Roost’s major boost for aspiring southern conductor

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An aspiring Kiwi orchestral conductor is closer to making it internationally thanks to an Arrowtown business awarding her $10,000.

Roost Mortgage Brokers’ branch in Arrowtown announced Dunedin girl Holly Mathieson as the winner of the lucrative scholarship on Friday night.

Mathieson was unable to receive the award in person at La Rumbla bar and restaurant as she is in Berlin chasing her conducting dream.

However, she spoke via Skype and was clearly overwhelmed when told she’d won.

“I’d like to be making my income from conducting and performing internationally as a conductor. There are so few New Zealand conductors and even fewer women conductors…I’m really driven to do this properly and push it as far as I can take it.”

Mathieson recently quit a job as librarian for the London Philharmonic Orchestra to shift to Berlin and stay with a friend so she can be closer to world-class tutors.

The bubbly Dunedinite told the crowd via Skype she had been hoping to visit a Ukrainian tutor in Russia but was unsure if she’d have the money to do so.

“This $10,000 for me is incredibly important – it means I can keep seeing my teachers.”

Mathieson counts two of the world’s top conductors among her tutors but has to travel to Paris and St Petersburg to spend time with them, hence her Berlin move.

The judging panel including Queenstown mayor Vanessa van Uden and Mountain Scene publisher Richard Thomas both said part of the reason for choosing Mathieson was she’d really put it on the line by moving to Berlin with little money.

Roost’s Mark Pullar adds: “We think she is something special and this could be the final boost she needs to successfully fulfill her dream.”

On the night, Mathieson mother Lorraine Scott and sister Katie Waite were on hand to formally accept the scholarship.