I first picked up a cello when I was three. My parents, both musicians, played together often and I wanted to join in. I started lessons and immediately fell in love. The cello let me communicate in a way that words could not.
At school the Head of Music, Chris Belshaw, pushed me into joining every ensemble and radiated so much excitement that I couldn't help but be swept along. This was counterbalanced by figure skating, to which I devoted the rest of my time. I trained hard, eventually competing at a national level.
Winning the Corinne d’Haag Mayer scholarship for my bachelor's degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music let me focus on cello. It was also at this time that I decided I had to stop ice skating to commit myself to music. Playing with the Australian Youth Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Sinfonia provided the opportunity to perform with professional orchestras around Australia, and I found mentors in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra musicians.
After an accident with my finger, I needed surgery and months of hand therapy, and I thought I’d never play again. My resolve to become a professional cellist was tested and had I wanted to quit, I had the perfect excuse. The incident showed me how integral playing the cello was to my identity — not playing was like having no voice.
Graduating from the Sydney Conservatorium in 2011, I left Australia to study a master’s degree with Claudio Bohórquez in Stuttgart, Germany. I played in many chamber music groups, freelanced with local orchestras and attended masterclasses throughout Europe.
Returning to Australia after my master's, I founded the Spark Ensemble, a chamber music group passionate about community engagement, while also working casually with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the Opera Australia Orchestra. In 2018 I won a position in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellowship Program, an intensive year of community outreach, chamber music, performing with the orchestra, and touring through China, Europe and the regional New South Wales Communities.
Throughout life, music has always been present. Regardless of situation or mood, it has given me a means of expression, communication and understanding. Whether performing as a soloist, in an orchestral setting, or with chamber ensembles, it remains my favourite way to communicate.
Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst
Sydney Conservatorium of Music
What’s on your playlist right now?
My playlist is a mix of moods and genres including songs from Kira Puru, a Melbourne-based artist, Rostropovich playing Lutoslawski Cello Concerto, some French pop by Zazz, Schumann Piano Trio No.1, and Brett Dean’s Engelsflügel.
If you could reinvent the way we experience classical music, what would you change?
Archaic rules and traditions isolate classical music from other forms of entertainment and expression. Allowing more people to experience classical music and keeping it relevant to today is something I’m passionate about. Changing those rules and traditions would allow classical music to become something to be enjoyed by all.