Year 12 student Debbie King is having a remarkable year. An already accomplished violist, this determined young woman is prepared to do the groundwork to make her dream of becoming a professional chamber musician a reality.
Debbie King is having a remarkable year. An already accomplished violist, this determined young woman is prepared to do the groundwork to make her dream of becoming a professional chamber musician a reality.
“I don’t put in crazy hours just practising; instead I look out for opportunities to learn and grow my music.”
Debbie started the year as the youngest musician in the Auckland Youth Orchestra. This experience gave her the confidence to try out for (and receive) a place in the prestigious New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s National Mentoring Programme, and now, Debbie’s won an Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra (APO) Scholarship, giving her the chance to play in a professional concert, as well as mentoring from a senior APO member.
The Auckland Youth Orchestra is open to musicians aged 15-28 years old and aims to bridge the gap between school and professional orchestras.
Debbie cites her experience there as the seed that encouraged her to seek further opportunities. “I grew and learnt so much, and I wanted more.”
That ‘more’ came in the form of a place in the NZSO Mentoring Programme. As one of the 12 musicans selected nationwide for this mentorship, Debbie’s receiving one-on-one mentoring with the assistant sub-principal violist of the NZSO, Peter Barber, who has been a member of the New Zealand String Quartet, Amazon Trio and Nevine String Quartet.
Debbie recently had her first session with Peter, and is thrilled to be working with him; not only for the musical tuition he’ll provide, but also for the insight into the real life of a professional chamber musician, a career to which Debbie aspires.
“The mentorship is so wonderful, I’m learning things I’d never have been able to do alone. It’s stretching me and teaching me. It’s so exciting.”
Debbie’s also looking forward to playing in the professional realm, as part of the APO Scholarship. She loves the buzz of playing live in a big group, saying nothing else on earth is quite like it.
She’s fitting these musical achievements around her schoolwork, to which she’s committed, as well as playing in two Diocesan Chamber Music groups, both of which are competing in the national NZ Community Trust Chamber Music contest, with heats starting in June.
Diocesan School of Girls will be hosting the NZ Community Trust Chamber Music Regional Finals in July, and Debbie hopes at least one of her Chamber groups will get there.
The viola is Debbie’s passion. “I started playing the violin when I was five, but it wasn’t until I switched to the viola when I was 12 that I really found music.”
She hasn’t looked back. “It’s my calling” she says.