UC celebrates music students' success

26 October 2011

The University of Canterbury School of Music and the Pettman Junior Academy of Music are celebrating some major student successes.

UC celebrates music students' success - Imported from Legacy News system

Todd Gibson-Cornish.

The University of Canterbury School of Music and the Pettman Junior Academy of Music are celebrating some major student successes.

Three students from the Academy and School – Hugh Roberts, Todd Gibson-Cornish and Catherine Kwak – have recently scooped some major international music prizes.

Hugh Roberts, a first-year music student studying flute with Tony Ferner and a Pettman Special Scholarship recipient, won the tertiary category prize in the New Zealand Woodwind Competition. He also placed second at the Australian flute festival and competition in Canberra.

Hugh said his win was “a very nice surprise”.

“When I walk onstage to do my performance I try not to think ‘right, I'm going to win this’ but rather ‘I'm going to do my best and have fun’. That way it's not too disappointing if I don't get anywhere, it's a pleasant surprise if I do, and I enjoy myself into the bargain.”

Hugh said both competitions required a lot of preparation, with the Australian competition involving an extensive repertoire list.

“It was quite a boost for me to get placed because it felt like a validation of my work.”

Hugh said he was “stoked” to place second in the Australian competition against students at much higher levels of study than himself.

The 19-year-old, who aspires to study flute in Europe one day and be a professional orchestral and solo flautist, said he owed a lot to the Academy and the Pettmans for his recent successes.

“Their support of school-aged musical children is invaluable in preparing them for a musical career.”

Todd Gibson-Cornish, who is studying bassoon with Selena Orwin, won the senior (under 30) section of the Australasian Double Reed Competition in Melbourne. The 16-year-old former Pettman academy student and now first-year STAR programme student also received the prize for best bassoonist and the prize for most promising bassoonist.

Todd said he was thrilled to win an international competition against much more senior competitors. 

“The competition was for double reed instruments – oboes and bassoons only – which meant you were being compared against like instruments as opposed to competitions open to any instrument, which I believe makes the win even more meaningful. In New Zealand it can be difficult to gauge your standard as there are so few bassoonists, so I now feel confident I am on the right track for a career as a bassoonist.”

The Burnside High School year 12 student, who is combining his high school studies with UC music courses in performance bassoon and chamber ensemble, said the experience gained from being a Pettman student had been “invaluable” to his development as a musician.

“The performance opportunities, and master-classes in particular, have been very helpful.”  

Todd, who has been learning the bassoon since he was seven and is principal bassoon in the 2011 National Youth Orchestra, recently travelled with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra to Japan to perform concerts in Tokyo and Sendai during Asia Orchestra Week 2011 at the invitation of the Association of Japanese Symphony Orchestras and said it was an amazing experience.

“I especially enjoyed the concert in Sendai. I think it was very special with both orchestras having suffered as a result of an earthquake.”

Todd hopes to study full-time towards a Bachelor of Music at UC in 2012.

STAR programme and Pettman Special Scholarship recipient Catherine Kwak, who is studying cello with Edith Salzmann, received the special jury prize at the International Johannes Brahms Competition in Austria.  The competition has an age limit of 30 years, and 14-year-old Catherine excelled given that 69, many more senior, competitors attended from all over the world to participate in the cello section.

For further information contact:
Maria De Cort
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