CDU graduate wins NT Young Australian of the Year award 


Katharina Fehringer, a classical guitar student with her eyes firmly fixed on a concert career, heads to Canberra early next year for the Young Australian of the Year award.

The 23-year-old was named the Territory’s representative in the youth awards, which will be announced on January 25 as part of the Australian of the Year awards.

Katharina is no stranger to the Charles Darwin University Casuarina campus, where she began taking guitar lessons at the age of 10 under Adrian Walter, now the dean of Law, Business and Arts.

She continued her lessons at the Centre for Youth Music on the campus, and graduated in music in 2004.

To achieve her ambition of becoming a concert guitarist will take years of further study, and Katharina is already on that path.

Since her graduation she has studied flamenco guitar in Spain for several months, and traveled through Germany visiting music schools, taking master classes, attending music competitions and learning about the best places to continue her studies.

She won a place at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, but has put her studies there on hold, preferring at this point in her career to study back home in Australia.

For the past four months she has been taking classes in Brisbane with Isolde Schaupp, one of the country’s leading classical guitar teachers.

Schaupp is the mother and former teacher of classical guitarist Karin Schaupp, who has established her own international career as soloist and member of the guitar quartet Saffire.

‘I’m planning to spend the next year studying in Brisbane with Isolde, who is a very experienced teacher, incredibly wise and knowledgeable about how to develop your character as a musician,’ says Katharina, who flew back from Brisbane this week for the Australian of the Year announcement in Darwin.

She says she is very proud to have won the NT Young Australian of the Year award, which caps her earlier success this year in winning the NT Young Achiever of the Year award. She also won the CDU arts award this year.

‘The Young Australian of the Year award represents the efforts of young people to make the best of their lives,’ she says. ‘It’s a reminder of what we have achieved, and a thumbs-up for young people.’