Alice YANG

Orchestra fellow

About This Project

As a member of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) Fellowship, I experience many ‘pinch yourself’ moments. But nothing has quite compared to performing in China, my country of birth.


I was immediately filled with excitement when I was asked to return to Beijing to perform with the SSO on its fifth tour of China this year. I spent the first 10 years of my life in Tianjin, before my family moved to Melbourne.


My Mum flew over to Beijing to watch us perform at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA); she couldn’t miss seeing me play in one of the most prestigious venues in China!


Ahead of the concert I ventured into the gardens of the NCPA when a little girl came up to me, fascinated by my strange blue case. When I produced my horn, this adorable little girl stared at it without a word as I attached the bell to the body. She had this intrigued look on her face and I knew that’s what I would have looked like when I first saw the instrument. Gradually, she became more comfortable with the horn and asked me to play something for her. “What is it called?” she asked. I taught her its name in Mandarin and English.


When I was growing up, it was rare for women to play brass instruments, and indeed I didn’t see my first horn up close until my family moved to Melbourne.


It’s exciting to see so many young Chinese musicians being exposed to visiting orchestras (the SSO did two days of masterclasses at Shanghai Orchestra Academy on this tour) helping to further inspire their artistry. While the little girl at the NCPA was only about three, I wanted her to remember the horn and know that, if she wanted, she could be a brass musician like me.


Alice Yang is Horn Fellow, Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

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