Saturday, 29 July 2017

Virtuosic Return

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his first symphony when he was eight. It’s still played by world-class orchestras today. Naoko Keatley did not write a symphony when she was eight. She did, however, play Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in her debut with the Sydney Youth Orchestra. That’s no easy feat. To get some idea of how impressive that is, watch this clip of adults playing it. 

Before leaving the orchestra after completing school, Naoko also premiered the Matthew Hindson Violin Concerto, a very different but no less challenging piece of music. Clearly there was talent aplenty, and a passion to match in this young girl. The following is a recording of Naoko playing the first movement of the Hindson concerto with the New Zealand Orchestra under her maiden name (Miyamoto). 

Scintillating, right?

Her dedication remained and after studying at the National Conservatorium of Music she pursued her career in England, becoming a young member of the London Symphony Orchestra. She also performs in the Royal Opera House Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and a modern group, Riot Ensemble.

But Naoko hasn’t forgotten her roots and returns to Australia to perform in the Australian World Orchestra whenever she can. Now she returns to where it all started, and will be the soloist in the Sydney Youth Orchestra’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, part of their Ambition and Virtuosity concert. Having such a talented and successful alumni playing with the orchestra must be inspiring, and a good chance to learn from someone the young musicians can look up to, and relate with.

Tchaikovsky’s Concerto is a virtuosic piece, full of energy and verve, so Naoko will need all her talent, dedication and passion to master it. Somehow, I think she will. I look forward to finding out.


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