Seventh Semester

A Post-Pandemic Recovery

With thanks to philanthropic support, musicians from the graduating class of 2020 have the opportunity to return to ANAM this year to reignite their performance training.

Despite the remarkable efforts of ANAM’s faculty and staff, 2020 was inevitably an altered learning landscape for our musicians. Isolated from each other and spread around the country and in New Zealand, they continued their practise and study online, but were largely unable to participate in the rehearsals and live performances which are a hallmark of the ANAM training program and for which there is no true substitute.

For third year musicians, the end of 2020 was particularly bleak. Not only had they missed the challenge and joy of their final year of ANAM performances, but they were also preparing to enter a precariously-placed professional world, with major orchestras and ensembles on leave, an economic downturn predicted, and travel for auditions or further study all but impossible.

Recognising the turmoil these young musicians were facing, and the danger of losing them from the artistic world at this crucial point in their careers, ANAM developed the idea of offering an additional semester – or ‘Seventh Semester’ for the Class of 2020 and the ANAM Board and dedicated patrons of the arts and education stepped forward to endorse this offering.

“I believe that it is our responsibility to support these musicians through this upheaval and prepare alongside them for our sector’s future.” Janet Holmes à Court AC, ANAM Board Member and Seventh Semester donor

At the core of the Seventh Semester will be the central elements of the ANAM training program: rehearsals and performances in solo recitals, chamber ensembles and orchestral concerts. Also offered will be a bespoke program devised to provide industry-readiness, including a performance and discussion retreat with Artistic Director Paavali Jumppanen, tailored Seventh Semester seminars and involvement with ANAM’s Alumni mentoring program. Returning to ANAM, at our restorative new home beside the Yarra, will provide not just professional development but also the uplifting experience of reconnecting with colleagues, the ANAM community and our new neighbours at the Abbotsford Convent to share music once more.

A musician’s graduation from their training institution is a pivotal time in their career. Thanks to ANAM’s donors who graciously and generously ‘leant in’ to support our Seventh Semester, these young musicians will emerge with the practical and musical skills and maturity to forge a fulfilling career in a changed landscape, looking toward their artistic future with renewed optimism.


Words by
Phoebe Masel
ANAM Violin


The cancellation of innumerable performances in 2020 was heart-breaking for the entire global arts community. Closer to home, it was a particularly tough blow for those of us who were due to conclude our time at ANAM in 2020 as we accepted the loss of some very special and important performance opportunities.

Thankfully, our ANAM journey is not quite over yet. Eleven of us have decided to stay on for a ‘seventh semester’. The creation of this bonus semester is the result of many hours of hard work as well as some bold and creative leadership by countless ANAM musicians, staff and faculty. I am so grateful to all of the people who made it possible, especially the many ANAM donors who gave generously to support this initiative.

After a distinct lack of collaborative music-making in 2020, the opportunity to once again perform with ANAM musicians, faculty and guest artists will be truly life-affirming. My wish is that I am able to once again perform in the ANAM orchestra with my colleagues and friends; there is simply nothing like it. I’m also really looking forward to playing with my wonderful string quartet once again. Josef, Kate, Oliver and I are so excited to perform Beethoven’s String Quartet op. 18 no. 5 at the Castlemaine State Festival in March.

Another goal for my seventh semester will be curating and performing in a mid-year concert which I hope will be a creative collaboration with ANAM musicians and another Convent artist. I plan to perform, among other works, the Corelli Concerto Grosso in D Major, which I had intended to play in my final ANAM recital of 2020. There is infinite potential to create and curate at the bustling Abbotsford Convent. Situated on beautiful Wurundjeri Country, the Convent boasts a number of different spaces to perform in; each with its own unique character and acoustic.

Acknowledging the rapidly changing music scene in a COVID-Safe Australia, another six months at ANAM will be invaluable time to assess what positive impact I can have in our industry and equip me with both the practical and musical skills I will need.

It is a great honour to have the opportunity to continue learning and growing in the nurturing and supportive ANAM environment. The community of musicians, faculty, guest artists, staff, donors, volunteers and audiences is very special. It means the world to me to remain part of this community a little while longer.

Words by
Jennifer Yu
ANAM Piano


After the turbulence of last year, I’m tremendously grateful to be offered a final Seventh Semester at ANAM – a hopeful promise of rejuvenation to see me through an incredibly formative three years of my life.

I’d like to continue developing my musicianship through numerous performance opportunities, which I believe define the ANAM experience and are events of immense learning, value and fun, and access to instruments, community and mentorship.

As a pianist it is an imperative part of my education to play regularly on well-maintained grand pianos of the best possible quality, to more accurately inform me of my playing and the possibilities of the instrument. After a year of playing on a humble upright piano with limited tonal and dynamic capabilities, sustaining my concept of piano sound with imagination, I look forward to returning to ANAM for the fulfilment of turning imagined sounds into reality.

Also, as much as I adore harpsichords, I don’t own one, so staying at ANAM for a bit longer will allow me access to a harpsichord to practise on, and tuition with an external teacher, both of which couldn’t happen in 2020. I hope to improve my technical skills, knowledge of continuo-playing, improvisation and Baroque stylistic conventions, and my ability to express meaning with almost purely agogic.

More time at ANAM will also allow me to connect to the vibrant ANAM community - its musicians, faculty, staff and supporters. I’m also very grateful to have time at Abbotsford Convent, opening up opportunities to connect to other creative disciplines and the wider community, in unique performance spaces.

I think those gruelling months spent alone in lockdown emphasised the value of having a community to share experiences with. It was a very different experience to prepare music for months, only to share its progress with a phone camera. Therefore, my project goals for my Seventh Semester mostly build on my progress and repertoire from last year. I’d like to perform Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no. 2 with a second piano, present my toccata-based recital program from 2020 in full and embark on several exciting chamber music projects. I look forward to being inspired and invigorated by working with others, and the joy and satisfaction of sharing great music.

And of course, there is the endless journey to strive for musical ideals which I’ll continue to embark on in the studio with the invaluable guidance of Timothy Young. I hope to continue refining my thinking and the efficiency of my movements to allow for free, uninhibited musical expression.

Lastly, none of this would’ve come to fruition were it not for the resourceful efforts of the resilient third-year cohort, the insanely hard-working program team and the astoundingly kind, generous ANAM donors who empathised with our situation, so thank you all so very much!

Words by
Sophie Spencer
ANAM Trumpet


I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to return for a Seventh Semester at ANAM as it allows me to continue working on the goals I had initially set out to achieve during my time here, as well as assist me in feeling prepared and confident in moving on to the next chapter of my life.

In preparing for this post-ANAM life, I am looking forward to utilising the additional lessons and classes to enhance some technical elements of my playing which are essential when applying for overseas schools, academies, and jobs. I will also use this time to continue to discuss future plans and goals with my current and future teachers.

Furthermore, although ANAM organised a fantastic/wonderful and highly educational online program for us in 2020, I was not able to play as part of an ensemble or orchestra due to the COVID-19 restrictions. I am very keen to interact and play music with my fellow ANAM musicians in these settings again, but also to be able to perform for and reconnect with ANAM’s supporters and the wider community; many of whom I have grown to know well through my time at ANAM. I would also love to establish a chamber group that is passionate to continue working together post-ANAM.

After three years at ANAM, the community here has become a second family in many ways, and with the help of this support network, I am looking forward to presenting a final recital to an audience – something that 2020 didn’t allow. Additionally, I am both nervous and incredibly excited to have been given the opportunity to play Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto alongside my colleagues in the ANAM Orchestra after being awarded Second Prize in ANAM’s 2020 Concerto Project competition. This performance will ultimately conclude my time as an ANAM musician.

The shift to becoming an ANAM alumna currently seems a little daunting however I feel like this additional semester will provide me with the experience, guidance, and support I need to tackle life after I leave. I would love to curate my own concerts post-ANAM with both past and present ANAM musicians, so I aim to use this extra semester to both explore a variety of different chamber group formats and repertoire, as well as seek knowledge on the fundamental concepts and procedures needed to make this a reality. I am immensely appreciative of everything ANAM has done for me over the last three years and am eager to begin my final semester.

The Seventh Semester was made possible thanks to the generosity of:

  • Besen Family Foundation
  • Bowness Family Foundation
  • Bridget Fayes
  • Janet Holmes à Court AC
  • Katrina and Simon Holmes à Court
  • Hugh DT Williamson Foundation
  • Ulrike Klein AO
  • John and Rosemary Macleod
  • Minderoo Foundation
  • Robert Peck AM and Yvonne von Hartel AM, peckvonhartel architects
  • Wright-Burt Foundation
Back to top