On Friday 15 September, AYO and the Pollett family announced that Sydney-based violinist Daniel Shao is the recipient of the 2023 Richard Pollett Memorial Award. The Richard Pollett Memorial Award is given annually to young violinists who display outstanding personal and musical qualities. Richard Pollett was a gifted violinist who was part of the AYO community and graduated from the University of Queensland.
In 2011, Richard tragically passed away, and his family and close friends established the award with AYO to honour his memory and celebrate his achievements. Over the past eleven years the award has built a legacy of empowering young Australian violinists in the early stage of their careers.
Daniel Shao is currently completing his Bachelor of Music Performance at Sydney Conservatorium of Music. We spoke to Daniel on how it feels to receive this special award, and his plans for his musical future!
What is the most exciting thing about receiving the 2024 Richard Pollett Memorial Award?
The most exciting aspect of being chosen as this year’s recipient of the Richard Pollett Memorial Award is the precious opportunity to travel abroad and immerse myself in diverse musical forums. This experience is essential for the growth of any aspiring musician. I am deeply honoured to have been recognised for my positive contributions to AYO’s community. Spreading positivity, fostering optimism, and collaborating effectively with other musicians are essential qualities of a musician. I would also like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Professor Patricia Pollett and the Australian Youth Orchestra for their unwavering support of my education and career.
How do you plan to use the award as you pursue your musical career and studies?
My plan for utilising the Award involves embarking on a journey to Europe at the end of this year. During this trip, I intend to receive lessons from teachers to gain a deeper understanding of their teaching styles and establish a sense of compatibility. Germany and Austria are my primary destinations, but I am also exploring opportunities in the UK. I believe that these initial lessons with various teachers will not only enhance my musical skills but also help me determine the best approach for my playing.