SSO enlists record number of musicians in the 2016 Fellowship

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has selected 16 of Australia’s best young classical musicians to participate in its 2016 Fellowship program.


SSO enlists record number of musicians in the 2016 Fellowship

It is the largest intake in the 15-year history of the internationally-renowned musician training program—last year 14 fellowships were awarded.

The 16 musicians, all aged under 30, were selected from hundreds of applicants across the country following two rounds of auditions. They will spend 12 months working intensively with the SSO, where they will gain the experience and training they need to secure positions in professional orchestras around the world.

The 2016 Fellows are:

  • Bridget O’Donnell, 23, violin (ACT)
  • Benjamin Tjoa, 25, violin (NSW)
  • Brett Yang, 23, violin (QLD)
  • Julia Doukakis, 22, viola (NSW)
  • Nathan Greentree, 22, viola (NSW)
  • HyungSuk Bae, 25, cello (NSW)
  • Bethan Lillicrap, 23, cello (NSW)
  • John Keene, 19, double bass, (NSW)
  • Stephanie Vici, 24, flute (NSW)
  • Joshua Oates, 23, oboe (SA)
  • Sandra Ismail, 22, clarinet (NSW)
  • Justin Sun, 22, bassoon (ACT)
  • Ben Messenger, 23, horn (QLD)
  • Daniel Henderson, 24, trumpet (WA)
  • Andrew Nissen, 28, trombone (NSW)
  • Hugh Tidy, 23 percussion (VIC)

The Fellowship is regarded as one of the world’s leading musician training programs, with more than 65 per cent of its alumni occupying positions in professional orchestras around the world; eight former Fellows hold positions in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

During their time with the SSO the Fellows will be mentored by Fellowship Artistic Director and SSO Principal Viola Roger Benedict, who said 2016 will be a great year for the program.

‘We have our biggest ever cohort of Fellows who are set to embark on what will be an incredible year,’ Benedict said.

‘They will play on the Sydney Opera House stage alongside their SSO mentors, perform chamber music with great artists like Pinchas Zukerman and James Ehnes, and tour regional NSW.

‘These different activities ensure that the Fellows play to the widest possible audience—in settings as diverse as a corporate boardroom to a maximum security prison. I can’t wait to share the journey with them.

‘By the end of the year each of these talented young musicians will be job-ready and capable of winning an audition in an orchestra like the SSO. But more importantly the Fellowship will enable them to be inspiring, imaginative and innovative artists who are able to transform lives through music,’ Benedict said.

Cellist Bethan Lillicrap, 23, was overwhelmed when she received the phone call from Roger Benedict telling her that she had been accepted into the 2016 Fellowship.

‘I really couldn’t believe it. It took about 24 hours for it to sink in and I’ve been pinching myself ever since,’ she said.

The program is maintained with support from Credit Suisse, The Ian Potter Foundation, the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts NSW and individual donors.

The 2016 Fellows will make their debut with violin virtuoso James Ehnes this Friday 19 February, 11am in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.

Read more about the 2016 Fellows here: