Following outstanding performances, two groups from St Andrew’s College have made the National Finals Week of the NZCT Chamber Music Contest, and incredibly both groups feature one of the College’s most exceptional musicians, Samuel Jeon (Year 13), along with his talented sister, Christine (Year 10).
This year’s contest will mark the end of a remarkable journey for Samuel. He has been a semi-finalist or finalist every year he has been eligible to enter the competition, from 2017 to 2021. Moreover, he has reached the finals on two different instruments, violin in 2019 and piano in 2020.
Samuel says he is happy and relieved to have made it to finals weekend once more. “It is always exciting and rewarding for me, especially because of the recognition from the school. As a musician, it’s so much fun working with other talented musicians because it really amplifies your expressive voice on the instrument.”
Competing in the competition in two different groups is a lot of work, but he is used to it, he says. “Christine and I really have to be focused and control our stamina, so we don’t wear ourselves out every round.”
Samuel says the siblings are fortunate to have their aunty, Mijin Jeon, as their piano teacher and musical mentor. “She is a pianist herself and we would always join in when she would have her recitals. For us, chamber music started quite early because I played the violin, Christine played the cello, and my aunt played the piano. My dad and my grandma love to sing.”
Although Samuel is a talented pianist and violinist, piano is without doubt his favourite instrument, he says. “I love the sound of the piano a lot more as well as the physical touch of fingers on the keys. With piano, you can express multiple ideas and lines at the same time.”
He says he is grateful for the support of the St Andrew’s College community for his music. “St Andrew’s has truly been the most supportive community for our music and has given me the freedom to strive to be the best I can be. I love how whether I’m playing in the school orchestra, or working with students from other schools, the staff and the community have always supported and congratulated our achievements just the same.”
Earlier this year, Samuel passed the FTCL Diploma Examination, a Trinity College of London Performance Diploma which is the equivalent to a post graduate course recital at a conservatoire or university. He aspires to be a full-time musician in the future, preferably a concert pianist. “I have applied for many universities in New Zealand and overseas and I hope that COVID-19 will be over soon so that I can travel and study in Europe. There’s still a long way to go for my playing but I really want to enjoy the journey, wherever I end up.”
One of the College’s most exceptional musicians, Samuel Jeon (Year 13).