Three outstanding Sydney musicians have made it to the finals of the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards, which this year celebrates its 70th anniversary.
The 2014 finals will be held between 19-28 August in Adelaide. Amongst the finalists are Wahroonga violinist Grace Clifford who is just 15 years old, James Jae-Won Moon, a 27-year-old pianist from Dundas Park and Sujin Park, 25, from Dundas. The three NSW musicians will vie with 9 others from around the nation for one of three places in the grand final.
Says Grace Clifford, “It is particularly special for me to be able to participate in the Awards this year, as straight afterwards, I will be leaving Australia to commence study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, USA in September. It will be my last musical experience here for a while, so it will mark the end of one journey and the beginning of another.
Grace began studying in the Open Academy Rising Stars program at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2009, and has been a scholarship holder there since 2011. In 2013, she won the Kendall National Violin Competition, where she also received the Bach prize, Sonata prize and Audience prize. She was a finalist in the Chamber Music round of the 2013 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards and won the prize for Best Performance of an Australian Work. In 2013 she won the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition where she received the John Hopkins Performance Fellowship and the Audience Choice Award.
Other 2013 highlights include studying with Ana Chumachenco at the Kronberg Academy Masterclasses in Germany, a solo performance on the 1709 ‘Viotti’ Stradivarius at the Musica Viva Chamber Music Festival, and a tour of Australia as the first Development Artist with chamber ensemble Selby and Friends. Previous awards include 4th prize in the Junior Section of the 2012 Menuhin Competition in Beijing and Overall Winner of the 2011 New South Wales Secondary Schools Concerto Competition.
James Jae-Won Moon, began playing the piano at age four. He has been a prize-winner in the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia, A.M.A. Calabria International Piano Competition, Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition and Delia Steinberg International Piano Competition. He has performed with the West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bacău Philharmonic Orchestra. He has given performances in Australia, Korea, Germany, France, Scotland, Spain, Italy, Austria, Japan and Canada.
“I have been away from Australia for the past eight years studying in Germany. It means a lot to be a finalist in these prestigious Awards, as I see it as a great test of what I have achieved so far,” says James.
Sujin Park’s’ many awards include first prize in the Dorcas McClean Travelling Scholarship Competition (2009), and a place in the semifinalsof the 2013 Michael Hill International Violin Competition. She was awarded a two-year loan of a Bergonzi violin and in 2012, she was selected to take part in the London Symphony Orchestra String Experience Scheme. Sujin received a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours in 2013 from the Royal College of Music, London.
“It is a very exciting occasion for me,” says Sujin. “Especially since I have been in London for almost four years now, I am very excited to come back to Australia and play in my home country.”
The three finalists will have to prove themselves in three categories of performance – solo, chamber music and concerto. Kate Lidbetter, CEO of Symphony Australia says “The musician who claims the title of Young Performer of the Year will have proved themselves outstanding in all areas of musical performance…...demonstrating high technical proficiency, an understanding of the repertoire and an appreciation of musical style.” Previous winners of the awards include pianist Roger Woodward (1964), Brett Dean, viola (1981), Diana Doherty, oboe (1985), mezzo-soprano Catherine Carby (1996), pianist Simon Tedeschi (1998), violinist Ji Won Kim (2009) and pianist Oliver She (2010).
Click here for more information about the public performances and broadcasts of the various rounds of the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer Awards.