The Richard Pollett Memorial Award, established in 2011 to honour former AYO participant Richard Pollett’s memory, is an annual award that provides support and encouragement to young violinists who display outstanding personal and musical attributes. Liisa Pallandi, the 2013 Richard Pollett award recipient, has been a member of the Australian Youth Orchestra since 2004. We caught Liisa between travels to ask her four quick questions.

Black and white close-up photo of AYO violinist Liisa Pallandi.

How long were you a member of AYO? What are some of the programs you took part in?

I attended my first music camp in 2004 and I can vividly remember our first rehearsal of Romeo & Juliet by Prokofiev. The extremes of dynamic were absolutely electrifying! Since then I have been on other music camps, toured internationally with the orchestra in 2007, attended numerous Style Workshops and Chamber Music Camps, and was lucky enough to be Concertmaster of the orchestra in 2011.

Tell us about some specific highlights? 

Performing with Jean-Yves Thibaudet in the south of France in a wonderful outdoor space after a delicious pre-concert meal is definitely one of my fondest memories! Being mentored by members of the Takacs Quartet at the 2011 Chamber Music Camp (when AYO combined with the Musica Viva Festival) was another highlight.

Where has your music career taken you since AYO? Tell us about where you are, what you’re doing, and what the future holds.

Since my time in AYO I have largely been freelancing, which has taken me to the most diverse places! In the past year I’ve been to Denmark, Canada, America, Hong Kong, Scotland, England, and Slovenia, not to mention the numerous Australian cities and towns. Travel can be exhausting but I couldn’t ask for a more exciting and rewarding life. 

What does winning the 2013 Richard Pollett Memorial Award mean to you, as a young musician?

It really opens up my options. It’s often difficult to say no to paid work in order to travel or study, but this award gives me the freedom to do so. I’m planning to live in The Hague in Holland for a while, predominantly having lessons with Henk Guittart who I met in Banff earlier this year. I’ll also be travelling to meet other teachers and perform in concerts with some of the musicians I recently met at the Thy Chamber Music Festival (Denmark).

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