16-year-old Angela Ryu wins Canada’s elite amateur music competition 


A Calgary violinist has played her way to the top of Canada’s most prestigious amateur music competition.

16-year-old Angela Ryu won the Grand Award at the National Music Festival this past August in Edmonton. The annual festival attracts some of the country’s most talented musicians, and Ryu won first place in the strings category. This win earned her a spot performing with eight other category finalists at the Grand Award gala concert.

Produced by Ashley King

Ryu began playing the violin at a young age, quickly trading in time with her friends for hours spent alone practicing her four-stringed instrument. Originally from New Denver, B.C., Ryu and her family relocated to Calgary when the budding musician was 10. Aware that musical opportunities were greater in a large city, Ryu eagerly took to the move, beginning classes with longtime teacher and current Mount Royal Conservatory instructor Bill van der Sloot.

Aware of her rare talent and bright future, van der Sloot remained by her side this past year as she performed on many stages. Winning at the local, provincial, and national level, Ryu went on to take Canada’s overall prize, the NRS Foundation–Victoria Foundation Grand Award.

Mary Ross, executive director of the Calgary Performing Arts Festival, supports Ryu and has witnessed the young violinist’s hard work and dedication this past year. Ryu’s success didn’t surprise Ross.

Angela Ryu plays a melody at the Mount Royal Conservatory. Photo by Ashley King“I know it’s a difficult decision but she very clearly came out on top,” says Ross. “There was very little decision time required by the adjudicators at the [Grand Award] concert because they knew Angela was clearly the best.”

Ryu attends Bishop Carroll High School, where she balances her time between music and academics. She worries she could be approaching a crossroads where she may have to choose between one or the other. With two successful siblings, one pursuing music and the other academics, this multitalented teenager admits that she struggles with this choice because she loves them both.

“It’s really hard to just give one up,” says Ryu. “I don’t think I can do that. I’m just really torn between the two.”

Nevertheless, Ryu’s musical talent is evident, and should a lifelong career devoted to the violin be her wish, there is no doubting her future success.

aking@cjournal.ca

The editor responsible for this article is Kate Holowaty, kholowaty@cjournal.ca