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Joan Carden Award 2012


30 March 2012

Winner of the 2012 Joan Carden Award, Agnes Sarkis (centre) with Joan Carden AO OBE and Christopher Bowen OA
Winner of the 2012 Joan Carden Award, Agnes Sarkis (centre) with Joan Carden AO OBE and Christopher Bowen OA

The Joan Carden Award for 2012 has been won by mezzo soprano Agnes Sarkis. Agnes holds an Advanced Diploma of Opera from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and is currently in the first year of study for a Graduate Diploma of Music (Opera).

The Award, now in its eighth year, is sponsored by the University of Sydney Graduate Choir. It was established in 2004 to:

  • identify and encourage young singing talent
  • strengthen the Choir's relationship with the University of Sydney and the Sydney music community
  • honour the contribution of Joan Carden to music in Australia.

The Award carries with it a cash prize of $3000 and a solo engagement with the Choir at one of its Great Hall concerts. In addition, the judging panel (great soprano Joan Carden AO OBE, the Choir's Music Director, Christopher Bowen OAM, and senior staff of the Conservatorium), have singled out other contestants for encouragement and these young singers have also sung solo engagements with the Choir.

Short-listed applicants, who must be students of the University, are auditioned. The auditions for the 2012 Award were held at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on 26 March.

Born in Iran, Agnes won the judges' decision from a high quality field with an outstanding performance of Charlotte's letter aria from Massenet's opera, Werther. Agnes was singled out for encouragement in last year's Joan Carden Award, and, as her prize for that, will perform a solo role in the Choir's Great Hall performance of religious works by Schubert on 19 August. Her victory in this year's Award now entitles her to another solo engagement in one of the Choir's Great Hall concerts in 2012 or 2013.

Agnes joins a distinguished list of previous winners of the Award: Lucinda Mirikata-Deacon (soprano, 2005), Jae-Hyeok Lee (baritone, 2006), Victoria Wallace (mezzo soprano, 2007), Jinhee Uhm (soprano, 2008), Simon Gilkes (tenor, 2009), Rachel Bate (soprano, 2010), and Emma Moore (soprano, 2011)

At this year's auditions, the judges also singled out soprano Amy Corkery, and mezzo soprano Anna Dowsley, for encouragement. Both these young singers are in the final year of the Advanced Diploma of Opera at the Sydney Conservatorium, and they will also be offered a solo engagement at one of the Choir's Great Hall concerts in 2012 or 2013.

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