Queensland Conservatorium violin student Fiona Qiu is barely out of her teens, but has already shared a stage with Michael Bublé, led Australia’s national youth orchestra and played the world’s great concert halls.

The former child prodigy toured China, Russia and Europe with the Tagiev Chamber Orchestra at the age of 11 and joined the Queensland Youth Symphony as a 1st violinist at the age of 13.

After school, the high-achieving student was torn between music and optometry, but she followed her passion to the Queensland Conservatorium.

Leading by example

The Bachelor of Music student was recently appointed concertmaster of the Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO) National Music Camp for the second year in a row.

“The AYO concertmaster role is a big honour and a big responsibility,” she said.

“You learn how to lead, and it’s about helping others succeed.”

Sharing a stage with pop royalty

Queensland Conservatorium students Fiona Qiu and Nadia Barrow backstage before performing with Michael Bublé

The young classical musician has also expanded her repertoire, performing with Grammy Award-winning crooner Michael Bublé at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre over two nights.

“It was amazing. I got to meet him backstage and have a chat before the show,” she said.

“It was great to kick back and have fun – we played a mix of pop and jazz, and it was a very different vibe to a typical classical concert.

“The adrenaline was pumping and it felt a little unreal.”

A world of opportunity

While studying at the Queensland Conservatorium, Fiona has performed with ensemble-in-residence, Ensemble Q, and worked with a host of international visiting artists and conductors.

She recently received a $6,000 travel bursary, travelling to Europe to learn from some of the world’s best violin teachers. The trip was made possible by a generous donation to the Queensland Conservatorium.

“I had a lot of contacts thanks to other Queensland Conservatorium graduates who are studying in Europe – there is an amazing network of Con players all over the world.

“It was so inspiring and I learnt so much.”