Dreams come true for violin prodigy

MIKE MATHER
Last updated 13:10 10/07/2014
Olivia Francis
SUPPLIED
OLIVIA FRANCIS: Heading to the Royal College of Music in London to study for a two-year Masters of Music degree. But she needs help

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Have violin, will travel.

And Hamilton's Olivia Francis soon will be travelling, all the way to London where she will be studying at one of the world's most prestigious music schools.

Francis said she began dreaming of London when she was about 13 years old and discovered the existence of the "royal schools" - four renowned music schools in the United Kingdom.

"In my mind, these were like castles in the sky, until I travelled to London to audition and the dream became a reality."

Now 22, she is preparing to begin studies at the Royal College of Music at the end of this month. She will be working towards achieving a Master of Performance, a two-year qualification which involves plenty of practising and performing in different situations, including solo, chamber music, and orchestral playing.

"I can't wait to be in London - not just to study but to experience life in such a groovy city," she said.

"The college is full of expert faculty and enthusiastic, dedicated students. I'm excited to be part of that community and to be a cultural ambassador for New Zealand as well."

The Hamiltonian, who now lives in Cambridge, has established a fundraising campaign through the boosted.org.nz website, which people can find under the description "Road to London - Royal College of Music". The funds donated will go towards her expenses for the year, including tuition fees, rent, food, and travel costs.

Francis has long been a musical prodigy. She started piano lessons when she was just four years old alongside her twin sister Gracie, and took up the violin three years later.

She recently graduated from Auckland University with a Bachelor of Music (First Class Honours), where I studied under top violinist Dimitri Atanassov for five years. "My violin teacher for the last five years, he has also been my mentor, guide, and often like a second dad to me."

People wanting to see and hear more of Francis' work can do so at vimeo.com/99563741.

She is also performing in a farewell concert on July 24 at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts at 7.30pm.

Entry is by donation.

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- Waikato

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