After watching my older siblings progress in piano and violin, I asked my parents to send me to classes. One of the most vivid experiences happened when I was about seven. I played a simple piece called Prayer, which comprised of long notes. It was then I felt a strong connection to every note, like the bow was drawing out what my heart was singing.

Growing up, I didn’t make becoming a musician my goal. I went through phases of wanting to be different things; an astronaut, a dentist and a mathematician, to name a few. At one point, I dreamed of becoming an Olympian because I was a competitive figure skater. It wasn’t until my later years in Howick College that I decided to become a musician. While there, I was the concertmaster from my second year to my final year. This position gave me encouragement and recognition that I was good at playing the violin. I also got to experience another façade of music, as I was involved in musicals such as Blood Brothers, Wizard of Oz and Singing in the Rain.

With the support from my family, I took violin to university level. Studying at the University of Auckland was crucial in rebuilding my playing technique and led me to crave for more opportunities to improve my skills. Alongside my studies, I taught piano, violin and cello. Through giving lessons, I witnessed people of all ages achieve what they didn’t think possible. It gave me a glimpse into the power music has to change lives. After I graduated, my passion for violin brought me to study at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire under the tutelage of Caroline Pether and Oliver Willie, who inspired me and cultivated a greater sense of confidence in my playing.

Music for me is more than an art form. It is like a friend who accompanies you on the journey of life, of discovering. Through music, I learned more about who I am and how I can grow as a person. It allowed me to work in different environments and with different people. I am thrilled and cannot wait to embark on the journey with Southbank Sinfonia in 2020.

When I’m not playing music, I enjoy hiking, spending time out in nature and a good game of tennis or table tennis. And of course, food; one cannot go without good food.


Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Birmingham, UK

University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand

Quickfire Questions

Where’s your favourite place to listen to music and why?
In nature, sitting by a lake or on top of a hill. Being in these places takes me away from the busyness of this world, and allows me to appreciate the beauty of life and enter into the story in which the music depicts.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.
I was once the gold medallist for North Island Figure Skating Championship – Pre-primary Ladies division.

Doris is a member of the 2020-2021 fellowship.