How I found my rhythm as a violinist

7 August 2023
In this edition of our Find Your Rhythm series, talented violinist Wendy Kong shares her career journey and the milestones that shaped her musical path.
Violinist Wendy Kong

Violinist Wendy Kong. Image: Jez Smith

Music has been a lifelong love for Wendy Kong. Since first picking up the violin at age six, Wendy has nurtured her craft, won a range of competitions and relished opportunities to perform with a variety of orchestras. While her passion for the violin was always clear, the path to pursue music as a career was not.

“Music has always been a big part of my life, but I wasn’t sure or aware of the possibilities,” recalls Wendy.

It was only after enrolling at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music that Wendy began to see the multitude of opportunities that lay before her.

Wendy completed a Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the Con, and while her degree focused on performance, it encompassed far more than instrumental training.

"Throughout my degree, I was exposed to a wide range of musical components,” Wendy explains.

“We had classes for harmony, aural, history, orchestral and ensemble studies, pedagogy, performance, and composition workshops, and of course instrumental lessons."

In addition to developing a comprehensive set of musical skills, studying at the Con also gave Wendy the opportunity to explore and expand her artistic boundaries. Joining the Modern Music Ensemble in her second year, Wendy was initially intimidated by the proposition of performing rhythmically complicated contemporary pieces.

"That semester pushed me way out of my comfort zone, but I am now so grateful that I did it because it really grew my confidence and taught me that you can do anything with perseverance and determination!" she shares.

Studying at the Con also gave Wendy the opportunity to travel and perform abroad. Encouraged by her violin teacher, Associate Professor Ole Bohn, Wendy participated in the FEMUSC Music Festival in Brazil during the third year of her degree. She found herself immersed in an inspiring musical environment, a turning point that solidified her commitment to her craft.

“That trip fully filled me with passion and motivation,” reflects Wendy.

“The environment there was just extraordinary - everyone’s love for music was genuinely moving.”

The Con also gave Wendy the opportunity to broaden her perspective on career options through industry experience. Undertaking an internship with the Opera Australia Orchestra gave Wendy an inside look at rehearsals, performances, and the audition process, deepening her understanding of what a career in performance could look like.

“Getting feedback from the professionals in the Orchestra was extremely helpful and such an insightful experience.” 

This well-rounded approach nurtured Wendy's growth as a musician, providing her with a solid foundation and a diverse set of skills that she now applies to her work with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, where she has performed as a tutti 2nd Violin for almost eight years.

One of her most cherished moments with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra was a European tour in 2018. Performing in renowned venues like the Berliner Philharmonie and Elbphilharmonie was an unforgettable experience, reaffirming Wendy's passion for music and the rewards of her dedication.

She eagerly anticipates the opportunity to perform alongside one of her childhood inspirations, Anne-Sophie Mutter, in an upcoming series of John Williams' works at the iconic Sydney Opera House.

“I've listened to her recordings growing up and it is just a dream come true sharing the stage and playing alongside her at the Sydney Opera House!”

Drawing from her own journey, Wendy offers valuable advice to current and future students of the Conservatorium. She emphasizes the importance of seizing every opportunity and being resilient in the face of challenges.

“Perform as much as you can and take every opportunity that presents itself because you never know what door it will open,” encourages Wendy.

“Always have an open mind, trust yourself and don’t give up!”

Ready to find your rhythm in music? Discover your study options.

Header image supplied by Sydney Symphony Orchestra

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