- Old Boys
BGS Old Boy James Tudball is embarking on the musical journey of a lifetime after accepting an offer to study at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Music.
He is completing a Master of Arts in Violin Performance, which is the flagship performance course. In another major coup, he has been awarded a highly sought-after World University Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship.
In 2023, there were more than 200 applications.
“I am always grateful for the wealth of opportunities I had at BGS to study music in all its richness and at such a high level,” James said.
“The Europe Tour in 2014 and singing at St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City is what prompted me to go down this career path in the first place.”
As he prepares to head to the United Kingdom in August, we asked him a few questions about his musical career so far.
What do you love about the violin?
Its versatility – the violin can do everything. It is the closest instrument to the human voice in terms of its expressive possibilities, and there are so many different sounds you can make with the instrument.
Where have you been studying more recently?
I completed a Bachelor of Music (Performance) and Graduate Certificate in Music (Performance) at the Queensland Conservatorium, at Griffith University, where I studied with the Concertmaster of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Natsuko Yoshimoto.
What did you love about the Music Program at BGS?
[I loved] how many opportunities there were to play and sing in so many different ensembles, explore different genres of music, perform at an incredibly high standard and do so at such a young age.
What 12-year-old gets to play Rach 2 in a high school symphony orchestra, or work with Richard Gill AO on two occasions, or tour Greece and Italy? It really was surreal as a young bloke. I always loved my violin lessons with Stephen Chin, who was my violin teacher for two years. We have some great memories together.
In such a competitive industry, what gave you the courage to chase music as a career?
I decided to pursue music when I was 15, which is quite late by classical music standards. I guess at the time it was a bit of naive optimism combined with the fact I was passionate about it. The Europe Tour in 2014 was hugely motivating for me, and I was also heavily inspired by superstar violinist BGS Old Boy Ray Chen.
I don’t mind the competition. In this career, it is not useful to compare yourself to others. It is best to focus on your own journey, and this is something I have needed to remind myself often. I believe success is inevitable, if you work hard, stay consistent and are smart about the work that you do.
What is your plan after the Royal Academy of London?
Upon graduating, I hope to work in London-based orchestras, then in performance, education and outreach in Australia to increase music accessibility in a sustained way in places with limited exposure. I’ve always been passionate about musical outreach and the ways we can advance the Australian music scene through performance and education.
Read more about the Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship: https://www.ramsaycentre.org/scholarships-courses/postgraduate-scholarships/2023-ramsay-postgraduate-scholars/
- In pursuit of excellence - feature