Anna, 16-year-old clarinettist, started playing at age seven and has been studying with Dr Deborah de Graaff since 2014. Her love for the instrument has given her a dream to become a professional musician who moves hearts, heals hurts and shares joys. An awardee of a full music scholarships at Ravenswood, she is principal clarinet of the school wind ensemble, symphony orchestra and sings in the choir. Performing as a member of Sydney Youth Orchestra’s Philharmonic Orchestra, she enjoys contributing her musical gifts to the wider community in charity and church concerts. She completed the AMEB LMusA at age 15. Anna has participated in lessons/masterclasses in Sydney and USA with, Janet Hilton, David Krakauer, Paul Cigan, Jon Manasse, Larry Guy, Boris Allakhverdyan and following USA lessons, is mentored through skype with Ricardo Morales.
Sydney Eisteddfod caught up with Anna to ask her about her journey thus far as a musician....
Tell us why you love playing music and your instrument in particular.
I love playing music because it is so powerful in many ways. The reason why I love playing clarinet so much is because I feel that the clarinet helps me tell a story, and I also love knowing that I can just emotionally, spiritually or mentally touch someone through my music and heal their pain or help someone escape into a world that they didn’t know of through my passion for music.
Describe what playing your instrument means to you in 1 short sentence.
Playing clarinet to me means that I get the opportunity to make music and bring others happiness.
WHEN did you start playing your instrument?
I first started playing the clarinet when I was 7 years old, so it’s been around 9 years.
What motivates you as a musician?
As a musician, the main thing that motivates me is knowing that every time I stand on stage, I might just be able to heal someone in the audience or make them feel an emotion they might not have ever experienced before.
Tell us a little bit about the piece you are performing in the final and why you chose it.
I chose three pieces for the final – Bassi Fantasia da Concerto, Weber Clarinet concerto no.2 mvt.3 and Gershwin Piano Preludes for Clarinet – because each piece has a different colour and emotion. Especially, Bassi, an Italian composer and clarinettist, wrote Fantasia da concerto themed from Verdi’s Rigoletto to express all different characters in the Opera. It leads me to the story of the opera and encourages me to express many sides of my musicality.
What’s something we don’t we know about you?
One thing you don’t know about me is that I love to skateboard. I sometimes enjoy doing my two favourite things – skateboarding and playing the clarinet – at the same time!
How do you feel about making the finals?
Making the finals is something I never thought would come true on my first go. I am very much honoured to compete with other good musicians and perform in the finals.
What challenges have you overcome to get you to where you are now with your playing?
One of biggest challenges is to overcome as a musician is to keep a promise with myself everyday – practice, practice and practice! Another challenge is to keep a balance between music study and academic study during school terms especially.
What is the best piece of performance advice you’ve ever heard?
Keep developing the dynamics, tones, character, have fun and enjoy!
What have you learnt from your Sydney Eisteddfod experience?
From my Sydney Eisteddfod experience, I have learnt that I just have to keep trying and it isn’t about winning. Instead it is about enjoying the performance I give. Every adjudicator is different, so it’s unpredictable, but knowing that I gave the performance 110% that makes me happy.
What would you say to another young musician who was thinking about entering Sydney Eisteddfod?
To another young musician who wants to enter Sydney Eisteddfod, is to not think about winning or losing, and to just think about having fun and giving it their best!
What do you hope to achieve next?
The next thing I hope to achieve is entering in international competitions which might open up more opportunities for me to perform because I want to play for audiences across the world. And I also want to try auditions for further music studies in overseas.