17 November 2010

Young musicians training at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music have beaten all expectations in claiming an unprecedented level of achievement during the past 12 months.

In a whirlwind of performance excellence, members of The Con's Rising Stars Open Academy have clinched a record number of top and runner-up placings, as well invitations to participate in major student competitions.

"Stellar is the only way to sum up the honour roll, from November last year to this November," commented Joy Lee, Artistic Coordinator of the Rising Stars program, which aims to help gifted primary and secondary school students reach their full potential.

"So brilliantly have so many members acquitted themselves at the very top level of their age groupings, for the first time we are not able to single out an overall winner."

Phoebe Gardner, 12, of the Hills District, is the latest entry to the roll-call of triumphs, claiming 1st prize in the National Songwriting Competition, Australian Children's Music Foundation.

Gardner, who specialises in violin and is a Year 7 student at The Hills Grammar School, won for Best Classical Instrumental with her work Evil Popcorn.

The Competition, the biggest of its type and worth $35,000 in prizes, attracted hundreds of entries from around the nation. Federal Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett, was one of the judges.

Rising Star achievements over the past year include:

  • Violinist, Anna Lisa Da Silva Chen (Lake Heights), won the National Youth Concerto Competition, and Kako Miura was one of the three finalists. Rising Star cellist, Rachael Siu was the youngest ever winner of the competition in 2009;
  • Pianist York Yu was overall winner of the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra NSW Secondary Schools Concerto competition, while Anna Lisa Da Silva Chen claimed the Junior Section with her violin performance;
  • Violinist Harry Ward was awarded the Robert Pikler Scholarship;
  • Pianist Angela Wong, 12, of Peakhurst, is one of only 17 people aged under 13 from around the world invited to compete in the prestigious 7th International Piano Competition Dedicated to Franz Liszt competition in Moscow next week;
  • At the Sydney Eisteddfod - Julia Gu (Croydon), won the Allans Music Junior Piano Award 15/u piano and 20th or 21st Century Piano; Paulina Smirnov (Figtree) won the 18th Century Piano 16/O; Anna Lisa Da Silva Chen, won the Violin Any Age sections and also claimed the Alf & Pearl Pollard Memorial Awards for Performance Excellence; Harry Ward (Killara) won the 18/U violin; Grace Clifford (Wahroonga) won the Wenkart Foundation Junior Violin 16/U violin; Victoria Wong (Earlwood) won the 14/U violin; Angela Wong (Peakhurst), won the 20th or 21st Century 12/u piano, was runner-up for the Recital Award and the Australian piano 12/u;
  • Charis Chiu (Earlwood), won the pre 20th Century 9/u piano and was runner-up for the 20th or 21st Century Piano 9/u plus the Piano Solo; Victoria Wong (Earlwood), won the 14/u piano; Marie Yeo (Doonside) was runner-up for the Classical Sonata 18/u piano; Daisy Ou (Baulkham Hills) was runner-up for the 20th or 21st Century 15/u piano; Anna Lisa Da Silva Chen and Cathy Davis (Lake Heights) were equal runner-up for the String Sonata (any age); Anna Lisa Da Silva Chen won the Violin (any age); Lauren Salanitro (Petersham), was runner-up for the Acoustic String Instrumental Solo 18/u.

Dean and Principal, Professor Kim Walker, said: "The Rising Stars Open Academy continues to go from strength to strength, and that is reflected in the wonderful results achieved by so many talented young people over the past year.

"It never ceases to amaze me how incredible young Australian musicians are, and so accomplished and enthusiastic about their playing - equal to any other country and in many respects better.

"We are just so privileged to have the opportunity to help them on their way through this program. The work and dedication of their teachers is second to none."

Members of the Academy will perform a wide repertoire on a variety of instruments at a Rising Stars Recital at The Con this Saturday (20 November). The concert, which starts at 1.10pm, is free to the public.

Auditions for the 2011 scheme will be held on 23 November. Applications closed oversubscribed.

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 422c2e397c5d113f581a08240a5e1936130a0f361a56091e434b0d34