Three talented Grade 7 students from UNIS Hanoi have become members of the Vietnam Youth Orchestra this year! Sooa Lee, Jihong Min and Ophelia Schlager joined the orchestra after a series of high-stakes auditions, and in early March all three received the news their hard work had paid off.
Ophelia was successfully selected to play the harp, while Jihong and Sooa will both play their violins as members of the 84-person international orchestra. And they are all excited!
Ophelia,13, originally from Germany has been playing the harp since she was seven years old and enjoys learning new techniques on her 47-string instrument. A student at UNIS Hanoi for more than two years, Ophelia’s harp lessons take place via FaceTime with her Vienna-based harp instructor. Commenting on her recent admittance to the orchestra, Ophelia said, “I’m really happy to have the opportunity to be a part of an orchestra. Everyone at rehearsals has been very friendly and I’m looking forward to playing in front of a live audience in September.”
Sooa, 13, and Jihong, 13, are violinists whose mothers encouraged them to apply for places in the orchestra.
Sooa, who is Korean-American, says joining the orchestra is a great way for her to broaden her musical horizons. She added, “When I learned I’d got in, I was excited and immediately started preparing as much as I could.” Sooa is enjoying attending the rehearsals because of the support she’s been able to get from fellow musicians. Sooa thinks that playing music is a way to express her emotions without using words. “It’s really nice to be with like-minded musicians and talk about our music together” Sooa revealed.
Jihong, originally from South Korea, has been playing the violin since he was 10 years old. He practices the violin every day for an hour because it’s “fun” and he’s keen to hone his skills.
Remarking on joining the orchestra, Jihong said, “I’ve never been to an orchestra before so I wanted to try out just so I could experience it,” shares Jihong. He said his second audition was “nerve-wracking” and so when he learned he was invited to join the orchestra he felt triumphant. “At first I couldn’t believe it when I learned I’d been successful,” he said. “I immediately told my Mum and she took me out to eat to celebrate.” What’s more, Jihong admits he’s already learned so much by attending rehearsals and would “highly recommend” it to other musicians. He explained “Being part of an orchestra improves your listening skills and other communications skills such as knowing how to speak with people from other countries.”
About the Vietnam Youth Orchestra
Established in December 2021, the Vietnam Youth Orchestra, in collaboration with the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, aims to give young people aged 12-22 years old the opportunity to develop an appreciation of classical music. Each musician is grouped by the instruments they play and they rehearse with assigned instructors every Sunday. To learn more about the Vietnam Youth Orchestra, please visit their website.