Lyndon Pike interviews our current Kruger scholarship winner

The 2MBS Fine Music Sydney Stefan Kruger Scholarship supports young, outstanding individuals further their career in the field of classical music. This annual scholarship is made possible through the generous bequest of passionate music lover, Dr Stefan Kruger.

What are your career goals and how do you see the Kruger Scholarship helping you achieve them?
The scholarship opportunity has provided a fantastic framework for me to explore writing music at a much larger scale, and strengthen my commitment to the craft in refining compositional details and pursuing new forms of expression. I hope that my endeavours here will provide a solid foundation with which I can approach the writing of new works in the future.

What are some of the challenges you have faced in your musical journey and how have you overcome them?
I am grateful for my time at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, but as a performer, there were periods of time there which were difficult for me to endure. On the personal side of things. I think in the end, coming through necessitated developing a coherent philosophy on how music fitted into the wider spectrum of my life; how it is more than just work and one of those human endeavours that comes close to reaching the sublime. It wasn’t what music could do for me anymore, it was what I could do for music!

What advice would you give to other students who are interested in pursuing a career in music?
I think that to pursue music in any form as work would not be as tenable as viewing it as a mode of living, a way to think and experience the world from moment to moment, and which offers a means to escape beyond the everyday.

Be curious, and constantly seek to discover new ideas; read and listen widely, especially in areas outside of music, in science, philosophy, and literature to name but a few. All are laden with ideas of how to think and how to live, which in turn inform perspectives in musical expression. In a phrase coined by Ryan Holiday, paraphrased from the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, ‘The obstacle is the way’. If something seems difficult, it is probably the path worth pursuing; relish the journey in pursuing such goals, which in many ways is more meaningful than the destination reached.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of music?
I like reading!

What is your favourite piece of music and why?
I love music in general, so it is extremely hard to pick a favourite. If I must though, I will single out Mahler’s Symphony no 2 (Resurrection). The coda in the finale features a moment of sheer ecstasy, and is to me quite simply sublime.

What is your favourite quote about music and why?
I don’t think this quote needs much in the way of elaboration, from Aldous Huxley: “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music”.