experience at any time of your career. It’s a fantastic reflection on the vibrancy of performance studies at the School of Music – the students push themselves and each other to achieve higher and higher artistic goals. There’s a great, positive energy around the building”

During this time, the orchestra will work closely with a prestigious team of mentors from leading European orchestras, including French superstar piano soloist Hélène Grimaud, and Viennese Maestro Manfred Honeck.

“Importantly this is the sort of experience where players meet future colleagues and form lifelong friendships” said Murphy.

Third year cellist Simon Svoboda is looking forward to the tour.

“This is the first international tour I’ve ever been on, so I’m really excited. There’s such a great energy between all the players,” said Mr Svoboda.

“I’m really looking forward to playing in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, since it’s such a highly regarded venue.”

Concert Hall performances in Europe include the Max-Littmann-Saal, and Wiesbaden Kurhaus in Germany, and The Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

The tour continues with performances in the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing (affectionately known as ‘The Egg’), the Shanghai Oriental Art Centre Concert Hall, The Arts Centre in Melbourne, and the Sydney Opera House.

Follow the tour at the AYO 2016 International Tour Hub.