Gifted Perse violinist set for national music finals

Sakura Fish (Upper Sixth) aims to add another string to her bow after reaching the national finals of the Rotary Young Musician competition in Manchester.

The Perse music scholar, who led the National Youth Orchestra’s second violin section last year, will be performing in the finals at Chetham’s School of Music on Sunday (23 April).

She is looking forward to taking part, having come through three stages of competition to make it to the Rotary finals.

Sakura said: “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind and I really didn’t expect to get this far, so I’m very excited about it.

“Chetham’s is a really nice and relatively new venue and although I’m ambitious, for me, it’s more about the enjoyment of playing.

“It will be a nice event and I think it will be more like a winners’ concert because we’ve all done well to get this far.”

Sakura’s journey to the national finals began with victory at the Saffron Walden Music Festival last November before winning the district finals in March, Cambridgeshire.

However, she admitted her appearance in the regional finals at Chelmsford Cathedral had been touch and go.

“I was ill that day, so I wasn’t sure whether I’d make it, but the adrenaline got me through,” said Sakura.

In each round she has performed two of her favourite works, Nigun from Bloch’s Baal Shem Suite and traditional Japanese folk song Sakura.

She said: “I stated learning the Bloch piece during lockdown and it’s quite dark, but there’s a hopefulness at the end and that’s why I really like playing it.

Sakura is really unusual because it uses a technique called left-hand pizzicato. You normally do pizzicato (plucking) with the right hand when you’re not using the bow.

“With this technique, you use the bow and pluck while you’re playing. It creates a sound that’s more like traditional Japanese instruments, such as the koto.

“The piece is special to me because it has my name and ‘sakura’ also translates into English as cherry blossom. The cherry blossom season is really important in Japan and although it’s quite a short season, this piece reflects and celebrates it.

“I feel because I’ve performed both pieces so many times I know them inside out and they’ve just become part of me.”


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