Born in Sydney, Yena began playing the violin at the age of six and in 2012, graduated with first-class honours from the Queensland Conservatorium. During her degree, Yena led several orchestras and was the recipient of major awards at the institution including the Paganini Prize, invitation to the Golden Key International Honour Society, Matilda Jane Aplin Violin Prize, Encounters Performance Scholarship and Griffith Award for Excellence. Yena then held a full
scholarship at the Australian National Academy of Music and received an Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship for a Research Masters at the University of Queensland. Yena recently participated in the New York University’s Winter Strings Conference.
In 2014, Yena was a freelance violinist with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and an Emerging Artist on the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Sinfonia Program (2012-2014). As a member of the Australian Youth Orchestra, Yena’s highlights include an international tour to Europe and China under the baton of Sir Mark Elder, a European tour with Christoph Eschenbach and Joshua Bell, concertmaster of National Music Camp and concertmaster of Australian Youth Orchestra Camerata Ensemble.
As a chamber musician, Yena has been invited to perform at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Bangalow Music Festival, Crossbows Chamber Festival, Musica Viva Festival and Melbourne Festival. She has performed in chamber concerts alongside Katherine Lockwood, Johannes Moser, Daniel Rowland and participated in orchestral projects led by Richard Tognetti and The Australian Chamber Orchestra.
Outside the classical realm, Yena has collaborated with touring artists such as Ricky Martin, Dami Im, The Veronicas, Boy & Bear, Mirusia, Katie Noonan and Bruce Springsteen. She has played at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, the Opening Ceremony of the British & Irish Lions Australian Tour, The Australian 50th Anniversary Gala in the presence of Australian PM Tony Abbott, the Commonwealth Bank CEO Awards Presentation Evening and as a session musician for television programs The Voice, X Factor, Australia’s Got Talent and Dancing With The Stars.
Yena’s place in Southbank Sinfonia is generously supported by Margaret Rodgers.
What do you love about classical music?
Classical music can disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. It has the power to deeply move the listener in a way that not all kinds of music can and I love that every single concert experience can a be a unique discovery for performer and listener alike.
What’s on your playlist right now?
My musical tastes vary widely and are often changing! I’d say my ideal playlist would start off with the beautiful third movement of Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2, transition to Ginette Neveu’s stunning recording of Chausson Poeme and end with Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht. My playlist, however, definitely wouldn’t be complete without some Bon Iver, Lana Del Rey, Sam Smith, Disclosure, Bondax, Tom Misch and Beyoncé to groove to!
Which people, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with and why?
Heston Blumenthal – because I love food, he loves food and I’d love to deconstruct what’s on the menu!
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – he is the author of my favourite book – Le Petit Prince. Obvious language barriers aside, I’d love to tell him that I’ve loved his book since I was old enough to read and find out what inspired him to write such a beautifully poetic novel.