Doris Kuo, 2021
Dr Elman Poole Music Fellow
“My NZUK Link scholarship with Southbank Sinfonia gave me a bigger vision of life and art, with the buzz, excitement and diversity that London brings”.
Doris started playing the violin at eight years old, following in the footsteps of her older siblings. She studied performance at the University of Auckland, gaining a Bachelor of Music with Honours, and completed a master’s degree at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Doris applied for the NZUK Link Scholarship to enable her to remain in the UK and pursue her professional career.
Doris described a typical week at Southbank Sinfonia (SBS) as intense, with three to four days of rehearsals, a concert, and workshops with schools. The fast pace taught Doris how the music world worked, requiring her to juggle competing priorities, including playing, teaching, preparation, and rehearsals.
Doris had many memorable moments at SBS, despite the disruption of the Covid pandemic. The first concert after lockdown was particularly special, as was the finale concert, when SBS played Dvořák’s New World Symphony. Other highlights included SBS concerts in Italy. Doris describes SBS as her family, and her home in London.
Doris is busy teaching, performing with orchestras in London, preparing for summer chamber music concerts, and writing and recording music. She is driven by making classical music more accessible to the wider community, from school children to those in their seventies. Doris sees herself returning to New Zealand, bringing back the skills and experiences she has gained, to work with communities back at home.