Stepping up to concertmaster

Stepping up to concertmaster Victoria Chanwai

9 May 2018

It was the third year in a row that talented violinist Victoria Chanwai was selected for the New Zealand Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra (NZSSSO), but this year’s experience was particularly special for the Year 13 student.

Victoria, who was playing in a first violin position, was offered the position of joint concertmaster on the first day of orchestra training.

“I had no idea this was coming. My initial gut feeling was that I was not prepared for the job – why me, out of 32 other violinists.”

However Victoria decided to “step outside the comfort zone” and accept the challenge, going on to thoroughly enjoy the week that was filled with sectionals and full orchestra rehearsals. “It was a highly enriching week that culminated in two fantastic concerts.”

The 2018 NZSSSO programme was held at St Margaret’s College in Christchurch from April 23-24. The orchestra consisted of 99 students who had come from 41 schools around New Zealand.

This year’s conductor was Tianyi Lu, Assistant Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, who has conducting engagements in the UK, USA and the Netherlands.

The NZSSSO course is widely regarded as a significant training ground for young players aspiring to join the NZ Youth Orchestra and ultimately pursue careers as professional musicians.

It has been an annual highlight for Victoria these past three years. “It was an absolute honour to be the joint concertmaster in my final year with the orchestra.”

“I would recommend the programme to anyone who loves playing music. It is a great opportunity to network with other musicians from around the country.”