Accenture supports bright young star   

AYO’s Principal Sponsor and Digital Partner, Accenture, is committed to supporting young musicians to help them reach their goals, and deliver their greatest performances. The Accenture Scholarship provides financial support for the recipient to participate in AYO’s programs, and to pursue further study, travel, or instrument acquisition.

This year’s recipient is Jonathan Bekes, who lead his section in AYO’s February Season concerts, and joins us again as Principal Cello for AYO’s International Tour in July and August.

Jonathan started playing the cello at the age of 11, and quickly developed a love for the instrument. At the end of his schooling years, he’d already established himself as a musician to watch and in 2011 was selected for ENCORE, a showcase of the best performances for New South Wales’ HSC examinations. In the same year Jonathan got his first taste of AYO programs when he joined the AYO National Music Camp, and it wasn’t long until he became a familiar face at AYO performances.

In 2013, Jonathan joined the AYO’s Chamber Players program, played alongside members of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in a special collaboration, and joined AYO’s flagship orchestra on an international tour around Europe which took him to Germany, Australia, The Netherlands and Switzerland. Last year, Jonathan shone on stage in AYO’s Chamber Players concerts, and this year, he took part in his 6th AYO National Music Camp. 

‘AYO has connected me across Australia with peers and mentors; relationships that will remain for the rest of my life,’ explains Jonathan.  ‘AYO has provided me with invaluable learning opportunities and vital experience playing in orchestras, leading sections and working with my fellow colleagues, which will be essential in my professional life. Most importantly these experiences and opportunities have nurtured me as an artist and have expanded and developed my musical ideas: in essence, turning me into the musician that I am today.’

Jonathan completed his Bachelor of Music (Performance) at Sydney Conservatorium in 2014 where he worked with Julian Smiles, before commencing study at the Australian National Academy of Music under the guidance of Howard Penny. Alongside his studies, Jonathan is one of the core members of the Estivo Trio, which has performed at the International Chamber Music Competition in 2015, and in 2014 performed in Verona, Italy, as part of the inaugural Summer Chamber Music Festival. He’s performed as a soloist with the Sydney Youth Orchestra, the South Coast Orchestra and Fisher’s Ghost Youth Orchestra, and this year has been selected to perform with The Australian World Orchestra as part of their 2016 season.

This year, the Accenture Scholarship will allow Jonathan to participate in AYO’s programs, and finance the purchase of a new cello. ‘I have been in need of a new instrument for a long time and now that I’ve had the opportunity to purchase one it has opened up new possibilities for my cello performance,’ says Jonathan. ‘It brings new and incredible sounds but demands development of my technique to master the instrument. Working with this cello has taught me a lot about colour, bow technique and sound production, and has unlocked a new world of cello playing for me to explore.’

Looking ahead, Jonathan has his sights set on Europe. ‘Studying overseas is the main goal for the next few years,’ muses Jonathan. ‘The AYO International Tour will facilitate this next step by helping me establish contacts and networks across Europe. Without the support of the Accenture Scholarship I would not have the ability to pursue further study.’

In the long term, Jonathan is focused on learning, developing and growing as a performer. ‘I want to push myself as far as I can in solo, chamber and orchestral performance and create a diverse career in which I can fully express my musical ideas and personality and project the classical music that I love into a new and exciting context.’

It is our pleasure to award the Accenture Scholarship to this talented cellist, and we can’t wait to see where his music takes him.