Music has always been a passion for Jackie Wong, and it has continued to grow stronger and stronger since she left Melbourne Girls Grammar in 2018.
Since departing the red brick walls, Jackie has completed her Bachelor of Music at Melbourne University and has performed in ensembles and as a soloist. She is continuing her life-long journey of learning by completing an honours year in 2022, alongside her performing and teaching commitments.
On 2 April, Jackie performed as a guest soloist with the University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (UOMSO) at the Melbourne Recital Centre. She played a beautiful rendition of Korngold’s Violin Concerto for the audience, which included a large contingent of members from the MGGS community. We are sure it was a thrill for not only Jackie but also conductor Richard Davis and the UOMSO to have so much support.
The spotlight was on Jackie when she performed her solo with the UOMSO, but now it’s our turn to shine the light on her for our Alumnae Spotlight series.
Jackie dives into how her passion for music began, what inspires her, how she got the guest solo spot with the UOMSO and much more.
Tell us how you first got into music. What started your love for music? What instrument(s) did you pick up first?
I have always loved music from a young age. It was a school excursion to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at ABC Iwaki Auditorium, which sparked my interest in music. I began playing the piano when I was five, followed by the violin about half a year later, and I have loved both ever since.
How has music impacted your life?
I knew from a young age that I wanted to pursue music, and I feel very fortunate and grateful that my family has always been supportive of me. Music has given me the opportunity to be individual and expressive and to develop qualities such as discipline and the courage to perform at my best.
Music has given me the opportunity to be individual and expressive and to develop qualities such as discipline and the courage to perform at my best.
What artists inspire you? What impact do they have on your music?
I am deeply inspired by other artists – not only those working in classical music but also great writers and filmmakers. Observing the work of others has given me energy and motivation in my own music and inspiration to craft my own interpretations in my performances.
What have you been doing since leaving MGGS?
Since graduating from MGGS in 2018, I have completed my Bachelor of Music at The University of Melbourne. In between lockdowns, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some professional ensembles in live performances and recordings, including the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. In 2021, I also presented a solo recital at the Australian Digital Concert Hall. I was grateful to have many MGGS friends watching in person from Melbourne and online internationally! This year I am looking forward to performing and teaching more and to completing an honours year of study at the Conservatorium.
When were you asked to perform with the University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (UOMSO)? How did It make you feel to get this opportunity?
In 2020, I was named joint winner of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Concerto-Aria Competition. This was particularly special to me as the competition’s entire preparation and recording process was done during a lockdown. It gave me something to put my energy toward, and I was so pleased with the result! Part of the prize is a performance as a soloist with the University orchestra. I felt very fortunate and grateful for this opportunity, particularly after two years without any live performances. It has been very special, with many of my friends in the orchestra performing with me. Working with an ensemble has been a valuable experience, and I’ve discovered many new things, such as working with a conductor, gesturing, and interacting with other players.
Why would you encourage younger Grammarians to get into playing music?
Music is rewarding in many ways. Learning an instrument develops your self-discipline and the courage to perform and try something new. Playing with other musicians gives you the opportunity to work on leading, collaborating and communicating with others. Personally, I enjoy the tradition of classical music and exploring the history behind each piece of music. However, above all, regardless of instrument or genre, playing music allows you to be a part of a community and create something truly wonderful, which is hugely satisfying.
Learning an instrument develops your self-discipline and the courage to perform and try something new.
What advice do you have for young artists?
My advice for young artists is to always work hard and to also trust that everything good needs its time. It is important to be dedicated but also to understand when to step back, let go and give things time to mature.
How did you find the solo performance with the UOMSO, and what did you learn from the experience?
Performing the Korngold Violin Concerto with UOMSO was an incredibly special experience for me. I grew up listening to the Korngold, so to be able to perform it as a soloist with an orchestra was a dream come true. It was lovely to feel supported in rehearsals and on stage that evening with many friends playing alongside me. While I was the soloist, performing with an orchestra also very much felt like chamber music only on a larger scale, so it felt great to connect with everyone through music and share a happy energy on stage – we all had so much fun!
The Korngold is a challenging score for both soloist and the orchestra – it’s very textured and rhythmically intricate. I was lucky that I was able to work closely with the conductor before rehearsals began to communicate my interpretation and figure out how to make this possible with 70 other musicians! Working with an orchestra always requires some level of compromise, and this was something that I appreciated and learned along the way. It was a very rewarding experience; I felt so happy and comfortable on stage and look forward to doing it again soon!
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