Kirsty - profile

Kirsty Hilton

1st violin


When and where was your first concert with the MCO? It was in Ferrara in 2000. I had just passed my extra player audition and was about to spend a few days in Florence when someone got sick and they asked me to stay on and play.

Can you tell us something about your instrument? My violin is a Castello from 1774 that I bought in Paris a few years ago. It took me ages to find it!

If you could play another instrument what would it be? The cello. I love the sound of it and it just looks better – no double chin!

The first piece of music you fell in love with: It was actually the Bach double violin concerto when I was little. I just loved it.

What makes a “perfect” concert? A perfect concert is when you have the feeling on stage that nothing can go wrong. Sometimes that happens – you start and you just know it’s going to work. I am on such a high after a concert like that!


Kirsty Hilton was born in Sydney in 1976. She began the violin at age five with the Suzuki Method before beginning lessons with Alice Waten at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at age seven.

She attended the Sydney Conservatorium of Music High School where she was awarded numerous prizes, and then completed her undergraduate studies with Alice Waten at the Australian Institute of Music. During this time, Kirsty worked with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and was concertmaster of the Australian Youth Orchestra. In 1998, she was a postgraduate student at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama under David Takeno.

From 1999-2001, Kirsty was a member of the prestigious Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, where she performed under such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, Mariss Jansons, Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Haitink and Lorin Maazel. Kirsty then had a contract with the Berlin Philharmonic for a year before taking up the position of assistant principal second violin in the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in Munich under the direction of Mariss Jansons.

Kirsty still performs regularly with these orchestras, as well as with the Camerata Salzburg. She took up the position of assistant concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in September 2007, and since August 2009 has been principal second violin.