Jim Wu (Concertmaster)
Jim began studying the violin at the age of seven, and his teachers include Elizabeth Holowell, senior lecturer in violin at the University of Auckland, and Dimitri Atanassov, former concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. He has played with many ensembles and, as a member of the Moldau Quartet, reached the semi-finals of the NZCT Chamber Music Contest. He has also been a member of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra.
Jim joined the AYO in 2009, starting in the second violins. He has shown exceptional commitment to the orchestra, playing in all but one programme since then, including the 2011 tour to the Young Euro Classic Festival, and has gradually risen to the position of Concertmaster.
He performed as a soloist with the orchestra in 2014, playing Bruch’s Violin Concerto, and has performed with Bach Musica, playing Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe. He is a holder of an LTCL from Trinity College London and is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Engineering degree.
Zosia holds an LTCL Diploma with Distinction in Performance Violin and is excited to be joining the AYO for her first time in 2018. A Suzuki student at heart, she loves performance opportunities and sharing her love of music with others.
Zosia has performed as a soloist to the Governor General of New Zealand, to the St. John Ambulance Association at a formal Investiture Ceremony, at the St. Heliers Bay Festival in Auckland and is much in demand as both a soloist and ensemble musician for weddings and events. She is Concertmaster of the Baradene College Senior Orchestra, Senior Organ Scholar at Baradene College of the Sacred Heart, a Scholar of the Pettman National Junior Academy where she studies with Elizabeth Holowell, and the current Organ Scholar at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland.
Zosia is sought after by her peers as a sensitive piano accompanist, and also plays the Lever Harp (for fun!). As a violinist, Zosia is a regular participant in APO and NZSO opportunities, plays annually with the KBB Honours Orchestra, has played with the New Zealand Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra in Christchurch, and has been a member of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra since 2016. In her spare time, she delights in Shakespearean acting, swimming (especially during winter), and flying gliders as a Corporal with the Air Training Corps 40 Squadron. When she grows up, she will probably be an astronaut.
Kauri started learning the violin at the age of three, and attained her ATCL Diploma in Violin with distinction in 2015.
Her greatest achievement is getting the top Grade 8 exam mark in NZ in 2014. Her greatest regret is making a bet that she can go five years without eating Maccas – she has 4.7 years left…
Outside of AYO, you can find Kauri on campus studying very intensely towards her Biomedical Engineering degree, boogeying on the d-floor at your next Auckland City Scoundrels gig, petting non-yappy dogs, or eating carbs.
Sadie has been involved with music from a very young age, starting violin lessons with her Suzuki teacher grandmother. Being surrounded by a very musical family, she has developed an affection for music, and in particular the violin.
Sadie is currently in Year 11 at St Mary’s College, where she enjoys her role as a first violinist in the senior orchestra, and is also a member of the chamber orchestra. This will be her first year in AYO and she is looking forward to the challenges and learnings to come in 2019.
Sadie’s interests are sciences and digital design, she loves to travel and is an artist in her spare time.
Bryan is a Year 13 Westlake Boys High School student. He has learnt both piano and violin for 10 years, achieving grade 8 with Distinction in 2013.
He enjoys playing in musical groups very much as well as outdoor activities such as hiking with friends and family. Bryan looks forward to continuing his music studies at university.
Mana is a 17 year old violinist who attends Massey High School in West Auckland. She started learning the violin at age 7 through the Suzuki method with Simon Griffiths and Stacey Shuck.
This is Mana‘s 5th year playing in the AYO and is an AYO Player Representative. She has competed in the AYO Soloist Competition where she was an award winner for two consecutive years:- Most Promising (2017) and the Gem Section winner (2018). Mana placed 2nd at the Pacific International Music Competition in January 2020 (no first place was awarded).
Mana is also a part of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra where she is the principle of the 2nd violins in 2020. Mana was in the NZSO National Youth Orchestra’s 60th anniversary orchestra.
In 2019, when Mana was Year 12, she received the NZQA Music Scholarship. Next year, Mana is thinking about studying music at university.
Mana’s hobbies other than music include travelling, and visiting various cafes around Auckland.
Darren is a Year 12 student at Massey High school. He has won many competitions chamber groups and solos over the years which include Tauranga Performing Arts competition, NZCT National Chamber Contest, Te Awamutu Performing Arts Competition. At school, Darren is a part of the orchestra, chamber group and jazz bands.
Over the years, Darren has developed a strong interest in fine violin making from the great masters such as Stradivari, Guarneri, Gagliano etc… and plans to either be a violin restorer/luthier or a concert-violinist in the future.
Besides playing the violin, Darren loves to read, paint landscapes, hang out with friends and eat!
Martin is a student at University of Auckland and is beginning his Bachelor of Engineering conjoint with Music Performance(Violin) this year. He is a former student of Pakuranga College where he was house captain and concertmaster of the school orchestra.
Martin started learning the violin when he was around 7 and has achieved Grade 8 with Distinction. He also plays the piano and has completed his DipABRSM.
This is Martin’s second year as part of AYO and he is excited to continue working with others to create amazing music!
Jasper has been playing the violin for 7 years. He has passed ABRSM Grade 8 and hols a Trinity ACTL violin diploma. He has attained 2nd place in the Violin section in the West Auckland Performing Arts Conpetitions and 3rd place in the String solo section of the North Shore Performing Arts Competition. He also plays with the Mt Roskill Grammar school String Orchestra.
Bethany has been playing violin since she was 7. Now in year 12 at St Mary’s College in Ponsonby, this is Bethany’s second year with AYO. Having achieved distinction at ABRSM grade 8, Bethany is now working towards ATCL which she plans to complete this year. In addition to performing with the AYO, Bethany also plays with Senior Orchestra and Senior Chamber Orchestra at school and sings with the school’s chamber choir. More recently, Bethany has completed the second stage of Suzuki teacher training and is now sharing her knowledge and skills with young students.
Outside of her musical endeavours, Bethany is a keen climber, an avid reader and, when she has time, enjoys horse riding. More recently Bethany has taken up computing studies and is learning how to code.
Kenny Li is a student at the University of Auckland currently studying Computer Systems Engineering.
He started learning the violin at the age of 10 and has achieved ATCL. Kenny is also competent at the piano and trombone.
Outside of music, Kenny plays a variety of sports and enjoys cooking.
Gemma is an over-enthusiastic 20 year old in her third year of an Engineering Science degree at the University of Auckland. She chose this specialisation because it involves lots of maths and allows her to stay blessedly far away from building hot dog stick bridges and learning about concrete.
To balance the countless hours she spends staring at broken code and differential equations, Gemma is back for her third year in AYO, and is again one of the orchestra’s player representatives on AYO’s Executive Committee.
Gemma is also a member of the Auckland Youth Choir, a volunteer with the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, and an avid reader and talker.
Justin is a Year 11 student at Auckland Grammar School. He started playing the violin at the age of 6 with the Suzuki Music Program and achieved his Grade 8 exam in Nov 2019 with Distinction.
In recent years, Justin has been searching for more performance opportunities to gain experience. Starting with the school orchestra, he then played in his first chamber group, Parnell, in 2019. By joining AYO this year he is looking to gain even more performance experience.
Outside of music, Justin likes Rubik’s cubes, building models and playing sports.
Athena is in her first year at University of Auckland where she is studying for a BMus/BSc conjoint degree. She is majoring in violin, with trombone as second instrument, and specialising in psychology.
Athena started learning the violin at the age of 4 and has achieved ABRSM Grade 8. Before joining the AYO in 2019, she was part of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra in Hong Kong. She is also a pianist, accompanist and a trombonist, currently playing in St. Andrew’s Big Band.
Aside from music, Athena enjoys eating good food, listening to music, composing and socialising.
Erin has always had an innate love for music. She is a classical singer and also plays the harp, however it is the violin that fascinates her the most.
Erin plays the violin for AYO and the St. Mary’s College Senior Orchestra, and enjoys working as a luthier’s assistant at one of the fine luthier workshops in Auckland.
Apart from music, Erin dabbles in digital arts and is keenly interested in science.
A passion for music began when she was 3, begging her parents to let her learn to play violin…Tabitha is now a Year 10 student at St Mary’s College in Ponsonby and has been playing violin for 10 years. At school she plays in both senior orchestra and senior chamber orchestra and is a member of the senior chamber choir. She will also be competing at this year’s secondary school chamber music competition. Last year she gained a distinction in ABRSM Grade 8 and is now studying for Associate exams at Trinity College London.
When not playing violin, Tabitha enjoys running, swimming and orienteering and keeping herself physically fit…she is also a passionate advocate for environmental issues.
2020 is Tabitha’s first season with AYO and she is looking forward to the opportunities and challenges which come from playing with such an accomplished orchestra.
Kelly began studying violin at the age of 9, and has achieved Grade 8.
She is a recent graduate with an Engineering Science degree from the University of Auckland. To fuel her quarter life crisis travel plans, Kelly now works as an analyst with Air New Zealand.
Outside of work and rehearsals, you can find Kelly jamming to the sweet brass tunes of Auckland City Scoundrels or looking for cats for her #CatsofPonsonby series, which is growing in popularity by the day.
Jessie is in her second year at the University of Auckland, where she studies a BA/BMus conjoint degree in psychology and classical performance viola with Stephen Larsen.
Originally from Christchurch, Jessie joined AYO in mid-2018. She has played in the NZSO National Youth Orchestra for the 2017-2018 seasons, in the NZSQ Adam Chamber Music summer school, and in the finals of the NZCT Chamber Music Contest.
When not practising/studying/sleeping, Jessie enjoys finding new music to listen to, running in the Auckland Domain, and reading books that make her feel (falsely) intellectual.
Jasper is a Year 12 student at St Mary’s College. She has been playing the violin since the age of 6 and has been playing the viola since Year 8. Her experience includes being a part of the APPA for 5 years, attending the APO workshop for 5 years, Aotea Youth Symphony for 2 years and St Mary’s College orchestras. She also participated at the 2014 WAPAC and SAPAC and received an award for being the Most Promising Junior String Player. Jasper was accepted into the NZSO Mentoring Programme in 2017 and was mentored by violist Peter Barber.
Jasper enjoys skateboarding and skiing in her free time. She also loves going out with her family and friends.
John is new to AYO in 2019 and is looking forward to the musical opportunity and community it will provide. He is in his second year at the University of Auckland studying statistics and music composition degrees. He has played viola since 2013 and piano since 2005. Over the years John has enjoyed being a part of several orchestras, chamber groups and bands, including the Aotea Youth Symphony and the Dalewool Youth Brass Band. He has played several other instruments including violin and percussion.
John also enjoys photography, tramping in the New Zealand outdoors and spending time with friends.
Marcus Ho, aged 15, is in his third year at Kings College and has been learning cello for 8 years, currently learning under Edith Salzmann, attaining his Grade 8 certificate in 2015. He has also played the trombone for 5 years and enjoys playing jazz as a change of pace.
Marcus is involved with the Pettman National Junior Academy and greatly enjoys the many opportunities he is given to play music with others both in and outside of school in the various orchestras, bands and chamber groups. He was awarded junior musician of the year at Kings College in 2017 and the John Philip Sousa award for jazz. He also participated in the Akaroa Music Festival and is looking forward to his second year in AYO.
When he has spare time, Marcus enjoys listening to music, playing table tennis and gaming.
Inspired by her parents (who are both professional musicians), Phoebe began playing the cello when she was four years old, although the earliest photo of her playing the “cello” was when she was two, with a ukulele and a backscratcher! Phoebe completed her Grade 8 ABRSM exam in 2018 and will be sitting her Diploma ABRSM in 2020. She teaches both private students and cello classes at Marshall Laing Music School.
At the 2019 KBB Festival, Phoebe performed a solo, Jacqueline’s Tears by Offenbach, with the St Mary’s Orchestra. The orchestra consequently won the Chairman’s Command Performance chosen from 143 school ensembles and she was considered for the Outstanding Soloist award. This is Phoebe’s 3rd year with AYO and she believes that the friendships she has made and the musical challenges she has experienced have helped her to grow both as a person and a musician. She intends studying music at university in the future.
Gabby is a first year Bachelor of Engineering student hailing from Wellington, where she was playing for Wellington Youth Orchestra.
She holds an ATCL with distinction on the piano and a DipABRSM on the cello. Gabby was a cellist in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra for four years, and was the associate principal cellist in her last year.
In her free time Gabby plays the saxophone (very badly) and bakes chocolate chip cookies (very well).
In her second week of Year 9, Alicia showed up at her school music office asking for a cello scholarship. Then, after waiting a year for a place to open up, she found herself in love with the bass.
Since then, she’s reached an advanced level on the instrument, and received a number of opportunities, including playing with the KBB Honours Orchestra, and travelling to the Pacific Basin Music Festival in Hawaii with the Rangitoto Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra in 2016. In 2018, she received a Rangitoto College Arts Award for outstanding service to orchestra.
This year, Alicia will be starting a Bachelor of Music degree (pop performance), and is excited to be joining AYO for the first time.
Anna Kexin Zhang
Sue Lynn Leong
This is 17-year-old Jacob’s second year playing with AYO. He is an APO Young Achiever as well as NZSO Mentoring recipient for 2019. In 2018 Jacob won the AYO Soloist Competition with his performance of Mouquet’s La Flute De Pan, which he plays in the May concert series. In 2018 he was a Chamber Music New Zealand National Finalist winning a Joan Kerr Gold Award with his chamber group “Orbit”.
Jacob has played the flute for 9 years. His teacher is Melanie Lançon (APO) and his previous teachers include Eric Lamb, Catherine Bowie and Raewyn Donaldson. He has received additional individual lessons with Bridget Douglas (NZSO) and Kathryn Moorhead (APO). He achieved distinction for ABRSM Grade 8 flute in 2015.
Jacob was a Pettman National Junior Academy of Music Scholarship recipient from 2016-2018. Jacob attended masterclasses at the 2016 NZ Flute Fest with Uwe Grodd, where he also performed as a soloist. He attended the Akaroa music festival in 2017, placing 2nd in the solo competition for open instrumentalists. Jacob was section leader in both the Westlake Symphony Orchestra and Westlake Concert Band during his time at Westlake Boys High School. He has played in the APPA Festival Orchestra and APO Summer School Orchestra for two years. In 2014 he won the top prize in the APPA Knights Templar Competition culminating in a solo performance of Poulenc in the Auckland Town Hall.
Jacob hopes to become a professional flutist in the future, travelling around the world performing solos, doing chamber music and entering competitions.
Akari is originally from Japan but has lived in Auckland for 4 years. She is in her final year at Glendowie College.
She has played the oboe for 4 years. Akari’s passion for the oboe is because she loves the sound of it. She also plays in the Aotea Youth Symphony and the Auckland Wind Orchestra and played in the NZSSO in Christchurch this year. Last year she played in two chamber groups.
This year Akari is part of the NZSO Mentoring Programme. She plans to study oboe and music at university next year and hopes this will lead to a musical career.
A clarinettist, pianist and composer, Kiara is in her second year at The University of Auckland, majoring in music composition. She studies clarinet and piano under Rowan Meade and Bryan Sayer respectively and is also a member of the university’s Concert Band.
Kiara was awarded the Junior Bishop Music Prize for composition in 2018, and in 2017 she won the Nadine Levitt Scholarship as well as her school music competition (piano section) as a soloist. She was a scholar of the Pettman National Junior Academy of Music in 2016 and 2017 and has been involved in chamber and jazz ensembles.
Kiara is excited to be part of the AYO community. She will be studying orchestrations and conducting courses in 2019 to further her knowledge in ensemble writings. She believes that one day her works will be performed by the greatest musicians and orchestras in the world. Keep an eye out on her upcoming work for solo piano.
Gautam has been playing clarinet since the age of 9 and has completed Grade 8 with Distinction. He was principle clarinet of Westlake Symphony Orchestra and has taken part in many award-winning music groups, including Westlake Concert Band and choirs. Gautam really enjoys playing in AYO because of the challenging repertoire and high standard of music that is produced. He has also made a lot of friends and enjoys the tours and concerts. As well has being able to play the bass clarinet, Gautam and has learnt his own culture’s Carnatic tradition of music.
Gautam is currently studying a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Auckland. He is very enthusiastic about music and passionate about the outdoors, often going hiking with family and friends.
Olivia has been playing the clarinet for seven years and is excited to be a part of AYO this year. She attended Westlake Girls High School last year and was involved in the Westlake Concert Band and Orchestra.
Olivia moved to Auckland from the United States a year ago, and there she had been the principal clarinet player of the Savannah Arts Academy Mastery Band and Orchestra for three years, a member of the Clarinet Academy of America, and had been twice accepted into the Georgia All-State Band.
Olivia is currently studying Law and Classical Music at the University of Auckland. She is very passionate about the clarinet
After starting piano at a young age, Sue Lynn was introduced to the bassoon by her college music teacher. The school had just acquired a bassoon and her teacher encouraged her to ‘just give it a go’. Despite the struggle of having to explain what a bassoon is every once in awhile, she has loved the challenge of learning something new and has since played in various concert bands, production bands and chamber groups.
Sue Lynn is in her first year of a Bachelor of Science/Music conjoint at the University of Auckland, majoring in physics and music studies. Outside of music she loves sitting down with a good book and has aspirations to become a teacher.
Henry is currently a student at the University of Auckland in his second year of study, pursuing a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Commerce conjoint, learning from Nicola Baker. He was introduced to the horn midway throughout 2013, having previously been a viola player for a number of years, and quickly took to the instrument, achieving his ABRSM Grade 8 in 2017.
2019 marks Henry’s third year playing with AYO, having been a member of the touring orchestra last year. Further ensemble experience includes playing with the NZSO National Youth Orchestra last year, and being Principal Horn of the NZ Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra in 2016. He has played as a soloist with the Westlake Chamber Orchestra in 2017, and last year took part in the Gisborne International Music Competition.
Max is an 18 year old student who is attending University of Auckland this year for a french horn performance degree.
He has been playing the horn for round about 8 years now and has achieved grade 8 with Merit. Max is also involved with the New Zealand Youth Symphonic Winds this year.
Looking to the future, he wishes to improve his skills and eventually become a professional horn player.
Evan Metcalfe is 15 years old and in Year 11 at Saint Kentigern College. He has been playing French Horn for 7 years, has achieved Trinity Grade 8 and has been a member of the AYO for 4 years.
Last year he successfully auditioned for a place in the NZSSSO and achieved a place on the NZSO National Mentoring Programme. In 2019 he is working towards completing a musical Diploma, as well as being involved in many school music groups as the principal French Horn player.
Jake is in his fourth year at the University of Auckland, pursuing a conjoint degree in classical trumpet performance and computer science.
Jake’s interest in music began at the age of four, when his preschool teacher introduced him to the trumpet. Since then he has been involved in many musical groups both at university and in the wider community. He earned his ABRSM music performance diploma in trumpet in 2014, and his trombone performance diploma the year after.
In 2016, Jake played trumpet, cornet and flugelhorn in the Auckland Theatre Company’s production of Billy Elliot the Musical, and also performed with Josh Groban at Vector Arena as a featured trumpet soloist. More recently, Jake played trumpet in the 3rd and 4th seasons of shows at Auckland’s Pop-up Globe. He also performed the Haydn Trumpet Concerto with AYO in 2018 as part of their tour to Europe.
Amy is a Year 12 student at Baradene College, and this is her first year in AYO.
Amy started playing the trombone at 8 years old and achieved her grade 8 in 2018. Since starting the trombone, Amy has played in APPA concert band and festival orchestra, KBB Honours, Auckland Secondary Schools Big Band, New Zealand Youth Symphonic Winds as well as being first trombone in the Baradene and St Peters Orchestra and Baradene Concert Band. Amy has been Baradene College’s brass musician of the year since 2017 and won the Cosgrove Cup for senior jazz in 2018.
Amy is excited to be in AYO and is looking forward to playing the varied and challenging orchestral programme.
Lachlan began playing tuba in 2010 when he was just 10 and the instrument was almost the same size as he was! Seven years later he is now entering his final year at Auckland Grammar School, and he is planning to pursue music at university next year.
Alongside the AYO, he is involved with music groups at school as well as several chamber groups outside of school. Tuba may seem like an odd choice, but to Lachlan, forming the foundation of the brass section and thus the whole orchestra, is an incomparable experience which he adores. If you attend AYO concerts this year, give some thought to the guy down the back – he probably waited 82 bars for that low note.
Michael Cai is a 2nd year music student at the University of Auckland, studying piano under Stephen de Pledge and David Guerin. He has been learning his primary instrument, the piano, for over 13 years and percussion for over 11 years. In 2019 Michael received his piano LTCL with distinction and, in 2018, was placed 2nd in the piano category in the PACANZ competition in Palmerston North.
He learns percussion with Eric Renick of the APO and Ryan Carroll-Wattson of the Auckland Drum School. With percussion, Michael has participated in orchestras such as the NZSSSO, CYO and the Burnside High School Orchestra. He was also part of many jazz and band ensembles and pit orchestras for musicals during his time at Burnside High School.
Naomi is currently in her final year at Epsom Girls Grammar School, where she started Percussion at the beginning of 2016. She also actively plays Cello and Oboe which she began in 2015.
Despite her number of years on her instruments, she is a part of her school’s Symphonic Orchestra, Concert Bands and ensembles on each respective instrument. Last year she had the opportunity of playing in KBBMF’s Honours Orchestra percussion section, and early this year she was accepted into the APO Summer School where she received mentoring from APO percussionists & performed alongside them.
This is her first year in AYO and she is very much looking forward to it.
Tavite has been playing the trombone for 9 years but, this year in AYO, he is part of the percussion team! As a trombonist, he is involved in the Manukau Symphony Orchestra, Manukau Concert Band and New Zealand Youth Symphonic Winds. He is also an assistant at the Howick School of Music. He learns from AYO alumnus Paul Cho.
Tavite’s aspirations for the future are to study classical trombone at the University of Auckland and eventually become a music teacher.