BT: It was incredibly surreal to me to win these two competitions which were open to all instrumentalists and vocalists under the age of 25. I felt so encouraged and affirmed by the appreciation from the adjudicators and audience. The results definitely surpassed my expectations as I felt very honoured to be selected as a finalist already.
FM: What have you been up to since we saw you last at the awards, almost 12 months ago?
BT: It has been a very productive and thrilling 12 months for me. I have been enjoying the rigorous education that my school (Sydney Grammar) has been offering me. On top of all of that, I was able to savour a few performance opportunities which have helped me to develop as a musician. Collaborating with the North Sydney Symphony Orchestra under Steven Hillinger, the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra under Dr Nicholas Milton AM, the Kuringai Philharmonic Orchestra under Paul Terracini and the Queensland Youth Symphony Orchestra under John Curro has provided me with invaluable experiences. I have also achieved encouraging results in a few competitions: being the Overall Winner at the 2017 NSW Secondary School Concerto Competition, the Grand Prize Winner at the ENKOR International Music Competition and a finalist at the Australian National Youth Concerto Competition.
Earlier this year I gave a live (broadcasted) recital at the Fine Music studio which was a highlight for me. Next month, I will play the Grieg Cello Sonata with pianist Ian Munro and Kodaly Duo with violinist Alexandre Da Costa at Musica Viva’s Huntington Estate Festival. It will be a very exciting time for me.
FM: How have you used the award prizes to help you in further developing your talent?
BT: The award prizes were very generous amounts and they still sit in my bank for my future study. I plan to use some of it for music activities overseas next year. That will help expanding my exposure and experience as a cellist.
FM: What advice do you have for the 2017 finalists?
BT: Competitions for me are occasions to perform and get feedback. Playing my best is more important than the result and I would just go for it without worrying about the outcome. Last year, having gone through three rounds of tense competitions in Sydney, I felt very inspired and motivated which helped me to rise up to the bigger occasion in the national final. It was an unforgettable experience for me!
It has become more and more obvious to me that I want to be a professional musician in the future. Right now there are lots of things for me to learn and develop as a person and a musician. I will just take one step at a time and not worry about the future yet. Hopefully my hard work will lead to a successful career one day.