Toowoomba audiences first saw Warwick-born teenager Andrew Finden on stage when he was 14, in USQ’s production of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute.
Andrew’s talent was spotted by Peter Rorke who was adjudicating the Warwick Eisteddfod and suggested the boy should have singing lessons.
Andrew learnt singing with Delith Brooke during his high school years, joining in the chorus for the annual USQ opera seasons.
Once at University, he learnt singing with Arthur Johnson during his Bachelor of Music at USQ, winning the prestigious Joyce Campbell Lloyd overseas study scholarship which enabled him to take singing lessons in London in 2005.
He returned to Australia to complete a graduate diploma in Opera from the Sydney Conservatorium and won an overseas performance scholarship to sing in Tel Aviv, Israel, last year.
His career was then fast-tracked when he won a $52,000 scholarship from the Guildhall School of Music in 2006 to undertake a Master of Music in London which he completed in July this year.
During his time in London Andrew also sang in an opera in London under the baton of another former USQ music student Stephen Moore, who is a repetiteur and assistant conductor at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Andrew has returned to Australia to visit his family before returning to Europe to take up a young performers program with the State Opera of Nuremberg in Germany.
“When I left Toowoomba I was probably naïve to believe I would succeed in such a competitive field. I was thrown in the deep end but my career has turned out the way I’d hoped,” he said.
“It might seem surprising that students from a small regional university can excel in such a competitive international field but the quality of music teaching at USQ meant anything was possible for graduates,” he said.
Andrew performed a lunchtime recital of German and English songs with Senior Lecturer in Music Dr Phillip Gearing.