Matthew's field of musical dreams

Mangerton's Matthew Tsaladis has worked tirelessly to gain a place at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Picture: DAVE TEASE
Mangerton's Matthew Tsaladis has worked tirelessly to gain a place at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Picture: DAVE TEASE

It was a love of The Corrs and the experience of failure that pushed violinist Matthew Tsaladis to realise nothing is impossible.

Tsaladis, who was recently accepted into the Sydney Conservatorium of Music within a Bachelor of Music (Performance) degree, has an inspiring story of how hard work pays off.

The 21-year-old's success story is very different from the usual of young prodigies working their way towards musical fame as he didn't pick up a violin until the age of 13.

"I was a late bloomer. I was a fan of The Corrs and in particular Sharon Corr on the violin," he says, standing among the trees at the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music, where his passion has been fostered by head of strings Scott Taggart.

"I wanted to be able to play the same music [as The Corrs], but then I wanted to see what the violin can do on a classical level," he says of his "late "start into music.

"It's amazing what the violin can do for something that's just a simple wooden box with four strings."

It was failure, of all things, that helped Tsaladis realise what he wanted in life.

He unsuccessfully auditioned for a place at the Sydney Conservatorium in 2008, which led him to then begin a journalism degree instead. He says at that point in time his three interests were music, journalism and drama.

But last year, his tenacity got the better of him.

He took the year off uni, played violin for four hours every day and worked with Taggart to compile a repertoire for the 2012 auditions that included Mendelssohn, Bach and Mozart.

"Failure taught me things about myself that I didn't realise - like how tenacious I am," he smiles.

"I spent most of my time at home in 2012 and people would have thought I was doing nothing.

"I'm not giving up on my dream to be a concert violin player. I would love to be a concert soloist but that's a very hard gig, so otherwise maybe to perform with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, like Richard Tognetti [Australian Chamber Orchestra artistic director and former Wollongong Con student].

"I want to play violin for the rest of my life."

The Mangerton student recalls how making it into the Wollongong Con at a later age was his first obstacle.

"I was above the age restriction but Scott gave me a go ... thankfully my playing won him over," he says.

"I've been so lucky to have a teacher who's pushed me to higher levels."

Tsaladis has also developed an individual style with his music, playing a Harry Vatiliotis violin that has a "shrill sound, like a cut diamond".

"It's weird to say, but it's like when the wand chooses Harry Potter ... the violin chooses you."

And his advice for others facing such hurdles to reach their dreams?

"Nothing's impossible if you set your mind to it and put in the hard work ... make it happen for yourself."


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