Auckland cellist wins scholarship to study in London

Press Release – NZ-UK Link Foundation
This year’s winner of The Elman Poole Music Scholarship is Davina Shum, a highly talented young cellist from Auckland.

The Elman Poole Music Scholarship is an annual award, funded by Dr Elman Poole, for an up and coming New Zealand instrumentalist to train with the renowned London orchestra, The Southbank Sinfonia. The winner is selected by The Southbank Sinfonia, with assistance from the Southern Sinfonia of Dunedin, New Zealand, and in consultation with Dr Elman Poole.

Dr Elman Poole is an Otago Medical graduate who has spent most of his life working in Neurology in Oxford where he is now retired. He comes from Invercargill where his grandfather, an early settler from England, established a very successful family timber and furniture business – George Poole & Sons. His father, Philip, was both a skilled craftsman and a fine violinist, contributing much to the musical life of the city over many years.

Dr Poole wishes to help talented young New Zealand musicians to gain experience abroad and contribute to the development of music in New Zealand. The first Elman Poole Scholarship was awarded in 2007, and it has been awarded annually since then.

The award is administered by the NZ-UK Link Foundation which creates, promotes and manages educational and cultural exchanges between New Zealand and the United Kingdom. For this Scholarship, the Foundation funds the travel component of the award.

Davina Shum was educated at The Diocesan School for Girls in Epsom and then went on to gain her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Auckland. She then went on to study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where in 2011 she was awarded her Master of Music degree. She also obtained an Associate Performance Certificate from Trinity College in London.

All through her formal education, Davina has played in a wide variety of orchestras both in New Zealand and Australia. These include the NZSO National Youth Orchestra and the Auckland Philharmonia and, in Australia, the Willoughby Symphony (which supported the English National Ballet tour of Sydney among other performances) and the Sydney Sinfonia.

Davina has also had some experience as a cello teacher at Mt Roskill Grammar and Remuera Music School in Auckland and in Sydney.

“The Southbank Sinfonia has a tremendous reputation as a training ground and auditions for members around the world. I am looking forward to working in collaboration with the other members of the orchestra and performing alongside world class musicians and leading organisations including the Royal Opera House, BBC Concert Orchestra and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. I have the chance to perform in London, across the UK and Europe, and delve into a wide range of repertoire and styles from chamber to symphonic, Baroque to contemporary, opera, dance, theatre and jazz. The opportunities presented will open so many doors for me musically, educationally and professionally.

I am so grateful for Dr Poole’s generosity in funding this Scholarship and the NZ-UK Link for organising this.”

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For further information please call:

Mark Horton, Chairman, NZ-UK Link Foundation, on 021 820 844

Philippa Harris, GM, Southern Sinfonia, on 03 477 5623 or

Davina Shum on 0061 (0) 410735199 or

Notes for Editors

Southbank Sinfonia

Southbank Sinfonia is an orchestra of young professionals described by The Times as ‘a dashing ensemble who play with exhilarating fizz, exactness and stamina’. It is firmly established as Britain’s leading orchestral academy, providing the most talented musicians with a much-needed springboard into the profession.

Every year 32 players, each supported by a bursary, undertake an intensive and wide-ranging programme of performance and professional development which comprises concerts across the UK and Europe; workshops and performances; orchestral repertoire, chamber music; education and management training; and sessions spanning subjects from improvisation to public speaking.

The NZ-UK Link Foundation

The NZ-UK Link Foundation – originally the Waitangi Foundation – was created in 1990 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty. It has organising committees and charitable trust status in both countries.

It creates and promotes educational and cultural exchanges between New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Through these it fosters increased awareness of what each country has to offer the other, the exchange of knowledge and the encouragement of talent.

For more information please go to

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