Rising stars concert a bright weekend idea

23 February 2012

The first of a series of free concerts in 2012 by some of Australia's leading young musicians will be held this Saturday 25 February at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The musicians, aged between 7 and 18, are all students at the Conservatorium's Open Academy Rising Stars, a program that identifies talented young musicians to be supported and tutored by Conservatorium teachers.

The program already has several reasons for celebration this year. Lucia Li, 10-year-old student of The Con's Chair of Piano, Dr Paul Rickard-Ford, won the prestigious European Piano Teachers' Association International Piano Competition in Belgium earlier this month.

Lucia, the only Australian in the competition, was one of six finalists in the competition: other finalists came from the United Kingdom, Russia, China, Romania and Finland.

Her teacher, Dr Rickard-Ford, commented: "This is a great achievement for Lucia and another feather in the cap of the Rising Stars."

In April this year, two Rising Stars violinists, Anna Da Silva Chen (15) and Grace Clifford (13), will be the only two Australian musicians chosen to play in the first round of the Yehudi Menuhin Competition in Beijing.

Anna already has a formidable list of prizes and awards to her name: last year she was a finalist in the string section of the ABC Young Performer of the Year, she won the Kendall National Violin Competition and was the 2MBS Young Performer of the Year.

Anna and Grace are great friends and both study at the Conservatorium with Robin Wilson. Grace also has a number of awards to her name, winning the Ku-ring-gai Competition, the Open Age section of the Sydney Eisteddfod and the Fred Blanks Award last year and the Wenkart Junior Violin Award in 2010.

The Menuhin Competition, founded in 1983, has a well-deserved reputation for attracting and identifying many of the world's greatest young violinists and the competition in April will be fierce, but the two Australian girls are excited about competing in China.

Joy Lee, Artistic Coordinator of the Rising Stars program, said: "We're so proud to see talent and hard work rewarded internationally. All three performers have a special and individual talent which reaches out to their audiences."

The Rising Stars popular series of free concerts will be held at 11am every Saturday during semester: 25 February to 31 March and 5 May to 23 June (except 8 June). Attendance is free and all are welcome, especially children.

Follow University of Sydney Media on Twitter

What: Rising Stars Open Academy Concert

When: 11am, Saturday 25 February

Where: Recital Hall West, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Macquarie Street

Cost: Free, seating is unreserved and no bookings are required.

Enquiries: Conservatorium Open Academy, 9351 1207 or 9351 1208

Media enquiries: Kath Kenny, 02 9351 1584, 0478 303 173,