During the month of January, eight orchestral students from Sydney Conservatorium of Music travelled to Chengdu to play with the renowned Sichuan Symphony Orchestra with conductor Darrell Ang.
“As part of the University of Sydney’s global mobility program, we are very excited to start a new partnership with the Sichuan Symphony Orchestra in 2019, sending these select Conservatorium students on a cultural exchange to Chengdu.”
“The opportunity to perform with a professional orchestra in China will create life-long musical connections for our students and prepare them for life beyond the Conservatorium," said Jacqui Smith, Strategic Relationships Manager, Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
The experience so far has challenged students, whilst also offering a different perspective. “I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the diverse range of musicians within Sichuan Symphony Orchestra. Playing such challenging repertoire in a professional environment has been valuable as it has encouraged my growth as a musician and has improved my orchestral playing. Most importantly, everyone has had a unique perspective which has enriched my musical experience as it has allowed me to consider and understand repertoire in completely new ways,” said double bass student Emma Trivett.
“I’ve personally enjoyed playing with their flute section, led by principal flutist Jasper Goh. We have only been here under two weeks and in rehearsal covered repertoire ranging from Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, Shostakovich 10th Symphony, to Brahms’ 4th Symphony,” said student Chloe Chung.
The overseas experience also included Chinese language lessons and sightseeing opportunities in Chengdu. “As part of the experience we have immersed ourselves in the traditional cultures of the Sichuan province. We have thoroughly enjoyed our spicy ‘hotpot’ meals, teahouse operas and listening to the Sichuan Beauty and Melody orchestra.”
“Another highlight for us is having the chance to meet people who have come from all over the world to play in the Orchestra. There are permanent members from Singapore, Thailand, America, New Zealand and Turkey. The orchestra truly welcomes all nationalities,” said trumpet student Sam Thompson.
The Artistic Director and Chief Conductor, Darrell Ang, said it is rare that music and friendships come together so quickly and easily, as it did when the Sydney students first arrived. "I’m so happy they are here in Chengdu to share the magic and the thrill of music-making with us: thank you, Sydney, and we welcome you with open arms and hearts to Sichuan!"
The Sichuan Symphony Orchestra covered students' meals, accommodation and local transport. To assist in covering airfares, a Vice-Chancellor’s Global Mobility Scholarship of $1000 was allocated to each student.