Old Girl and former Perth College Music Scholarship student, Karen Matoba, has added another impressive accolade to her collection after winning the Vose Memorial Prize People’s Choice Award.
Awarded in memory of George Vose, the Vose Memorial Prize is one of the UWA Conservatorium of Music’s most prestigious prizes.
Karen was one of three young Vose soloists to take to the stage at the Perth Concert Hall last month alongside the UWA Orchestra and Symphonic Chorus, the UWA Choral Society and many impressive soloists and maestros.
With the voting described as “closer than it’s ever been”, Karen narrowly missed out on the 2020 Vose Memorial Prize but was recognised with the People’s Choice Award.
Since graduating Perth College in 2018 as Music Vice Captain, Karen has gone on to receive the Delano Scholarship and Flora Bunnings Prize for Chamber Music, and is currently in her second year studying a double major in Specialist Music at the UWA Conservatorium of Music.
She has performed with the WA Youth Orchestra, West Australian Youth Strings Orchestra and the Australian Youth Orchestra, including on an international tour around Europe and China in 2019.
Karen said she had exchanged her toy violin for a real one at the age of five and never looked back - adding that the Sibelius chose her all those years ago.
“As cliché as it sounds, as soon as I was given the Sibelius Violin Concerto, I felt like I really clicked with it,” she said.
“It’s so hard for me to explain how it makes me feel because the emotional impact it has on me is genuinely indescribable.”
Over the years, Karen has been involved in a variety of ensembles across the Perth music scene and learned from the likes of Pauline Groom, Hooi Tong Lee and Shaun Lee-Chen of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. She is currently under the tutelage of Semra Lee-Smith of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
Karen helped to shape the music scene at Perth College while she was at school, leading the Senior String and Symphony Orchestras, performing as part of the chorale and barbershop, and playing at many musicals, events and functions.
Karen said it had been a privilege to discover the magic of playing to a captivated audience.
“The stillness that the beginning of the piece can bring to the room is the most magical thing and is my absolute favourite,” she said.
“I love that every note has a purpose and I love the fact that the piece gives the soloist and the orchestra an equal chance to really shine.
“Playing and listening to this piece really takes me to another world and I hope I can make the audience experience this too!”