Jim Wu (Concertmaster)
Peixi (Vivian) Chang
Hae Jean Byun (Sept. only)
Starting the violin at the age of 7, Jim has received tuition from various teachers, including Elizabeth Holowell, former senior lecturer in violin at the University of Auckland and Dimitri Atanassov, former concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Cremonese luthier. Jim has played with various groups, including the Auckland Youth Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra National Youth Orchestra, and Bach Musica NZ.
Jim has played in AYO since 2009 and has been the concertmaster for the past 6 years. In that time, he has been involved in two international tours to Europe, in 2011 and 2018, performing in various venues and festivals there, including the Festival of Young Artists Bayreuth and the Young Euro Classic Festival.
As a soloist, Jim performed with AYO in 2014 and 2019, playing Bruch’s Violin Concerto and the Butterfly Lovers concerto by He & Chen. He has also performed with Bach Musica NZ, playing Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe with Camille Wells. He is a holder of a LTCL from Trinity College London and is currently working as an acoustic engineer for Agile Engineering Consultants.
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.
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!
Darren is a Year 13 student who attends Massey High School. Over the years he has won many competitions, including the Tauranga Performing Arts Competition and the Te Awamutu Performing Arts Competition. Darren is a former member of the ensemble “treblemakers”. At school he is apart of the orchestra, chamber groups and jazz bands. He is currently studying violin with Stephen Larsen.
In his spare time, Darren also enjoys restoring violins and studying the art of fine violin making.
When Darren isn’t practicing or studying, he enjoys having a good old cup of tea, playing Scrabble, reading, eating fine food and hanging out with friends!
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.
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.
Daisy is a 14-year old student at Lynfield College. She has been playing the violin for seven years has recently picked up the trombone. Daisy has played in the Baylynn Youth Band, the Lynfield College Big Band and the Lynfield College Chamber Orchestra.
Her favourite violinists are Augustin Hadelich and Itzhak Perlman.
Sheena is studying under Stephen Larsen as a first year student at the University of Auckland and she started learning the violin at the age of 6.
In 2018 Sheena received her LTCL diploma with distinction. In 2020 she was the assistant concertmaster of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra and the concertmaster of the NZ Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra. That year she was also awarded the Platinum Award at the NZCT Chamber Music Contest and was a semifinalist in the National Concerto Contest. She also attended the Adam Summer School from 2020-2021.
Sheena looks forward to her first year in AYO.
Bryan started playing in AYO in 2017. He is studying towards his piano performance degree at the University of Auckland and hopes to further his study in violin performance thereafter. Bryan enjoys performing for people in the community and loves playing in (too many) orchestras as well as smaller chamber music ensembles.
Outside of music, he enjoys spending time with his aMAzing family and friends. Hobbies include becoming a potato at times and doing nothing. On other occasions, he has taken up a fondness of hiking and finding new InTerEstINg activities to experience in life! He also loves watching YouTube videos by pianist Tiffany Poon and keeping up to date with the latest TwoSetViolin videos.
Annabel has been playing the violin for 6 years. In 2019, she completed her ABRSM Grade 7 violin exam with Distinction and participated in the KBB Honours Orchestra. In early 2021 she will be doing the new ABRSM Grade 8 performance exam.
From 2016-2019 Annabel played with NSJO and in her last year with the orchestra, was the Associate Concertmaster. 2021 will be her first year in AYO and she’s super-excited!
In 2021 Annabel will be a Year 12 student at Carmel College, where she participates in the school orchestra and a chamber group. When not practicing violin or studying for school, she enjoys spending time with friends and family.
Michael Wai-Kit Tran is a 17 year old student born in New Zealand. He started playing the violin at 13 years old and has been passionate about playing music ever since.
Michael is also very passionate about composing music, in particular composing symphonic orchestrations.
Athena is in her first year at University of Auckland where she is studying for a BMus/BSc conjoint degree. She is majoring in classical performance on the violin and the trombone, 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 talking to others.
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.
Kelly is an Engineering Science graduate from the University of Auckland, and currently works as an analyst at Air New Zealand.
Being a part of AYO since 2017, some of her favourite memories include touring Europe with the orchestra, post rehearsal hangs at the local coffee shop and exchanging nerdy music jokes.
Outside of work and rehearsals, Kelly enjoys thrifting, reading and practicing martial arts.
Ollie is a Year 11 student at Western Springs College and this is his first year with the AYO.
His musical experience as a violinist started at th age of 6 and since then has progressed, allowing him to join school chamber groups and become a member of the Aotea YouthSymphony for a few years. Ollie also plays saxophone, with which he has joined his school’s jazz band and saxophone ensemble, as well as attending the Rodger Fox student jazz workshop in Wellington 2020.
Outside of music, Ollie enjoys badminton, volleyball and tennis, and if not out with friends then he will most likely be found at home with his kitten.
Ailis has been playing the violin since she was seven years old and is currently a Year 11 student at Lynfield College.
Her orchestral experience includes two years playing in the Aotea Youth Symphony Orchestra and participating in Chamber Orchestra and other chamber groups in school.
Joey is a Year 10 student at Auckland Grammar School. He has been playing the violin since the age of 10 and he is currently awaiting the result of his Grade 8 exam.
Recently, Joey has been gaining performance experiences in music by attending competitions within Auckland and joining the school orchestra. He joined AYO this year and is looking forward to the concerts which will be held in 2021.
Other than music, Joey competes in Dance Sports as a registered amateur. He also likes to read, watch films, and spend time with family and friends.
Jessie is in her fourth year at the University of Auckland, where she studies a BA/BMus conjoint degree in sociology, politics 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 since 2017, and has attend NZSQ’s Adam Chamber Music Summer School on a number of occasions. Additionally, her string quartet is a current APO Young Achiever ensemble.
When not playing viola or studying, Jessie enjoys teaching the piano, reading a wide range of literature (from fiction to critical theory), and getting involved in local politics.
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.
Hae Jean completed her Bachelors of Music specialising in Classical Performance in Viola at the University of Auckland in 2020. She will be commencing her Honours degree in 2021.
She is a passionate violist who transitioned from the violin in 2017. In the same year, she received the “Most Promising Award” and “Highly Commended” at the North Shore Performing Arts Society (NSPAS), as well as 1st place at the West Auckland Performing Arts Competition on (WAPAC).
She was also actively involved in numerous musical groups including NZSO National Youth Orchestra, Love and Peace Orchestra, as well as both Westlake Symphony Orchestra and Westlake Chamber Orchestra. She participated in the International Akaroa Music Festival from 2018 to 2019, and has learnt from world class musicians such as Charles Castleman.
Hae Jean returns to AYO in 2021, having last played in 2018 as Associate Principal Viola. She looks forward to playing the wonderful music among her colleagues.
In her spare time, Hae Jean enjoys attending Classical concerts, and listening to countless hours of Classical music, especially listening to ballet suites from Tchaikovsky, and reliving her childhood through them. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends, as well as making jewellery for her small jewellery business.
Phoebe has been involved with music since the age of 4. Back then, Piano was her favourite, but due to school workload, she had to stop learning it. Phoebe started learning the cello at the age of 12 and, having achieved Distinction in the grade exams, is currently working towards her ATCL exam in 2021. She also plays the Guzheng.
Outside of music, Phoebe is currently studying Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Auckland. She also loves sports or any other outdoor activities.
Cindy Huang, aged 17, is a Year 13 student at Saint Kentigern College. She has been playing the cello since Year 9 and has played Guzheng (an oriental instrument) for 5 years. Apart from playing instruments, she is also a passionate soprano singer in the college’s premier choir.
Although Cindy is planning to study Engineering in the university, she believes cello and singing have become part of her identity so she will not stop doing either.
She is new to AYO in 2021 so she really looks forward to the new musical experience.
Oliver is a Year 12 student at Selwyn College, and started playing bass in mid 2019.
Oliver was a finalist in the AYO concerto competition in 2020, winning an Outstanding Performance award. Oliver also played in the NZSO National Youth Orchestra in 2020.
2021 will mark Oliver’s second year in AYO, and outside of AYO Oliver plays in Manukau Symphony Orchestra, Opus Orchestra and the Afflatus Ensemble, with whom he will be playing a concerto this year.
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
George Guo (and Cor Anglais)
Olivia Littlejohn (and Bass Clarinet)
Sue Lynn Leong
Monica Dunn (Guest player, March)
Anna is a 1st year Flute student at the University of Auckland. She has been playing the flute for 12 years and obtained her Grade 10 certificate from the China Conservatory at age 10.
Growing up in Wellington, Isobel had numerous teachers before finding her current teacher, Dr Kirstin Eade, in 2015. That same year, Isobel achieved Grade 8 from Trinity College London with distinction. She then moved onto her ATCL qualification, gaining this in her final year of high school. During this time, Isobel played in the Wellington Youth Orchestra and was First Flute in the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Symphony Orchestra.
After high school, Isobel moved to Auckland to begin a medical degree. She is currently in her fourth year of the degree, with a placement at Auckland City Hospital. Isobel firmly believes the dedication and perseverance she developed while learning an instrument were pivotal in her entry to this competitive medical programme. She was co-president of the Medical and Health Sciences Student Symphony Orchestra last year and this year plans to play with the New Zealand Doctors Orchestra.
In her spare time, Isobel enjoys reading, running and scuba diving. She also loves classical music and often brings unwilling friends along to various concerts.
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.
George has been playing the oboe for 4 years. He began his learning with Felicity Than and has been learning from Martin Lee (Principal Cor Anglais of the APO) since April 2020.
George played in Aotea Youth Symphony in 2020 and has played with the North Shore Youth Symphonic Wind Band since 2017. He was awarded First Prize in the Open Category of the NZ Double Reed Society’s 2019 competition.
George is very excited to be part of the AYO community. He will be studying for a conjoint degree in Commerce and Music this year at the University of Auckland.
Hannah has been learning the oboe for eight years and has achieved Grade 8 with Distinction. She began lessons with Alison Jepson at Diocesan School for Girls and currently learns from Bede Hanley, Principal Oboe of the APO.
At school, Hannah was a very active member in music groups, playing in the symphony orchestra, concert band, show orchestra and chamber music, as well as playing the saxophone in the jazz band. She competed in the KBB Music Competition for five years, winning multiple gold awards.
Hannah enjoys being a part of the double reed community in New Zealand.
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.
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
This is Sue Lynn’s second year in AYO! After the crazy year that was 2020, she’s excited to continue meeting people, learning and making amazing music as a part of the AYO community!
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 second 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.
Fergus Dunlop (not March)
Hamish Butterworth-Snell (not March)
Amy Laithwaite (not March)
Catherine Chang (celeste)
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.
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.
Fergus has been learning the French Horn from David Kay for six years. He is a Year 13 student at Westlake Boys High School where he plays in the Westlake Symphony and Concert Band, and sings in the Westlake choirs.
Fergus enjoys stand up paddle boarding and competes frequently.
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.
Ella has played the French horn for five years and is completing her grade 8 exam this year after achieving grade 7 with distinction in 2020.
She is principal horn at Diocesan School for Girls and plays in the school’s award winning Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, Jazz Band and two chamber groups. She is also playing horn in this year’s school production of Les Misérables.
She taught French horn, cello and keyboard at Papakura Music School for two years and this year she is teaching the horn privately.
This is her first year in AYO and she is very excited to be part of the group!
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.
Tavite has been playing the trombone for 10 years. 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.
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.