What Education have you taken?
I graduated from William Morton Collegiate Institute in Gladstone, Manitoba. I am currently in my second year of a bachelor in music, with a major in vocal and piano performance, and a minor in drama.
What accomplishments are you proud of?
A graduated high school as Valedictorian with honours and received the Brandon University Board of Governors Entrance Scholarship as well as the Robert and Vesta Daniels Entrance Scholarship. I also received the President’s Brandon Festival of the Arts Scholarship based on my performances in the vocal portion of the Brandon Festival of the Arts. Coming into my second year, I received the Snjolaug Sigurdson Memorial Piano Scholarship. I have won several awards throughout my years competing in local and provincial music festivals. Some of them include “The order of the Eastern Star,” and the “Jane McIntyre Memorial Vocal Scholarship.” I am also happy to be this year’s treasurer of the Brandon University Music Students Council and strive to promote the development of good relationships between musicians at the school.
Tell us about yourself:
I grew up on a farm a few miles outside of Gladstone, and I loved it! There was space to run around, bushes to play and get lost in, gravel roads to bike on, and lots of different animals to play with. I am also grateful that my grandparents live on the same farm and I got to see them everyday. One of the things I enjoy most about living in the country is the ability to have my own garden and eat fresh food in the summer. Besides music, I am very interested in travelling, hiking, natural living, and health. This is because I wish to enjoy all the amazing sights this Earth has to offer, and I think that taking care of our bodies is very important. Learning new things is another thing I enjoy, and I love opportunities that help me grow as a person.
How did you become interested in your field of study?
I come from a family where classical music is what we listened to on long car rides. Having the love of classical music in me as well, I started taking piano lessons in grade 2, and joined my school choir and band as soon as I was allowed to. Throughout my school years I played in festival and as I got older was nominated to go to Provincials. I was also part of a youth choir in high school that toured once a year. The love of music, now deeply rooted in my being, was always in mind as a potential career path. However, as the expected graduation year neared closer and closer, my first idea was to apply for school and study to be a massage therapist. The world and lifestyle of a musician had always seemed unstable to my family, and thus they encouraged me to consider something more stable. As I considered my likes and dislikes about various careers, I always came back to music. I finally decided in grade 11 that, while knowing the potential risks and battles I might be facing, I loved music too much not to pursue it as a career. Having decided this, I began taking lessons with my current vocal teacher and started preparing for my audition to the School of Music for both voice and piano.
What is your philosophy in life?
My philosophy is that kindness, genuineness, respect, and positivity are the most important qualities a person can strive to possess. We are all human beings who go through our own struggles, have our own plans, and have our own understandings of how things work. Treating people unkindly because of differences is fruitless. Finding a balance between giving people the benefit of the doubt, staying true to your own beliefs, keeping an open mind, and trying to see the best in everything is the key to creating good relationships with people and to finding happiness.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
At this moment in time, I am not sure what my future holds. I know that I wish to perform for people as I strive to communicate with audiences and make them feel something. Although I have thought about continuing my studies to obtain a master’s in voice or collaborative piano or applying for a job on a cruise ship, nothing is concrete and I want to stay open to whatever opportunities come my way.
Azaria Neuschwander is a second-year performance major in the School of Music. She has undertaken the extraordinary task of focusing on both voice and piano, which she manages (by all accounts) with discipline and grace. Azaria has received prizes in both piano and voice at the Local and Provincial Musical Festivals. She has also performed internationally at the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival in Italy. She is one of the school’s top students academically, as well as a student leader who approaches her colleagues with grace, kindness, and humility. Azaria is joy to teach and a valued member of our music community.