This World Music Day, we ask AYO student Sunga Lee what it’s like to study at one of the most prestigious music schools.

21 June 2018

What made you want a career in music?
Music is something that has always been a part of my life. I started playing piano since I was five and the horn since I was 10. It gave me a sense of identity and accomplishment. It never failed to uplift and unite people. I wanted to continue to create these kinds of experiences with people and decided to pursue it as a career.

What is your favourite type of music to play?
I really love playing grand romantic orchestral works. When you work with your peers to breathe life into such beautiful, rich music, it’s somewhat like climbing a mountain. The training, the teamwork, the journey. The goal, the reward, and the unforgettable experience. Everyone comes off the stage with smiles across their faces and shakes hands. The feeling of “we’ve done it!” is so rewarding, knowing that we’ve carried each other through this journey of a piece.


Why did you want to study at AYO?
AYO was always of appeal to me because it provides outstanding student musicians with the opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Not only does AYO connect musicians from all over the country, but it also allows the musicians to collaborate through challenging repertoire and work with some of the most renowned conductors. In addition to orchestral training, AYO offers chamber playing programs and, often, new music projects, which are valuable skillsets to acquire for any musician.


What are the most exciting opportunities you have been given while at AYO?
Every AYO experience is an exciting one, because each is different for the reasons above. This year, though, aside from being the principal horn of AYO, the most exciting opportunity for me is being the recipient of the Accenture Scholarship. Because of the scholarship, I have been able to invest in enhancing my career. I can participate in all of AYO’s programs for the year and go through with planning an international trip to receive lessons and further experience.


Where do you see yourself after you have finished studying?
After my studies in Australia, I plan to attain my Masters’ degree in Germany. After that, I look forward to a professional career as an orchestral musician there. When I’ve established myself as a musician, I’d love to come back to teach younger generations and to promote classical music culture in Australia.


What is your advice for those wanting to be part of the music industry?
My advice is to stay humble and strong. It can be very easy to develop a strong ego, but you have to remind yourself that you’re still learning and anyone could teach you something new. On the other hand, it can get very exhausting and challenging to keep your head up and continue to let yourself grow. It’s important to look beyond the present and work harder now for an easier later.


What’s your favourite song/band?
My favourite song at the moment is When You Want to Love by Tom Misch. It’s my go-to feel good song.


2018 marks 70 years of the Australian Youth Orchestra National Music Camp. The AYO is one of Australia’s eight elite performing arts training organisations, proudly supported by the Australian Government for more than 30 years.


For more information