25 November 2010

Harry Ward (Photo by Dan White)
Harry Ward (Photo by Dan White)

Harry Ward travels the world playing classical music, but this weekend his trusty violin will turn to pop-rock - Michael Jackson, no less.

The 14-year-old virtuoso, a member of The Con's Rising Stars Open Academy program, is a feature guest artist at the 26th Schools Spectacular at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, and can't wait to "cut loose" along with some 3,000 student singers, dancers and musicians.

"I do my schooling via a distance learning program, and so am unattached to any secondary school, which means I have never had the chance to be part of this massive event in the past," comments Ward, of Sydney's North Shore.

"Making the cross-over to contemporary music is a big challenge but the rehearsals have been great fun and writing my own solo section for a Michael Jackson song is just super cool."

Ward will perform Jackson's Smooth Criminal, one of several major productions of this year's Spectacular, which is promoting the theme "Colour My World."

While surrounded by students in the brightest of costumes, Ward will be attired in his signature outfit of cloth cap, holey jeans, corduroy coat and Doc Martens, with opposing coloured socks.

The Year 8 student, who started studying violin in 2006 under the tutelage of Professor Peter Zhang, sees his appearance at the Spectacular as a pinnacle of an action-packed 2010.

Other highlights have included two concert tours to China; winning the Sydney Eisteddfod Concerto Competition; playing with esteemed pianist Gerard Willems at the Conservatorium Gala; performing Mozart with the Beecroft Symphony Orchestra; conducting a masterclass with the Australian String Quartet; playing first violin with the Porcellian Quartet, coached by Alice Waten; and performing solo at the Sydney Opera House and Hills Centre.

"The energy swirling through the Spectacular is just amazing; like nothing I've experienced before," comments Ward. "Everyone is just so powered up; you can't help but be impressed and inspired."

Next year's commitments are no less bustling for the livewire Ward.

In January he will return to China for concerts in Nanjing; in April he has been invited to play with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Michoacan in Mexico; and then in June it's off to Europe with the NSW Educations Arts Unit for multiple concert appearances.

But before packing his bags, Harry is hell bent on plenty of body surfing and backyard cricket with his three older musician brothers.

"We are all very proud of Harry for his ever improving abilities and the joy he brings to music performance," commented Dean and Principal, Professor Kim Walker. "As a formidable member of the Conservatorium Open Academy's Rising Stars team he inspires us all.

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 0758250e1c061c253b58171d2f3e73311631020440493711411d2825