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Young violinist adds another string to her bow with QSO prize

Culture

A prodigiously talented Brisbane State High School musician has added taken a step toward stardom after winning this year’s prestigious Queensland Symphony Orchestra Young Instrumentalist Prize.

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Violinist Theonie Satzuki Wang, 16, who was awarded her Licentiate in Music, Australia (LMusA) by the Australian Music Examinations Board in 2018, beat a field of 44 candidates to take home this year’s prize.

Wang performed Samuel Barber’s ‘Violin Concerto Op. 14’ to win the prize, which will give her the opportunity to perform as a soloist with QSO in a public concert.

Wang has been playing violin since she was three, joined the Queensland Youth Orchestras Junior String Ensemble at age nine and has also been accepted to play in the Australian Youth Orchestra National Music Camp and Young Symphonists.

“There’s so much repertoire with violin, it’s such a great way to express yourself through such a wide variety of music, and there are so many new techniques that you can learn, it’s such a great, versatile instrument,” Wang told InQueensland.

Musical prowess runs in Wang’s family – her older brother, cellist Guillaume, was the 2013 winner of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s Young Instrumentalist Prize, and she admitted she felt some pressure to follow in his footsteps.

“It did put pressure on me, but I just wanted to experience the moment, and I guess I have this opportunity and this was my last year because I’m in Year 12, so I just wanted to give it a shot and see how I went.

“It was like such a wonderful feeling and experience and it gave me a rush of adrenaline and a platform to express myself.”

QSO’s director of artistic planning, Tim Matthies, said Theonie Satzuki Wang was “a very deserving winner and the Orchestra looks forward to performing with her later this year”.

“We will also provide mentoring opportunities with our visiting artists, including the internationally acclaimed, Brisbane-born violinist Ray Chen.

“The final featured six diverse musicians on a variety of instruments, including snare drum, bassoon, and saxophone, alongside strings. We had a very difficult decision as the finalists all played at the very highest level, a reflection of the absolute wealth of talent here. Their future, and Queensland’s music-making future, is assured.”

Wang said she hoped to study at Griffith University’s Conservatorium of Music next year under the tutelage of violinist Michele Walsh, who has previously served as concertmaster of the Australian Youth Orchestra, with a long-term goal of becoming a music teacher herself.

“I think Michele is such a great teacher and she’s already impacted me so much,” she said.

“But I really like children and helping them improve, so maybe in the later years of my career, I would like to impact the students in the ways my teachers have impacted my life with music, but for now I’m just going to keep trying to perform and get as much as experience I can with ensembles, orchestras and solo works.”

Wang said she believed it was vitally important to continue engaging with young audiences and remind them of the important role music plays in society.

“This year was my first year I did AYO [Australian Youth Orchestra] and it really opened my eyes, and I viewed music completely differently to what I did before.

I think music is such a great way to inspire children, and anyone in general. Just enjoy it and be filled with different emotions.”

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