Emily Sun

Violin Teacher and International Performer

Emily’s Music Story

Emily grew up in a musical family in Sydney, Australia; her father was a composer and violin player, and her mother was a violin teacher.  It would be no surprise to find out therefore that Emily started at violin at early age, aged 3 years old. She also started learning the piano, about age 5.

Her violin teacher was a private teacher outside school, but her secondary school was strong on music.  Twice a year the school would perform at the Sydney Opera House.  As a teen, Emily shot to national fame after being featured in the acclaimed award-winning Australian documentary ‘Mrs Carey’s Concert’

At age 18, Emily made the move across the world to London, inspired by a particular violin teacher she wanted to be taught by at the Royal College of Music, and attracted by the fantastic central location of the Royal College of Music.  After her Masters at the Royal College and whilst living in London she also studied in Brussels, having lessons with a teacher based there.

A multi- international prize winner, Emily was awarded the Tagore Gold Medal from the Royal College of Music, presented to her by HRH Prince of Wales. She won the 2018 ABC Young Performer of the Year (Australia), and the 2016 Royal Overseas League Commonwealth Musician of the Year (UK), and international competition prizes at Brahms International Violin Competition (Austria), Yampolsky International Violin Competition (Russia), Bromsgrove International Music Competition (UK), and Lipizer International Violin Competition (Italy). She was a Young Concert Artist for the Tillett Trust, The Worshipful Company of Musicians and City Music Foundation.

Emily also has media presence as the ABC Artist-in-Residence, BBC Introducing Artist, with regular broadcast on Classic FM, BBC Three (UK), Kol Hamusica (Israel), WXQR (USA), and Musiq 3 (Belgium).

She currently teaches at the Royal College of Music in London, as well as privately, in addition to performing.  Emily is currently recording and focussing on French violin music, from composers like Debussy.

"I would describe myself as friendly, encouraging and firm; I want to draw out the best ability from my students"

What was the Royal College of Music like?

It is a brilliant place in the heart of London.  I now continue to teach there and it has been a very important part of my life.

Where would you suggest people buy a violin from?

If you are starting off playing violin, you can rent a good product at places like Stringers in London. There is a then a range of instruments to buy once you have committed to playing.

Beare’s London sell and auction amazing violins and run the “International Violin Society” where patrons who own violins can loan these out to musicians.  I play a 1760 Nicola Gagliano violin, kindly loaned to me through the Beare’s International Violin Society.

What age do you recommend starting to play the violin?

There is not a recommended age to start the violin and if your child starts at age 3 or 4, the teaching is quite different; it is more about learning music rather than the instrument specifically.  At a young age it can really help muscle memory and development, but slightly older children will be able to understand the music much better.

So, what are you like as a teacher?

I have over 10 years’ experience as a teacher and teach violin and piano, although violin is my main focus. It is important to find a teacher that you get along with, that suits you. I would describe myself as friendly, encouraging and firm; I want to draw out the best ability from my students.

I have loved the experience of teaching at the Royal College of Music, where I currently teach those who are already at an extremely high standard, as well as those attending the Junior department.   I do a wide variety of teaching outside of this privately.  This ranges from children wanting to reach a certain standard to play in a school orchestra, those wanting to get into music schools with scholarships or others who are complete beginners, to teaching Hugh Grant to mime playing violin for a movie!

What has been your career highlight to date?

 A highlight was performing at Buckingham Palace for Prince Charles as part of the Royal Gala Performance from the Royal College of Music.  I have also played alongside Maxim Vengerov which was amazing!

What violin piece would you recommend people listen to, to inspire them to play?

Tchaikovcky’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op.35


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