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Student stories - Arts

Accolades come thick and fast for violin virtuoso

She’s only been learning the violin for 18 months, but ACG Parnell College’s Claire Wu is already amassing accolades and attention.

The talented Year 4 student has just won first place in her age group at the South Auckland Performing Arts Competition Society (SAPACS). Not only that, but she placed third in this year’s Rising Stars Berlin International Music Competition for her solo performance in the youth category.

“Competitions are a great way for me to push myself a little further and challenge myself,” says Claire (aged 8).

“I was surprised to do so well in the competitions and felt so lucky that the jury agreed with my musical viewpoint.”

But these weren’t Claire’s first violin awards – last year she also took out the Paganini Cup at the New Zealand Asia Pacific Musicians Association competition. It’s great recognition for a pursuit she is so passionate about.

“I love expressing my feelings through the violin, the music always brings me happiness. I also enjoy reading lots of fun stories from composers through their different scores.”

Claire practices four days a week and is currently working towards her Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) Grade 7 exam. ACG Parnell music teacher Drew Daldy has no doubt she’ll ace it, along with anything else she sets her mind to.

“Claire’s focus in class is testament to her growth as a well-rounded musician. In an often boisterous music classroom, being able to listen critically and respond is not only a tool for musicians, but for life,” says Drew.

But playing the violin isn’t Claire’s only creative outlet.

“I also love reading books and writing stories. When I grow up, I’d love to become an author.”

According to mum Rachel, ACG Parnell is already helping her get a step closer to her goals.

“ACG Parnell has taught Claire how to properly structure her writing and her writing skills have improved enormously,” says Rachel.

“She loves her time at school, the teachers are so kind and helpful, and all the children are very friendly.”

Claire’s submission video for the Rising Stars Grand Prix 2020, Berlin International Music Competition