Saying G'day to our winner - Australia's Suyeon Kang
What happens after the Competition finishes and everything goes back to 'normal'? Does normality return when you've won the Competition? We were keen to find out, so got in touch with Suyeon in her home town of Sydney, where's she's spent the last few weeks since winning the Competition.
What have your last few weeks looked like?
Arriving back at my parent's home, I was blessed with two things: the first - being able to spend time with my parents (it doesn't happen so often as I live so far away), and that includes spending my 26th birthday with them! I think it's been six or seven years since we were all together for my birthday.
Secondly - finally, finally - I got something called a "proper break". I don't remember the last time I didn't touch the fiddle for over 10 days. It feels great, I must say.
Apart from those joyful happenings, I had fun meeting up with people - Musica Viva Australia as well as the Competition's Artistic Adviser Dene Olding. I gave a small masterclass at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music for some of my old teacher's high school students, did a radio and magazine interview, went to the physio and I spent a substantial part of the day just sitting at the computer dealing with my inbox. I went to the hairdresser's (finally!), did a photo shoot for Michael Hill International, watched a lot of movies, did more physio...and had a lot of sleep.
Life's looking pretty full at the moment, which is good because I'm leaving Sydney feeling slightly more recuperated than I have been for the past three or four years.
I'm in Italy for most of July as a guest musician at the first edition of the Montecastelli Chamber Music Festival, where I will also have the honour of playing with two members of the Hagen Quartet (this is a dream come true!). After that I'll be staying there for an intense rehearsal phase with my own chamber group (the Boccherini String Trio) as we have a lot of travelling, coaching and concerts throughout Europe until the end of 2015, as well as a lot planned for 2016. We're a fairly new group (formed in 2014) but have good hopes, now backed up with some of the greatest teachers we could hope for - it'll be exciting and a huge learning curve.
Adding to this, another of my goals for the next months is applying for certain grants, hopefully furthering my chances in the solo arena.
Winning the Michael Hill has already opened up some concert opportunities, which I am very happy about. In an extremely competitive world where a steadily increasing, and already enormous, group of greatly talented young individuals are struggling to secure one recital opportunity, I know that I must take this opportunity as a blessing.
I will of course be learning the new repertoire for next year's tour (I have a program in mind, full of things that I haven't played and that are devilishly hard). That will take up a considerable amount of time. Re-learning the Beethoven Concerto for the performance with the APO will also be a highlight - I've never played it with an orchestra and it has always been my dream to do so.
Finally, I go back to University. I have two further years of artist diploma studies (Konzertexamen) with my wonderful teacher, Antje Weithaas and I still have a lot to learn.
In short, I want to keep on doing what I was doing, plus a little more. Being true to who I am and doing what I enjoy, continuing to do a variety of things so as to keep my mind open, and to keep on learning!