The Richard Pollett Memorial Award is given annually to provide support and encouragement to young violinists who display outstanding personal and musical qualities. Richard Pollett, a former AYO violinist, died tragically in 2011. This special grant was established by his family and close friends as a way of honouring his memory, and celebrating his success as a musician.

The 2016 recipient, Kyla Matsuura-Miller, was presented with the award at AYO’s 60th Anniversary Concert at the Sydney Town Hall. Receiving the award at such a significant occasion made it all the more memorable for Kyla, who took some time out to tell us about the experience.

2016 recipient of Richard Pollett Memorial award Kyla Matsuura-Miller pictured with Philip Pollett and Patricia Pollett.
2016 recipient of Richard Pollett Memorial award Kyla Matsuura-Miller (centre) pictured with Philip Pollett and Patricia Pollett.

So Kyla, how did it feel to be up on stage accepting the Richard Pollett award at the Sydney Town Hall?

Receiving the Richard Pollett award at AYO’s anniversary celebration was a positive and affirming experience. Apart from the rather ironic nerves of public speaking (which I’m sure many of my colleagues can relate to!) I was on a total high from the passionate and mature music making that had happened just moments previously. As a musician who is constantly on the move and creating music, it was a true privilege and pleasure to sit back and just enjoy.

You’ve been a part of the AYO community for some years now. Would you mind telling us a bit about your journey as a musician throughout this time?

I am forever indebted to AYO. It has had a direct and very clear influence on my journey, not only in my professional life but my personal life also. Through making music with my colleagues, I have learnt about the importance of communication, trust and leadership.                                                   

What does winning the Richard Pollett award mean to you?

Despite not knowing Richard, the effect of losing him was felt strongly within the community. It is a testimony to his warmth and humanity that this award has been put in place to encourage other young Australian violinists.

What can we expect to see from you in the near future?

At this point, I hope to use this generous award to assist me in further study overseas. This year I am excited to work in collaboration with the ACO in their Emerging Artists program and am very much looking forward to sharing music across rural Australia. I am also passionate about mental health awareness in the classical music community and am looking to advocate for more discussion to take place amongst my colleagues and society in general.

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