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The Importance of Nurturing Young Talent

All I’ve ever wanted to do was become a musician, and my name only reinforced that desire. St Cecilia is the Patron Saint of Music. I really had no choice!

From a young age, I was hothoused by excellent educators such as Bela de Csillery, a pupil of famous composers Hindemith and Kodaly. I was deeply motivated, practising for hours under my tutors’ encouragement and guidance.

When I was fifteen, I auditioned for and won a prestigious scholarship to the Purcell School in London.

“Those years set me on a path to professionalism, travelling through top-quality teaching and taking turns through daily interaction and competition with high-standard peers.”

It was an incredible experience to team up with other passionate young people and staff, all focused on deliberate practice and performance. Together, we were privileged to perform ensemble concerts in incredible venues like the Thomas Coram Foundation (where Handel worked), and The Purcell Room in South Bank, London, where we held chamber music concerts.

Celia plays the piano at age fifteen.

The years I spent immersed in a top-quality teaching environment and competing with high-standard peers set me on the path to professionalism. Through daily interaction and healthy competition, we cheered each other on, celebrating wins and eagerly following one another’s progress.

Despite receiving a scholarship, attending a high-standard London boarding school came with significant extra costs that extended beyond tuition fees. Namely, I needed a new oboe. Thankfully, a local trust fund stepped in and provided some funding, easing the financial burden for my family.

Even with this help and the scholarship, I know the fees took twenty years for the family to clear!

A Young Dancer’s Dream

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a young dancer is who undoubtedly one of Australia’s top emerging talents. Chloe Hurn, a 16-year-old South Australian and Ambassador for Friends of the Australian Ballet, is in the same position I once was in—having earned a direct entry placement into one of the world’s top dance institutions.

A large fundraising campaign will help Chloe achieve her placement at London’s Rambert Dance School. Of course, I empathise with her determination and excitement to improve.

“These connections enhance the shared experience many synesthetes enjoy, and it’s why I revel in supporting emerging talents.”

The result of cross-collaborative art forms is greater than the sum of its parts. The flowing arms of the dancer recall graceful paint strokes on a canvas, her grounded floorwork responding to our rhythm.

These connections enhance the shared sensory experiences many synesthetes enjoy.

This also reminds me of the synesthesia-inspired photographs created by emerging Indigenous photographer Finn Mellor and presented during our 2021 project, Metamorphosis. New energy too, is why I revel in supporting emerging talents.

16-year-old dancer, Chloe Hurn.

You can see Chloe Hurn in a very special concert with Trio Tarrawatta on May 17th at North Adelaide Baroque Hall. We look forward to seeing her visual and physical responses to our music, and to sharing this stunning space with the audience.

This concert will also honour the memory of my mother-in-law, Valda Craig, who understood the importance of nurturing young talent. If Chloe Hurn realises her dream of attending Rambert School, she will train with the best and brightest dancers in the world, ultimately becoming an extraordinary and distinctive artist.


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