Violinist Jasmine Middleton is the first student to undertake UWA’s new postgraduate course, Master of Orchestral Performance.
Delivered by WASO and the UWA Conservatorium of Music, this unique program offers mentorship by a WASO musician and places students at the heart of a professional orchestral environment.
We caught up with Jasmine to see how she has found the course so far.
Can you tell us about your musical journey?
Violin has always been a central part of my life. At the end of high school I decided to try to make it a career. Going to the UWA Conservatorium of Music for undergraduate study was daunting at first, however I had finally found a community of like-minded people and was surrounded by supportive and inspiring mentors.
During that time I was Concertmaster of the UWA Symphony Orchestra, alongside playing in the WA Charity Orchestra, St Georges Chamber Orchestra, WAYO and several chamber music ensembles.
Participating in the Australian Youth Orchestra National Music Camps was a particularly affirming experience for me, as I knew for sure that working in an orchestra was what I was passionate about.
Do you remember your first WASO experience?
I think my first WASO concert was a school excursion to a Morning Symphony with Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Funnily enough, we played this same piece in the first concert of my Masters program this year!
Your mentor for the program is WASO Principal 1st Violin Graeme Norris. How have you found the mentoring process so far?
Graeme’s awesome! We’ve been doing audition preparation and it’s been invaluable gaining an insight into aspects of being an orchestral musician. I have found it especially helpful being able to workshop repertoire with Graeme before rehearsals — not to mention getting secret tips and tricks!
What does it mean to you to be the first student undertaking this new UWA Masters program?
There really is no better way to learn and improve than to gain experience in a professional environment, and this program closes that gap between being a student graduate and a working professional musician.
The flexibility within the program has been great, it’s given me the ability to provide feedback and tailor the program to suit my goals.
What involvement have you had so far with WASO’s community programs?
Recently I played a couple of schools shows, including some new Folk Quartet shows at WASO’s Crescendo schools. This was a completely different experience to the main stage performances I had done previously, and it was so rewarding to see the kids enjoying and engaging with music, especially because they would rarely get the chance otherwise. I’m looking forward to returning to these schools next month to help out with the classroom Crescendo programs.
What has been your biggest takeaway/learning experience of the course so far?
Being an orchestral musician is so much more than just preparing the music and performing on stage. It’s amazing the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes and the different hats musicians get to wear in contributing to WASO and the community.
Find out more about how WASO is developing emerging artists here.