The future of New Zealand orchestral music is assured, if this year’s KBB Music Young Performers Competition is anything to go by.
For the first time in the competition’s history, winners were selected in two categories, with cellist Cecilia Xu taking the string prize, and flautist Joey Chen claiming victory among wind, brass and percussion players. The competition, which is held annually for secondary school students, took place at the Raye Freedman Arts Centre, Epsom, in association with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO).
Cecilia, a pupil at Epsom Girls’ Grammar, has been learning cello for six years and is equally adept on violin. Her winning performance featured works by Goens and Bantock.
Joey, who selected a movement from Taktakishvili’s tricky Flute Sonata, is in Year 13 at Rangitoto College and also plays a range of instruments, including piano and viola.
Cecilia and Joey each win $250 in cash and a further $250 for their schools.
The competition’s final round was judged by APO Manager of Artistic Planning Ronan Tighe; Dr Joseph Harrop, Programme Director, Sistema Aotearoa; and Dean Sky-Lucas, Head of Collaborative Piano, The University of Auckland. The competition’s patron is APO Concertmaster Emeritus Brecon Carter.
Mr Tighe was impressed by all of the finalists.
“You’ll often find musicians of school age who are technically proficient, but what struck the judges about the six who performed in this competition was their musicianship. That’s harder to learn, and all the competitors should be commended – as should their teachers. Congratulations in particular to Cecilia and Joey. I look forward to watching their careers progress.”
Competition sponsor KBB Music was similarly impressed.
“Cecilia and Joey have immense talent,” said KBB Music’s General Manager, Andrew Chamberlain. “We hope that victory in this competition gives them the confidence to pursue careers in music.”