Lucky vi­o­lin­ist Emily takes a bow

Teen prodigy and US schol­ar­ship win­ner will put on a show for the folks back home, writes Wil­liam Yeo­man

The West Australian - - ARTS -

Ned­lands vi­o­lin­ist Emily Le­ung, 19, knows she’s a lucky girl. At age 11 she took part in a mas­ter­class by Ru­dolf Koel­man, one of the great Jascha Heifetz’s last stu­dents. Eight years later she’s at In­di­ana Univer­sity as a Wells Scholar — the first over­seas re­cip­i­ent of the schol­ar­ship — study­ing with an­other for­mer Heifetz pupil, Mauri­cio Fuks, at the univer­sity’s Ja­cobs School of Mu­sic. But it’s not just about the mu­sic. “Com­ing out of a les­son (with Fuks) you feel the world has changed and you no­tice beauty ev­ery­where,” says Le­ung, who is per­form­ing Bruch’s Vi­olin Con­certo No. 1 with the Fre­man­tle Cham­ber Orches­tra next month. “Also, In­di­ana is such a won­der­ful learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment. My teacher and his wife call me their Aus­tralian daugh­ter, which stops my mum wor­ry­ing a lit­tle bit. And my fel­low stu­dents feel like fam­ily too. I do feel re­ally lucky.” Le­ung says the Bruch con­certo is spe­cial be­cause it’s so ro­man­tic and ex­pres­sive. “It’s also spe­cial for me per­son­ally be­cause it’s prob­a­bly the piece that con­vinced me I had to be a vi­o­lin­ist.” She’d been play­ing vi­olin from the age of seven but hear­ing the Bruch re­sulted in her go­ing, at the age of 10, from “re­luc­tant to trans­fixed”. She knew from that point on she just

had to per­form the con­certo one day. “Fi­nally I was con­vinced prac­tis­ing could be a plea­sure and not a pain,” she laughs. An­other im­por­tant fac­tor in Le­ung’s path to be­com­ing an ac­com­plished vi­o­lin­ist was meet­ing vi­o­lin­ist Karen Gomyo, who was then in Perth per­form­ing with WASO. “Karen has been a guid­ing light for me and I am so grate­ful that she has taken me un­der her wing,” she says. It was Gomyo who in­tro­duced Le­ung to Gomyo’s for­mer teacher, Fuks. “Her kind­ness and hu­mil­ity are in­cred­i­ble,” ac­knowl­edges Le­ung, who has also taken part in mas­ter­classes by, or had lessons with, Pin­chas Zuk­er­man, Alina Ibrag­i­mova, Tas­min Lit­tle and many oth­ers. Le­ung says the forth­com­ing con­certs, which also fea­ture Beethoven’s Leonore Over­ture and Men­delssohn’s “Scot­tish” sym­phony, will be her first in Perth af­ter study­ing abroad. “It gives me a chance to play for all of the peo­ple back home who have sup­ported me for so long, and have made this won­der­ful jour­ney pos­si­ble,” she says.

Emily Le­ung will per­form with the Fre­man­tle Cham­ber Orches­tra at 3pm on Satur­day, July 22 (Perth Town Hall) and at 3pm on Sun­day, July 23 (Fre­man­tle Town Hall).

Emily Le­ung

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