26 October 2010

Rachel Bate and Anna Lisa Da Silva Chen are devoted to different modes of music al expression, but they share an understanding of the win-win outcome.

On the weekend, Bate, 25, won her second major national singing award in as many weeks, while Da Silva Chen, 14, conquered a second mountain of achievement in the world of virtuoso violin performance.

Bate and Da Silva Chen, from the Wollongong district, are both studying at The Con - Rachel is in her second year of an Advanced Diploma of Opera under the guidance of Maree Ryan, and Anna is being tutored by Robin Wilson as a full scholarship member of the Open Academy Rising Stars program.

The soprano launched her back-to-back triumphs with a winning performance in the final of the prestigious Australian Singing Competition (ASC) at the Opera House, followed by a No 1 placing in the highly sought after Opera Foundation Australia's German Opera Scholarship.

The double-barrel success has earned her $75,000 in funding that will take her to New York for studying at the Metropolitan Opera and Juilliard School; and a 12 month placing as a Young Artist at the eminent Cologne Opera in Germany.

"I am still coming to grips with both these results - it makes all the hard work this year so worthwhile," commented Rachel.

In winning the final of both major competitions, Bate had to compete directly with fellow Con colleagues - for the German scholarship it was soprano Celeste Haworth and mezzo-soprano Erika Simons, plus recent Con graduate Susannah Lawergren; in the ASC it was Eleanor Lyons, who is guided by Con lecturer Barry Ryan.

In securing the 35th National Youth Concerto Competition in Brisbane on Sunday night, Da Silva Chen completed a hat-trick of wins for Con Rising Star members in Australia's most significant award for string players aged 17 and under.

In 2008 violinist Emily Sun claimed the prize, and last year it was cellist Rachel Siu who was voted the best in the county.

Anna finished ahead of fellow Con student Kako Miura, 14, of Spit Junction, to add to her tally of winning results in 2010, including the junior and overall strings award at the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra Secondary Schools Concerto Competition; as well as the Alf and Pearl Pollard Memorial Awards for Performance Excellence at the Sydney Eisteddfod.

Anna, who started playing violin and piano when she was 8 years old, completed diplomas with distinction by the time she was 13.

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 095a070d79590d421d0b130d0c0b02010d0f57124b4b5c033b665617