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From AYO member to AYO Faculty

Anna Kwan (cello) AYO member: 1993 ~ 1995 Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra: 2001 ~ present AYO Faculty: 2016 ~ present

I remember how honored I felt when I got the acceptance letter for Asian Youth Orchestra 24 years ago, I was then 15 years old. I haven't had much intensive orchestral training before that but have certainly heard of how the AYO is comprised with all the top students from all over Asia. My brother Otto, was selected to be part of AYO the year before. I also auditioned for it but I was told that I was too young. I still remembered how he prepared for the rehearsal camp, it was Tchaikovsky's Symphony no. 6 and he listened to the cassette tape with the score over and over again and practiced diligently. This gave me an idea of how to prepare for my audition in year 1993, which I finally got in!

Out of the many laughters and tears of AYO, I would like to share an embarrassing moment I had. I remember we were playing the Shostakovich Festival Overture, there was a part thar the cellos share the melody with the French horn, the whole section were soaring out the best cello sound we could when my bow suddenly snapped! I was then young and inexperienced, shocked and didn't know what to do. Luckily it was the overture and I didn't have to wait too long til I could get off stage and fetch my extra bow. From then on, I learnt that I always have to prepare extra strings and check carefully if my cello and bow are in good condition before I perform.

AYO still remains the best summer music experience of my life. It's an eye opening experience musically, for maintaining a high level of playing consistantly, working with the highest level faculty, conductors and soloists from around the world and inspired by enthusiastic students from all over Asia. All these couldn't have worked without the heart of AYO, Mr Richard Pontzious, who has worked relentlessly since 1988, contributing to a few generations of young musicians throughout Asia. Thank you Mr Pontzious!!

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