Waynne Kwon



Waynne Kwon

I must express my sincerest gratitude to the BBM for funding my trip to the UK, Germany and Austria from November to December 2013. It was a very valuable trip that allowed me to meet leading cello teachers and soloists who were able to further improve my cello playing and knowledge. The trip also gave me the opportunity to audition for and be accepted into the three most prominent musical institutions in the UK (Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music) and for Heinrich Schiff at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. Without the help and contribution provided by the BBM, I would have never been able to experience the opportunities that I encountered during my travels.

Towards the end of November 2013 I travelled to London where I stayed in a serviced apartment in Kensington. With the aid of my cello teacher Susan Blake, I was able to identify and contact prominent cello teachers in the UK. These include Ms Jo Cole, Mr Mats Lidstrom, Ms Josephine Knight and Ms Natlie Clein. For the first few days I explored London and practised the pieces for my upcoming lessons and auditions; Haydn Cello Concerto in C major 1st movement and the Sonata for Solo Cello 2nd movement by Ligeti.

My first audition was at the Royal Academy of Music and it was the most intense round of auditions I have yet to experience. The day began with a theory exam on harmony and an essay followed by the first round of practical exams. I was startled when the panel stopped me halfway through my pieces, but I was relieved to find out that I had made the 2nd round of auditions. The procedure was going smoothly until I was called upon into a room with one of the Professors at the Academy without my cello. I was asked to play whatever I wished on the piano (I hadn’t touched my piano since finishing my Amus A in 2011) and was astonished. This was followed by an aural exam. The pressure was mounting as I had no idea what they would throw at me next. However only my final round of auditions took place and I was very very relieved to be told on the spot that I had been accepted into the Academy and that they would aid me with a scholarship.
Within the next few days I was able to receive lessons from Ms Josephine Knight, Mr Mats Lidstrom and Ms Jo Cole (Head of Strings at the Royal Academy). It was very interesting to see what everyone had to offer in terms of musical knowledge and technique as they each had their own unique approach to playing cello and their own interpretations of the pieces. Having received much useful and valuable advice and help, I began my next leg of the journey to Manchester

My stay in Manchester was rather short as I had to return for my audition at the Royal College of Music three days later. Despite the gloomy and miserable weather, I was very excited to be in the city of my favourite football team, Manchester United. During my stay I was able to meet my friend Steph Stamopoulos who was a first year undergraduate cello student at the Royal Northern College of Music from Melbourne. She provided me with much insight into life at the RNCM and soon found out that there were numerous other Australian musicians studying there also.

My audition at the RNCM was simpler than the Royal Academy, but it was just as intense. My audition began at the beginning of the day where I was again startled for being cut short from my pieces. I was fortunate enough to continue to the next round of auditions where I was again notified on the spot by the panel that I had been accepted into the RNCM. Mr Chris Hoyle was part of the panel and he was very generous to offer me a scholarship and hinted at the possibility of a loan of one of their fine cellos crafted by Ruggieri. Due to the lack of time, I was unable to receive any lessons from professors at the RNCM. Susan suggested that I contact Ms Karine Georgian and Ms Hannah Roberts, both outstanding cellists and teachers situated at the RNCM.

After returning to London I immediately had a lesson with Ms Natalie Clein who was a leading cello soloist and teacher at the Royal College of Music. Having arrived at her home I was greeted with the crying of her newborn child; her reason for having to take a break from cello and music. She was able to give me valuable advice on musical phrasing and bowing technique. Within the next few days my audition for the RCM followed. It was much the same procedure as with the RNCM. I was able to meet my friend Sally Law who is now a second year undergraduate violin student at the RCM and was able to gain her thoughts and experience during her short time there. I was again accepted into the institution on the spot and was very grateful that all three schools had not only offered me places but scholarships as well.

With my auditions complete I flew over to Frankfurt, Germany for a holiday and to experience the musical environment present. I was expecting lessons with Mr Lazlo Fenyo and Mr Wolfgang Amadeus Schmidt, but due to their busy schedules we had to cancel last minute. This enabled me to take a break from cello and to roam the streets of Frankfurt where I experienced the beautiful Christmas markets. Musicians performing for the public on the street were a common sight, and I noticed that they were all of a high calibre. I then travelled to Leipzig where I was able to receive a lesson from Mr Peter Bruns who had the most excellent ideas for the Ligeti Sonata. I was interested in auditioning for a place at the Felix Mendelssohn College of Music and Theatre Leipzig but was informed by him that they took place in June. Feeling somewhat disappointed, I took pleasure in the fact that I was still able to receive advice from such a prominent cello teacher. I took into account the positives and negatives that Mr Bruns was able to identify in my playing and was eager to improve.

My final audition was in Vienna for the world renowned soloist and maestro Heinrich Schiff. Having admired his energetic yet musical and brilliant playing, it was a great honour and privilege to have met him in person, let alone play and audition for a spot in his class. I was able to contact him through Susan as she was a student of his many years ago in Basel. He was the most informative and provided me with the most advice on my playing, particularly concentrating on my bowing technique which was lacking. Due to his commitment to a group of French exchange students, he told me to come meet him again and study with him in 2015. Following my stay in Vienna were trips to Salzburg, Innsbruck and then back to Frankfurt for my flight home.

During my travels between Germany and Austria, the RAM, RNCM and RCM all notified me with the information pertaining to my entrance and scholarships to their institutions. Scholarships from both RAM and RCM were very generous, but not enough for me to afford, particularly with the expensive accommodation pertaining to these locations. The RNCM was able to generously offer me a full 16,000 pound scholarship and were also able to loan me their fine Ruggieri cello. The living expenses were also much cheaper than London. Having come from a financially struggling background, the offer presented by the RNCM was the most appealing. I ultimately chose the RNCM in the end, not only because of the generous scholarship, but also because of what I had been told from my cello teachers and their experiences with the RNCM. My next mission is to raise enough funds for my studies at the RNCM.

I attribute this valuable experience that I have briefly outlined here to the BBM ‘s generosity in contributing to the expenses required for such a life-altering trip. It has enabled me to further my musical career at a leading institution where I will ultimately endeavour to improve my musical ability to an exceptional standard. I hope to pass on the knowledge and experience gained through this trip to younger generations of Australian musicians.

Yours Faithfully,
Waynne Kwon

Update Your Details

Request to update details for

    Your Name *

    Your Surname *

    Your Phone *

    Your Email *

    Your Message

    Join our Mailing List



    Search BBM Youth Support