The small town of Valley Heights has produced a promising young clarinettist with the world of classical music at his fingertips.
Alexei Dupressoir was last week selected as one of only eight exceptionally talented musicians from across Australia for the prestigious Sydney Symphony Orchestra Credit Suisse Fellowship program for 2014, regarded as one of the world’s leading musician training providers.
The 25 year old, who now lives in Sydney’s inner west, was “over the moon” when he received the acceptance call.
He told the Gazette the seed to his success in music was planted in the Blue Mountains, where he first learnt to play the clarinet aged nine.
“I went to Blaxland East public school which had a very good band program and I remember feeling really engaged,” he said.
“Initially I wanted to play the saxophone but they didn’t have a spare one so I chose the clarinet instead — it’s fair to say that worked out really well.
“I joined the Blue Mountains Orchestra — which my dad, Christian, is still president of — and that was a massive building block for me at the time.”
Mr Dupressoir said he also began private clarinet lessons with Blaxland resident Megan O’Neill who encouraged him in Year 6 to apply for a scholarship with the Sydney Conservatorium High School.
“I commuted there every day until Year 12 when I moved to Glebe and then I completed a Bachelor of Music and a Masters in Music at the Conservatorium.
“I guess I had really good teachers the whole way through who let me appreciate music and made it fun.”
Since 2012 Mr Dupressoir performed as a casual musician with many orchestras, was a member of the Australian Youth Orchestra, a Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Fellow and was accepted into master classes with leading European clarinettists, including Maestro Alessandro Carbonare in Siena, Italy.
“That trip to Siena really kicked things off for me because I saw the amount of focus and dedication you need to have and it lifted my aspirations.
“Playing in an orchestra is such a spectacle — I find the whole experience kind of transcendental and you are right in the thick of it.”
Mr Dupressoir said his aim this year was “to take it all in and be engrossed working alongside and learning from world class musicians.
“I’m very excited by being selected for the fellowship because it allows you to dedicate yourself to your passion and professional aspirations for a whole year without having to think about how you are going to support yourself.”