Spotlight on AYO staff – Rossy Yang joins the orchestra in her home country on the international tour.

AYO financial accountant Rossy Yang smiles at the camera in front of a wall of roses.

Meet Rossy Yang, AYO’s Financial Accountant.

Rossy has been a member of AYO staff for almost 10 years, making her the second longest serving member after our CEO! Rossy is originally from China, her Chinese name being Yunmiao Yang, but in Australia she goes by Rossy; a name inspired by her love of Formula 1 racing and her favourite motorcycle racer, Valentino Rossi.

Rossy has joined the orchestra on the AYO International Tour to help with Chinese phrases, and the ins and outs of her home country.

“It will be my first time joining the tour and it’s good to come with the orchestra to my home country. Hopefully I can help out a lot with the language part!”

Before coming to Australia, she was living in Shanghai studying a law degree, and spoke very little English.

“I lived in Shanghai for 20 years, then I came to Australia for my Masters of Accounting. I finished my Law degree for my undergraduate at Fudan University in Shanghai but it’s quite hard to be a lawyer overseas, particularly if you have a language barrier and are not a natural English speaker.

I came to work for the Australian Youth Orchestra just after I graduated from university in accounting –my first job was actually part-time in a child-care centre. It’s an interesting story, because just before I found this job I chatted with my mum about working for an arts organisation because you can go to concerts and events, and I thought it would be a nice working environment. I saw this job in the city and fortunately got the offer!”

Both of Rossy’s parents now live in Sydney, while the rest of her family still resides in Shanghai.

“My mum moved to Australia first while I was in high school, then my dad moved once he retired. We decided to move here for a few reasons. Australia is very different from China in terms of culture, the community and the politics. Australia isn’t so fast-paced and you have a lot more casual time; in China you work a lot of over-time as the attitudes and pressures are quite different. I also wanted to improve my English because I know how important it is in the current world.”

She travels back to China almost every year to see family and friends. Although it’s been over 10 years since she’s been to Beijing.

“I love Shanghai since it’s my hometown, it’s such a modern city, has a lot of good food. It’s also a very international place so a lot of foreigners live, work and study there. The musicians at AYO will experience some great historical sites in Beijing, and a big difference in culture.”

A black and white photo of the musicians of the Australian Youth Orchestra at the Great Wall in China during the 1979 tour.

Since the orchestra’s first visit to China in 1979, AYO has returned several times. With every performance AYO hopes to absorb and be inspired by China’s rich musical culture, and in return, to share a little of Australia’s love of music with audiences there.

“I think if young people see a concert by young musicians, and they are the same age, they might be inspired to do the same. They might even have an interest in doing a transfer program in Australia to play music after seeing an orchestra from overseas!”

China is a country that loves music, which Rossy believes will make the trip a very rewarding experience for the Australian Youth Orchestra.

“There’s a lot of music in China, lots of different types – pop music is very popular! A lot of parents send their children to learn classical music; around 80% of them learn an instrument, so there’s a lot of knowledge on music. There are also a lot of well-known musicians in China, like Li-Wei Qin, who was our Artist-in-Residence at AYO two years ago.

I think as time goes by, more and more people in China are enjoying going to classical music concerts, although the AYO musicians may find that the reactions from the audience are different. Beijing and Guangzhou, like most cities in China, have a strong musical culture. For AYO, visiting these places will be an unforgettable experience!”