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Cellist Vaughan dreams big

Vaughan McLea

Cellist Vaughan McLea, 17, from Bergbron, Roodepoort is a student at Helpmekaar Kollege in Braamfontein, Johannesburg and he chooses to live by four rules:

  • Dream bigger than where you think your potential lies
  • Do what makes you intently happy, all the materialistic things will fall into place if you are
  • Do what you do out of humility and solely to make a change in the people’s lives
  • If all else fails, go out with a laugh.

Guided by his mother he started playing the piano when he was four years old. He heard the cello when his mother accompanied a young cellist. Observing the young cellist’s passion combined with the sound that the instrument produces, Vaughan fell in love with the cello and started at age five with lessons under Susan Mouton, who is still his teacher.

Both his parents are passionate musicians – his mother is an accomplished accompanist and music teacher while his father is a composer and music arranger. He ascribes his love for music to their intense passion and hard work in the music industry. Vaughan has a sister, a musician in her own right. She is a singer, but with her natural feel for music also plays the piano and violin. He also plays the piano and guitar.

This upcoming young star has performed at various concerts, stage productions, recordings, eisteddfods, orchestra courses and music competitions from an early age. At the age of 10, he was given the opportunity to conduct the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra for an item at the Jacaranda Pops Concert. Apart from a string of awards, he has performed as soloist with the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra and the Rand Symphony Orchestra.

Richard Strauss, Dmitri Shostakovich and Ludwig van Beethoven

He finds it difficult to name a single favourite composer. Richard Strauss has always been a great icon to him as his music can be so complex but so deep and emotional at the same time. Dmitri Shostakovich also speaks to him for all the brilliant melodies and intensity in his compositions that had the power to anger governments and motivate public riots. Then there is Ludwig van Beethoven whose music surpassed the limits of the era he lived in. The composer who had touched his heart most often is Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. His music has always been so romantic but so deep with his own life story at the same time.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

His motivation for participating in the NYMC to make music for an audience and share his passion for all the beautiful works that he is performing. He also wants to promote himself as he has a dream to study overseas in New York or the United Kingdom.

Vaughan’s extramural activities, which he loves equally include playing in the Joburg Youth Orchestra, playing at small functions and sometimes weddings. Most recently he started acting and is currently part of a youth production called Forte that is taking part in the Finals at Aardklop and in the Stellenbosch ATKV Tienertoneel competition later this year.

His future dreams are to study music, conducting, performing, music history, and composing at an institution overseas. After that, he wants to conduct, perform and possibly even complete some of his own pieces and perform them with one of the top international orchestras.