Jennifer Hoy


National Music Camp 1991-93

AYO 1993-95, 1998, 2000

AYO Tutor 2010

Jennifer Hoy was appointed to a permanent position in the First Violin section of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2001, after gaining a Bachelor of Music with 1st class Honours from the Sydney Conservatorium and a Masters of Music degree with distinction from the Australian Institute of Music. She studied violin with Goetz Richter and Alice Waten. During her career with the SSO she also performed as guest principal with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, the Western Australian and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras, and with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Jennifer served on the Musician's Executive of the SSO Management Committee for several years, most significantly during the period of divestment of the Orchestra from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. She was also actively involved in mentoring and teaching young musicians as part of the SSO Artist Development, Fellowship & Playerlink programs.

Jennifer left the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2013 to accept the position of Legal Researcher/Associate to the Honourable Justice Mark Leeming at the NSW Court of Appeal. In 2015 she accepted a position as a solicitor at the NSW Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and was recently appointed as a Federal Prosecutor with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. She has been a Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra since 2008 and a member of the SSO Vanguard Collective since 2013.

Tell us about your musical journey
I was very lucky because I had parents who were engaged and interested in music. I started Suzuki at the age of four with my Mum, who’s a piano teacher and high school music teacher. I grew up in Tamworth and was lucky that there was a local family whose daughter had completed Suzuki training in Japan; they created a system where new graduates from Dr Suzuki’s Matsumoto class would spend six months teaching in Tamworth. This created a hothouse effect, with a community of young, interested and motivated teachers and performers who were great role models. It was a lovely atmosphere with a good cohort of people. The friendships I forged in that period made it easier to continue the whole journey of learning and playing.

I was selected for programs with the YMA Music Camp in High School and first did AYO in Year 10. I was involved with AYO over an extended period while also studying at the Sydney Conservatorium. I have AYO National Music Camp (NMC) to thank for giving me the chance to work with Goetz Richter, who ended up being my teacher during my tertiary studies; forging that connection with Goetz at NMC was crucial to help me improve as a player and develop an awareness about what being a professional musician actually meant. I did my Masters with Alice Waten at the Australian Institute of Music while doing freelance work with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, as well contract work with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Towards the end of my Masters the permanent position in the SSO came up. I didn’t feel I was ready, but I was encouraged to do the audition, which was an experience in itself! I realise now how fortunate I was because I’d always had teachers with a deep expertise in orchestral repertoire. Alice supported me through the audition process – it was invaluable having structured support leading up to the audition. When I got the job I was more surprised than anyone! Being a musician with the SSO was the greatest time of my professional life.

It’s wonderful that you’ve been able to forge a career that combines your interests in music and the law
Yes, I had an interest in studying law at school but felt it was important to pursue music first, because you can’t necessarily go back and do it later. I studied law part time and really enjoyed the intellectual challenge. At the SSO I was also involved in non-musical activities. The orchestra is partially self-governing and I was involved with the player’s committee, helping musicians self-determine the direction of the organisation. I was invited to join the Board while still a member of the Orchestra, which was a great privilege. I took some leave from the Orchestra in 2013 to finish my law studies and was offered a position with a judge at the NSW Court of Appeal. I was fortunate to be able to experience the law and see if I liked it before making any big decisions about switching careers. After my time at the Court I decided I was ready to jump.

I’m still on the SSO Board as a Director. I really enjoy maintaining my involvement, as many of my close friends are part of the Orchestra, and have been in my life since my AYO days. It’s lovely to be working with people you’ve known as colleagues and friends for such a long time. I also enjoy being part of the concert experience in a different way.

What is your fondest memory from your time with AYO?
A National Music Camp moment. I had the opportunity to study Schubert’s String Quintet with Goetz and some of the other campers that I knew from AYO. I’d never had an opportunity like that before, as there were limited chamber music partners in Tamworth. It was wonderful to play such a fabulous piece with such a great group, and be tutored by one of the best at the same time! It was so important to my development as a musician and as a human being.

When you have the privilege of being a tutor later on, you realise there are things you can share and help students with that will be important to them throughout their careers, musical or not. I love sharing ideas and teaching them about the music they’re performing, but more importantly I try to instil in students a sensibility and excitement about music and its importance.

You’ve also been a donor – what motivated you to support AYO?
I knew I could never have done the AYO programs without financial support from others. AYO is a part of your life where you change so much; you have unforgettable musical, cultural and social experiences and perform in amazing concert halls. I wanted to support other musicians to have these opportunities that had been so vital to my development as a musician and a teacher.

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