Music students tour Europe and China

7 Jul 2016

Seven University of Queensland music students will perform in some of the most prestigious venues in the world after being selected to tour with the Australian Youth Orchestra from more than 300 hopefuls.

Phoebe Masel (3rd year violin), Hannah Harley (3rdyear 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) leave on Saturday for four weeks of travel throughout Europe and China, before returning to Australia for concerts in Sydney and Melbourne.

Head of UQ’s School of Music Professor Margaret Barrett said being selected to perform for the Australian Youth Orchestra is a great honour.

“There’s enormous competition to get into the Australian Youth Orchestra, especially in the international tour years,” Professor Barrett said.

“To be selected is an amazing achievement and an endorsement of your practice,” she said.

The students 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.

“This 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,” Professor Barrett said.

“Importantly, this is the sort of experience where players meet future colleagues and form lifelong connections.”

Third year cellist Simon Svoboda is looking forward to the tour and said there is a uplifting, positive vibe around the building.

“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,” Mr Svoboda said.

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

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

The tour will continue with concerts in the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing (affectionately known as ‘The Egg’), the Shanghai Oriental Art Centre Concert Hall and finish back in Australia with The Arts Centre in Melbourne and the Sydney Opera House.

Media: Simon Svoboda - 0435 143 173, Margaret Barrett - 0407 091 911,