Lauren Bennett, 1st violin of the string quartet Geist (NZCT Chamber Music Contest winners 2011 and 2012) is back in Auckland from Yale University, volunteering at the Auckland District Rounds. She was happy to share some thoughts and aspirations between her stage-hand duties.
"I'm really enjoying volunteering for the Auckland Contest as stage-hand, because the Chamber Music Contest was the highlight of my high school years, and I am happy to be able to give back to the contest. I took part in this contest for four years and each year the contest was one of the focal points of my musical year. It really motivated me and helped me learn to solve problems and work with my friends, a skill which is really important in the music business. My quartet Geist was lucky enough to win the contest in 2011 and 2012, and we explored some really great repertoire and had a lot of fun working towards performances and the contest.
For students who want to pursue music as a career, I would recommend finding a teacher who inspires you and can help you to reach your goals, like my main teachers in Auckland - Dimitri Atanassov and Andrew Beer. It’s also important to find as many opportunities as possible to perform and challenge yourself, and chamber music is a really great way to do this.
Now I’m doing a Master of Music at the Yale University School of Music, but first I did my Bachelor degree at the University of Auckland. My path getting to Yale included a few overseas trips participating in various masterclass courses and competitions to see what kind of environment I wanted to aim at for further study. Eventually I did an audition trip in the United States auditioning for about 7 schools.
I am very grateful to the Butland Music Scholarship, the Anne Bellam Scholarship, the Kathleen Mary Reardon Travelling Scholarship in Music, and AIMES for their support of my overseas study."