12 May 2015

John Keene (ON 2014) Awarded a Sydney Symphony Fellowship

John Keene has been playing the double bass since the age of seven, when in a string program at Wyvern, he was given the instrument to learn simply because he was the tallest in his year! Awarded an organ scholarship at Newington in 2013, he has since played organ on a regular basis at two churches in Sydney. Over years 11 and 12 he studied Higher Level Music in the IB, and he was awarded a grade 7 in Music and an overall score of 44/45 in the IB. Earlier this year he was selected for and participated in the Australian Youth Orchestra National Music Camp, and selected for the Australian Youth Orchestra seasons. He was also selected to play Mahler’s 9th Symphony with the Musician Project Orchestra, a newly formed orchestra performing stand-alone concerts.

Whilst at Newington he played bass in many of the ensembles, including orchestra, chamber strings, stage band and his own rock band, performed on the organ at many school functions, and was awarded Colours in 2013 and 2014 and the Derrick Bailey Memorial Prize for composition in 2014. He also won the senior concerto competition on piano in 2013. In late 2013 he was made  Johnstone House Captain and says “It was a role which I feel developed my character immensely and provided me with incredibly useful skills for my post-school activities.”

John says “my biggest achievement by far is being awarded the Sydney Symphony Fellowship towards the end of last year. I was the youngest person since the program’s inception in 2001 to be given this accolade. As part of the fellowship, I receive tutelage from Sydney Symphony musicians, intensive chamber music training, and the opportunity to play on a regular basis with the Sydney Symphony at the Sydney Opera House, an incredibly advantageous opportunity to pursue my career goals.  In ten years time I would like to be a principal double bassist with a high profile symphony orchestra, with some sort of conducting experience and education up my sleeve too. One of the best pieces of advice I have received is: pursue what you love – my passion for music and specifically orchestral playing has provided me with the motivation to become a better player every day, and it has been very rewarding so far.”

photo credit Keith Saunders 2015