Sixteen year old Grace Clifford has won the coveted 2014 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Award, announced at the Grand Finals of the competition held in Adelaide last night. For her winning performance she played Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D, Op.61 with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christopher Seaman at the Adelaide Town Hall.
A formidably talented and versatile musician, Grace Clifford also won the awards for Best Recital and Best Chamber Music Performances. “She shows outstanding ability in all areas of musical performance – solo recital, chamber music and concerto performance and demonstrates high technical proficiency, an understanding of the repertoire and an appreciation of musical style,” commented Kate Lidbetter, CEO of Symphony Australia.
“I am so honoured to win this Award and I would like to thank Symphony Australia and the ABC, in conjunction with the ASO, for this wonderful opportunity that they have provided young musicians with,” says Grace Clifford. “It’s been incredible to witness, listen to and be inspired by 10 other wonderful musicians and I have learnt a lot from the experience. I will use my prize to assist my overseas studies starting later this month in America.” Next month, Grace moves to Philadelphia where she will continue her studies at the renowned Curtis Institute of Music.
As the 2014 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year, Grace wins a cash prize of $25,000, the ABC Sir Charles Moses Young Performer’s Trophy, a professional CD recording, two paid performances with the ASO and other professional development opportunities.
Despite her youth, Grace is already an experienced performer, having reached the finals of the Chamber Music round of the 2013 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards and winning the prize for Best Performance of an Australian Work. In 2013 she also won the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition where she received the John Hopkins Performance Fellowship and the Audience Choice Award.
Grace began studying in the Open Academy Rising Stars programme at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2009, and is currently a recipient of the PJV & MAH Cromack Memorial Scholarship. In 2013, she won the Kendall National Violin Competition, where she also received the Bach prize, Sonata prize and Audience prize.
The other finalists, 16 year old oboist Andrew Kawai and 18 year old violinist Anna Da Silva Chen each receive a runners-up prize of $7500. Anna Da Silva Chen also won the Nelly Apt Scholarship, which enables a string player to undertake further study overseas. Flautist Kiran Phatak (25) won the award for Best Performance of an Australian Work. The winner of the People’s Choice Prize of $5000 will be announced on ABC Classic FM at 4pm on Saturday 30 August.