Adelaidean - News from the University of Adelaide The University of Adelaide Australia
December 2007 Issue
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Cellist ends year on a high note


Talented cellist Louise McKay has capped off her final year at the University's Elder Conservatorium of Music with a $1200 prize-winning performance of Tchaikovsky's Pezzo Capriccioso at the Allans Classical Music Awards in November.

The 21-year-old soloist held off stiff competition from flautist Anouvong Liensavanh, guitarist Jody Fisher and clarinet player Amanda Lovelock to take out the annual competition finale for the Friday Lunch Hour Concert Series.

The performance rounds off another outstanding year for Louise, who has won a string of awards in 2007. She was awarded a Fellowship with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra this year and also named an Emerging Artist with the world-class Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO).

Under the ACO Fellowship, Louise has been mentored by core players over the past year and performed in a number of tours and concerts within Australia.

"It's an incredible orchestra with an outstanding reputation," Louise said.

"The energy they create in a performance is really special and it's been a privilege to be part of the ACO, even for a relatively short period."

In July, Louise was invited to attend the summer school "Ferme de Villefavard" in France where she studied intensively with Michel Strauss, cello professor at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris. On the same trip, she had masterclasses with Tamas Varga (Vienna Philharmonic) and Robert Nagy (Principal Solo Cellist of the Vienna Philharmonic) in Salzburg.

This followed on from a 2006 visit to Europe as one of 50 cellists worldwide selected to compete in the Prague Spring International Music Competition.

In August 2007 Louise won the $10,000 first prize in the prestigious Geelong Advertiser Costa Scholarship, a national music competition open to solo instrumental performers between 16 and 23 years of age.

Shortly after she followed up with a Helpmann Academy Award for her performance at a Roaring '20s night at the Colonel Light Hotel in Adelaide.

Last month, Louise was also named a 2007 Minter Ellison Rising Star, awarded each year by the Asia Pacific law firm's South Australian office to a female emerging artist in the State. One award is presented annually to each arts stream - visual art, dance, drama and music - and Louise took out the latter prize.

The next 12 months holds the promise of more travel and exposure to international artists. Louise has been accepted into the National Academy of Music in Melbourne for the first half of 2008, beyond which she hopes to secure a European or US scholarship.

"The tuition I have received overseas has really brought home to me the importance of learning from the best cellists in the world, most of who are based in Europe. That's my dream - to travel the world and keep learning from the masters," she said.

Story by Candy Gibson

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Outstanding student cellist Louise McKay
Photo by Brenton Edwards

Outstanding student cellist Louise McKay
Photo by Brenton Edwards

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