Truck driver turned violinist Karla Norton in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
It's a long, hard road to become a professional concert
Southern Sinfonia violinist Karla Norton has made a big shift
in gear and swapped air brakes for music breaks.
The former Auckland truck driver and roadworker moved to
Dunedin last month to take up the 2014 University of Otago
Southern Sinfonia performance scholarship.
''I worked on Auckland motorways for two years, as a lollipop
sign stop-go girl and a truck driver. It was all overalls,
dayglo gear, hard hats and safety harnesses,'' Ms Norton (24)
''I had to get my heavy traffic licence for the job.''
She was proud of what she had achieved, both in music and
''There are a lot of skills involved in traffic management
that cross over into music. Things like people skills,
organisation and management,'' she said.
''I enjoyed the work and it is definitely a skill, but I
think I'll stick to music, for now. I can always go back to
it, I guess.''
Ms Norton worked nightshift on the roads and was a contracted
player to the Southern Sinfonia and Opus Orchestra, in
Waikato. She will hold the performance scholarship until next
March and complete a postgraduate violin degree with the
university's department of music.
''Everyone has been so welcoming here in Dunedin. I'm going
to spend the year studying and practising, mostly focusing on
the classics, and play as much as possible with the Southern
Ms Norton will perform with the sinfonia in the Royal New
Zealand Ballet performance of Coppelia, at the Regent
Theatre on May 8 and 9, and with Bulgarian violinist Bella
Hristova in the world premiere of Dunedin composer Anthony
Ritchie's Violin Concerto, at the Dunedin Town Hall on