There is something about the tone of the flute that captivates Katharine Hao’s attention.
A flautist since Grade 5, the North York resident spends two to three hours a day perfecting her skill on the instrument that’s been instrumental in her life for almost a decade.
And that dedication has paid off, as the 17-year-old was recently awarded a national gold medal for scoring 85 per cent on the Royal Conservatory of Music’s graduate level examination in flute performance.
Hao, who took the exam for Associate of The Royal Conservatory (ARCT) in flute performance, said she was “pleasantly surprised” by her medal recognition.
“I decided I was ready,” she said of taking the exam. “I found out about a month ago I was to receive a medal. I didn’t know it was a really big deal until the ceremony.”
Winners received their awards Sunday, Jan. 13 at Koerner Hall, in the Royal Conservatory’s TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning at Bloor Street and Avenue Road.
The ARCT is a professionally recognized diploma in performance, theory or pedagogy awarded upon completion of the conservatory examination system.
After studying piano when she was young, Hao switched over to flute after her mother showed her video of an orchestra performance.
“She asked if I wanted to play the flute and I said yes,” she said. “I stopped playing the piano in Grade 6. The flute has such a beautiful tone the way it comes over the orchestra.”
Though she has yet to decide what she wants to focus on once she graduates high school, Hao said there’s a good chance it might involve teaching kids music.
“Kathy is amazingly motivated and passioned musician,” said her teacher for the past three years, Gennady Gefter. “Her playing flute skills are in line with the best of her age.”
Regional gold medals, handed out to musicians for scoring the top marks in Ontario and Quebec in annual Royal Conservatory examinations, were also awarded to North York residents James Hefferman for Grade 6 piano, Audrey Ho for Grade 3 flute, Yujene Oh for Grade 9 voice and Sharon Xinyuan Qiu for Grade 6 French horn.
Eligible candidates must score at least 80 per cent on their practical examination and must have completed the co-requisite theory examinations for their respective grade and discipline.