15 October 2010

Two of Australia's most promising young pianists will be selected to participate in an unprecedented international music collaboration in Germany in 2012.

The chosen pair will join 32 other counterparts from the USA, Asia and Europe for performances in 10 concerts and a series of masterclasses led by six of the world's most renowned piano professors in the Saxony city of Leipzig, which dates back to 1015.

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music is the Australian representative among the 17 institutions from around the globe offered scholarships for the event to be hosted by the highly-regarded University of Music and Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy."

The Chair and Senior Lecturer of The Con's Keyboard Unit, Dr Paul Rickard-Ford, said the pool of undergraduate and graduate contenders was "very big indeed."

"This is going to be a very hard task selecting the two scholarship winners; the field even now is sizeable, and will be even bigger by the middle of next year when we draw up a final short list," he said.

"It is an amazing opportunity for the pianists as well as an inspiration to work even harder on their craft."

Dean and Principal, Professor Kim Walker, said: "This project connects the International Mendelssohn Academy with the most important universities in the world and represents another feather in the cap for The Con, its faculty and students.

"The opportunity for our ensembles to travel across Europe, Asia and the USA has already broadened the knowledge and experience for many of our performance students. For our young pianists to work with the world's most renowned piano professors, who will pass on their wealth of expertise in a situation where the students will experience artistic collaboration up close, is invaluable.

"I congratulate the piano faculty, under the leadership of Dr Paul Rickard-Ford and Associate Professor Gerard Willems, for expanding and strengthening the international alliances.

"We are chuffed for all our young pianists that they have been recognised in such a way."

The University of Music and Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" was opened in 1843.

Composer Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig and Johann Sebastian Bach worked there from 1722- 1750. It hosts the world's largest Gothic Festival, which each year attracts thousands of electro-music fans and performers.

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 0024010e6302085e1538150b170d192a182f5e330d7900263a56591a