Violinist Emily Su has taken out the overall prize at this year’s Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Concerto Competition. The 15-year-old Kambala Girls School student received $5,000 and will be engaged for a performance with the orchestra in its 2019 season following her performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto with KPO under the baton of Paul Terracini at The Concourse, Chatswood, on the weekend.

Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Concerto CompetitionEmily Su. Photo © Christopher Hayles

Cellist Lily Dai took out the Barbara Robinson Award for her performance of the Lalo Cello Concerto, while violist Daniel Lin won the Barbara Cran Award with the Walton Concerto. Violinist Sarah Chang won the KPO Players’ Award for her performance of Paganini’s First Violin Concerto.

Previous award winners of the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Concerto Competition include violinist Grace Clifford and Anna Da Silva Chen, cellist Benett Tsai, and pianist Simon Tedeschi, who was the junior winner in 1994.

“Performing in the finals concert of this competition is an experience many young Australian music students dream of,” Su told Limelight. “I have always aspired to one day perform the Sibelius Violin Concerto, and it was almost surreal preparing to not only perform my favourite concerto, but to do so with a full orchestral accompaniment expertly led by conductor Paul Terracini.”

Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Concerto CompetitionLily Dai, Sarah Chang, Emily Su, Paul Terracini, Daniel Lin, Alicia Poon, Milo Abrahams​​. Photo © Christopher Hayles

“KPO has supported the musical developments of many renowned soloists and I am truly honoured to be given similar performance opportunities as my musical inspirations,” she said. “Winning this competition with my favourite violin concerto was really a dream come true and an experience that will stay with me throughout my life.”

Su described performing the Sibelius with the KPO as exhilarating. “Waves of power and passion from the orchestra really drove my own playing, and to be enveloped in that strength and sound from a full symphony orchestra is an experience that I was fortunate enough to enjoy. I thank KPO and conductor Paul Terracini for supporting me on this exciting journey and joining with me to present a passionate performance of the exhilarating Sibelius concerto.”

For the young violinist, this is just the beginning. “I would like to continue performing to a wide range of audiences, sharing my emotions and stories through music,” she said. “There is still so much exciting repertoire to discover; I plan to find as many performance opportunities as possible and to continue expanding the maturity of my music making.”