Bequest generosity sends violinist Iona to Royal College

Ena Williams Scholarship recipient and Queensland Conservatorium graduate Iona Allan
Ena Williams Scholarship recipient and Queensland Conservatorium graduate Iona Allan

Since graduating from the Queensland Conservatorium in 2014, violinist Iona Allan’s career has taken her from stints with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Chamber Orchestra to touring Australia with multi-million-selling French romantic classicist Richard Clayderman.

However, it is the next step of her professional journey that has her filled with anticipation.

Thanks to the generosity behind the Ena Williams Award for Postgraduate Study Overseas, in September Iona will move to London to begin studying a Master of Performance at the prestigious Royal College of Music.

Iona was invited to join the Royal College after auditioning in late 2016, although accepting wasn’t easy given she also received invitations to join two other esteemed UK musical institutions, namely the Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

“In the end I chose the Royal College because I will be learning under the wonderful violinist and orchestral leader Gabrielle Lester. We clicked so well when I was there and she is such an inspiration as a performer and teacher,” says Iona.

While enrolling at the Royal College reflects Iona’s ability, potential and the quality of teaching at the Queensland Conservatorium, she may not have made it to the London auditions at all without the generosity of a bequest to Griffith University.

As the recipient of the Ena Williams scholarship bequest, Iona says she has been granted the best possible start to her musical career.

“The scholarship is an amazing opportunity for a young female musician,” she says.

“I was able to give a thank you concert in April this year and the entire family behind the bequest were there.

“To receive this kind of support from people who not only believe in me, but have invested in me, is so generous.”

Ms Glenda Page, a keen pianist herself, established the scholarship in memory of her mother, Ena Williams. It is awarded to a female student of either classical piano or violin at the Queensland Conservatorium.

For information about bequests to Griffith University, click here.

Originally from Brisbane, Iona began playing violin at the age of four.

“It seems as though the violin was always there and I’ve always played,” says Iona, who went on to join the Queensland Youth Orchestra and Australian Youth Orchestra.

“The thought of a career as a musician really started to take shape when I was about 16. I auditioned for the Queensland Conservatorium and was accepted.

“I’ve been so lucky. During my degree I completed an internship with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and my teacher at the Con was Michele Walsh, who guided me towards the Ena Williams scholarship.

“The bequest is such a massive help. My parents are wonderfully supportive, but they’re not in a position to send me to London for auditions or to join the Royal College of Music.

“This really has given me the ideal start. Moving overseas is a big step, but I’m grateful and I’m ready.”

Picture: Cameron Jamieson Photography