The Award attracts young, talented, Australian pianists from all over the country to compete in rural Victoria. We are proud to host the following musicians for the 2018 competition:
Alexander Yau 22, New South Wales
Alexander is an active pianist and chamber musician, who performed across Australia, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong and Shanghai. He has appeared as soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Kuring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra, SBS Youth Orchestra, New South Wales Youth Orchestra and Sydney Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, the latter performing Brahms’s 2nd Piano Concerto with Eduardo Diazmunoz.
He was a laurette at the Australian International Chopin Piano Competition (2017), Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition (2015), semi-finalist in the KeriKeri International Piano Competition (2016), recipient of the Theme and Variations Foundation Award and Emerging Artists Series, and was a finalist twice in the John Allison/Henderson Piano Scholarship Competition. He has performed on the ABC Radio News in Canberra as well as numerous broadcasts on Fine Music 102.5 and made a CD recording broadcast with ABC classic Fm with clarinetist Deborah de Graaff (including his own compositions), to be released in the coming years. He has given performances at the Canberra International Music Festival (2017), International Mendelssohn Akademie in Leipzig (2016) and participated twice in European Chamber Music summer school in Verona performing numerous chamber works with several venues, including the Villa Mosconi Bertani. His 2018 solo engagements include recitals in Sydney, Canberra, Cooma and Brisbane. He is also founding member of the Hutcheson Trio and a collaborative artist in high demand with many instrumentalists and singers.
He just completed his final year of his Undergraduate Degree in Bachelor of Music Performances (Honours), receiving a total of three scholarships for performance excellence throughout, studying with Daniel Herscovitch and Elizabeth Powell previously. He has also worked with world-renowned artists such as Stephen Hough, Stephen Savage, Roy Howat, Eleanor Wong, Matti Raekallio, Pavel Gililov and Arie Vardi.
Besides piano, he is a clarinetist, who obtained his Associate Diploma (AMusA) at the age of 17, as well as a competent conductor, who has appeared in ‘Encore’ held at the Sydney Opera House premiering several works for the young Australian composers as well as guest conductor with the Voces Caelestium and participated in Masterclasses with Christopher Seaman in The Symphony services International Scholar Conductors Training Program. He is also a composer, transcriber and orchestrator of many music (ranging from jazz ensembles to tangos to art songs to orchestral songs and to piano duos).
Berta Brozgul 28, Victoria
Berta Brozgul was born in Cape Town, South Africa and migrated to Australia at the age of 12.
Whilst at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School, she was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Margaret Schofield prize for the best music student in the state of Victoria in 2007. She completed both her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Piano Performance at the Mozarteum in Salzburg with highest honours.
During this time, she was also a prize-winner in the Australian National Piano Award in 2014, and a major prize-winner in the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition in 2015, taking out the fourth prize and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra Vote for best concerto performance of the evening, performing Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto. She has also recorded a CD Liederabend which is taken from a live performance with the tenor Christopher Saunders in 2009 and includes songs from cycles of Schumann, Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven.
Amongst many other performances and musical partnerships in 2016, she collaborated with the Australian tenor Steve Davislim in a performance of Schumann's Dichterliebe, which was broadcast onto ABC Classic FM. She was also the joint recipient of the ANAM prize for Most Outstanding Performance in a Solo Recital in 2016.
In 2017, her piano trio - the Clarendon trio - won the ANAM Chamber Music Competition and were also the only Australian ensemble to be selected for the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition in 2018.
David Soo 25, Victoria
David Soo has won prizes in international competitions in France (Magin) and Malaysia (ASEAN Chopin), the Australian National Piano Award, as well as unanimously being awarded first Prize in one of Australia’s most prestigious piano competitions, the Melbourne Recital Centre Great Romantics Competition, Oxford Music Festival Professional Recital Prize (United Kingdom) and the Emmanuel Trophy Piano Competition (United Kingdom). David was also a national finalist in the 2014 ABC’s Young Performer of the Year Award. Currently completing an Artist Diploma at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Professor Joan Havill, David has been heard frequently on both ABC FM and throughout the Music Broadcasting Stations throughout Australia. He gave a sold-out solo debut recital at the Melbourne Recital Centre, and is a frequent guest concerto soloist, having performed concerti by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, and Australian composer John Carmichael with various orchestras.
Recent highlights include sold-out recitals and concerto performances in Australia, China and the United Kingdom. Significant performances include sold-out performances at Hainan Town Hall (China), the Melbourne Recital Centre and at the Bloomsbury Festival (London, United Kingdom). Upcoming highlights include concerto performances with the Sichuan Symphony Orchestra (China), as well as recitals and concertos in Australia and the United Kingdom. In June 2019, David will be the soloist in Beethoven’s Third concerto with the Goodenough College Orchestra (Bloomsbury). As a chamber musician, David’s performances have also taken him to venues in Australia and the United Kingdom.
David has performed in master classes with Steven Osborne, Christopher Elton, Paul Badura-Skoda, Tom Poster and Barbara Nissman. David completed a Master of Music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with distinction, and previously completed a Bachelor of Music (Honours) at the University of Melbourne with First Class Honours. David’s studies have been generously supported by Help Musicians Postgraduate Award UK, the Mary Elizabeth McComas Scholarship and the YMF Australia.
Enrico-Sergio Mainas 21, New South Wales
Enrico Mainas is a fourth-year piano student at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he is currently undertaking Honours in the Bachelor of Music (Performance) under the tutelage of Dr Paul Rickard-Ford. He was awarded a full scholarship, the James Richard Edward Chappell Scholarship, upon his entry to the Conservatorium in 2015. In 2017 Enrico was a finalist in the prestigious John Allison and Sydney Eisteddfod Piano Scholarship, and a state finalist in the 2017 Fine Music Young Virtuoso Award, for which his performance was broadcast live nationally on Fine Music 102.5.
Enrico was the winner of the 2015 Theme and Variations Emerging Artists Series, and the following year was invited to present a one-hour public recital in the Theme and Variations showroom.
Overseas, Enrico was selected to compete in the 1st Zhuhai International Mozart Competition for Young Musicians, held in Zhuhai, China. He had previously toured China as a student in the Conservatorium High School, performing as an accompanist at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. Enrico was recently the recipient of a Henderson Travellers Scholarship, enabling his travel to Austria to attend the Mozarteum University Salzburg’s International Summer Academy 2018.
Hank Xiang 26, New South Wales
Hank Xiang graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium with a Bachelor of Music (Honours) in 2012, studying with Dr Paul Rickard-Ford. Taking keen interest in Russian music, his honours dissertation examined Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in relation to the compositions of the New Russian Nationalist School, led by the composers of the so-called ‘Mighty Handful’, in the late nineteenth century.
He is now furthering his studies at the Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory in Saint Petersburg – in the class of Nina Seryogina until 2017, and presently with Miroslav Kultyshev.
James Guan 27, New South Wales
James Guan is a Sydney born pianist and has studied at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music Primary School, Sydney Conservatorium of Music High School and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under Dr Paul Rickard-Ford, where he was the recipient of the Vimpani and Bessie Cook Scholarship and the Nugawela Scholarship. He then received numerous scholarships to study at the Royal Academy of Music and completed his Masters degree with Distinction as well as receiving the Greta Parkinson Prize.
He has frequently performed in Australia, New Zealand, China, UK, Spain and Italy and has performed with orchestras such as the Tait Chamber Orchestra in London, Shanghai Opera Symphony Orchestra and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
James has won major prizes in numerous competitions both within Australia as well as internationally. Including the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition, the Kerikeri International Piano Competition, the International Competition Piana del Cavaliere, the Clamo International Piano Competition and the Jaques Samuels Intercollegiate Piano Competition. He was also the Winner of the Best Australian Award at the Sydney International Piano Competition and the Great Romantics Competition in Melbourne.
Jeremy So 27, New South Wales
Australian pianist Jeremy So completed his undergraduate studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Alexandra Vinokurov, receiving his Bachelor of Music (Performance) with Honours First Class and the University Medal.
He subsequently studied with Stephen Savage at the Royal Northern College of Music, being awarded his Master of Music (Solo Performance) with Distinction, then the prestigious Postgraduate Diploma in Solo Performance (International Artist). Jeremy has also participated in masterclasses with pianists such as Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Stephen Hough, Steven Osborne, Pascal Roge and Kathryn Stott.
His performances have taken him abroad to Auckland, Leipzig, Paris and Xi’an, and across Australia and the UK at venues including the Sydney Opera House, the Federation Concert Hall with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Wigmore Hall and Bridgewater Hall. They have also been broadcast on ABC Classic FM, Fine Music 102.5 and BBC Radio 3. Jeremy is the recipient of grants from the PPCA Performers’ Trust Foundation, the Ian Potter Cultural Trust and the Countess of Munster Musical Trust. Festival appearances and projects include the 2010 ISCM World New Music Days, the 2014 Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme/67th Aldeburgh Festival, the 2015 London Sinfonietta Academy and the 2016 Chester Music Festival performing with the Manchester Camerata.
Photo credit: Daniel Boud
Joshua Hooke 25, Victoria
Originally from Wonthaggi Victoria, Joshua Hooke is currently completing Masters of Music Performance at the University of Melbourne on scholarship, under the guidance of Professor Ian Holtham, and has also undertaken periods of intensive study in Vienna with Paul Badura-Skoda, and in London with Imogen Cooper.
In addition to performances throughout Australia, Joshua has performed in Europe and the UK. He has performed at various festivals and series, including as the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, as a laureate of the International Piano Seminar of Óbidos (Portugal) and the Melba Hall Lunch Hour Series, as well as performances at Victorian Parliament House and the Australian Club. As a keen chamber musician, he has performed with Australian soprano Greta Bradman, and has given award-winning chamber music performances for the Music Society of Victoria as well as world premieres of new Australian works. Josh has had performances broadcast on, Antena 2, ABC Classic FM and 774 as well as the MBS radio network.
Joshua has performed as both soloist and orchestral pianist with a number of orchestras including The University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Hopkins Sinfonia, and in 2015 he was selected as soloist for the UMSO’s Chancellor’s Concert Series in Sydney. He has worked with conductors such as Benjamin Northey, Fabian Russell, Brett Dean and Richard Davis.
He has been a finalist and prize-winner in a number of competitions, including the Antena 2/SIPO prize, the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Great Romantics Competition and the Australian National Piano Award (where he also received the Peoples’ Choice Award). He has won a number of awards and scholarships, including being recipient of A Victorian Premier’s Award for Music and the Melbourne Conservatorium’s Lady Turner Prize.
Oliver She 27, Queensland
Born in China and raised in Brisbane, Oliver is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music (England) and University of Queensland, having also held an accompanist Fellowship position since 2015 - 2017. Winner of the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards, Oliver made his concerto debut at the age of 14 with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
He won top prize in the 2014 Brant International Piano Competition in Birmingham, England, and has also been recipient of major prizes at the London Beethoven Intercollegiate Piano Competition, ANU Chopin International Piano Competition, Southern Highlands International Piano Competition, Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition and Festival, Yamaha National Piano Competition, and the Australian National Piano Award.
Oliver has performed widely across Australia and in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, and Korea. Notable appearances include a chamber performance in London’s Wigmore Hall in 2015, a concerto with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House in 2012, and concerto performances with the Queensland Symphony and RNCM Symphony Orchestras.
He has also performed in music festivals both in Australia and abroad, and has been featured on ABC Classic FM and TV on several occasions.
Rachael Shipard 21, Queensland
Twenty-one year old Brisbane resident, Rachael Shipard, graduated from her Bachelor of Music (Advanced Performance) in 2016 summa cum laude with the University Medal from Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. She is presently undertaking her Masters of Music Research under the tutelage of Natasha Vlassenko. Recently Rachael was invited to perform at the Canberra International Music Festival and was a prize-winner at the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition.
Rachael was selected and sponsored by the Conservatorium to attend the Moscow Conservatory Winter School in early 2018. She won the Queensland Piano Competition and made her concerto debut in 2015, plus winner of numerous Conservatorium academic and performance awards; including the prestigious 2017 Theme and Variations Foundation Scholarship and the Ena Williams Award for Postgraduate Study Overseas.
She frequently gives recitals and has had masterclasses with pianists Roger Woodward, Peter Donohoe, Alexander Strukov, Peter Hill, Roy Howat, Piers Lane, Vladimir Tropp and Gil Garburg. Rachael is also passionate about piano duo, chamber and sacred music, and she hopes to enrich the lives of others with the music she brings to a wide range of audiences.
Robbin Reza 23, New South Wales
Australian Pianist Robbin Reza (23 years old) completed a Bachelor of Performance with First Class Honours at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. There, he studied with Daniel Herscovitch from 2007 till 2016. From October 2017, Robbin commenced a Master’s Degree with Claudio Martinez-Mehner and Nina Tichman at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln in Germany. Robbin gave his first public recital at the age of 11 for the launch of the 9th Sydney International Piano Competition.
He was the winner of the 2011 Ku-Ring-Gai Philharmonic Orchestra’s Secondary Schools Concerto Competition – Senior Section, and the 2016 Sydney Conservatorium Concerto Competition, performing concerti by Carl Vine and Scriabin. He also has a keen interest in Contemporary Music and performed at the Australian Premiere of Elliot Carter’s Conversations in 2010.
In 2013, Robbin represented NSW as a finalist in the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards and has also been selected as a semi- finalist in the 2018 competition.
Robbin has been supported by scholarships from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (Bessie Cook Scholarship), The Theme and Variations Foundation, DAAD, and the Mendelssohn Scholarship (Mendelssohn Akademie Leipzig). He has participated in Masterclasses with Stephen Hough, Alexey Sokolov, Arie Vardi, Jacques Rouvier and Dan Zhaoyi.
Longjie (Roger) Cui 29, Queensland
Longjie (Roger) Cui is a Shanghai born, Australian pianist who has moved around the world following his musical passion and studies. He and his wife are based in Brisbane where Roger is currently doing his PhD at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music under the tutelage of Senior Lecturer Ms. Natasha Vlassenko and Prof. Dr. Stephen Emmerson. Prior to this he has spent eight years in Germany, which included two years of Masters of Music at the University of Music in Karlsruhe, Germany under Prof. Dr. h.c. Kalle Randalu.
When he completed his Masters Degree, with the highest Distinctions possible from the German University, he was signed by a concert agent in Berlin and relocated to Hamburg.
For four years Roger Cui was sponsored as a “Young Artist” at the Yamaha European Headquarters in Hamburg. This year he was invited to return to Queensland by the Griffith University to pursue a Doctor of Musical Arts degree.
Roger has been a prize winner at various national and international piano competitions, these include the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition, Petrov National Piano Competition, Cleveland International Piano Competition, Kerikeri International Piano Competition, J.S. Bach International Piano Competition in Berlin.
Last year, with his Business partner, Roger established the Ladybugs Studio in
Hamburg, which specialises in Film Music Scoring, Sound Engineering and Sample
Timothy Chiang 30, Victoria
Timothy Chiang began his musical studies at the age of five, learning the piano from his mother, and the violin at the age of nine with Brian Blake. From an early age winning numerous prizes, he was awarded a music and academic scholarship to Scotch College (Melbourne) in 2000, where he then continued studying the piano with Mikhail Solovei, and the violin with Leonid Zeyde in 2002.
Timothy has been awarded the LMusA, LRSM and FTCL (piano), and LMusA (violin). He made his orchestral debut at the age of fourteen playing Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 1 in Melba Hall, Melbourne Conservatorium, and also performed Liszt’s Piano Concerto No 1 in Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne.
Timothy has been broadcast live on 3MBS ‘Fine Music’ 103.5 FM. He has won numerous prizes in classical piano competitions including 3rd Prize at the IV International Piano Competition ‘ClaMo Región de Murcia’ 2018, 2nd Prize in the 2017 Salzburg ‘Grand Prize Virtuoso' International Music Competition, 3rd Prize in the 2017 Rising Stars Grand Prix International Music Competition Berlin, and was also a finalist in the 2017 Feurich International Piano Competition, plus he competed in the 2016 Australian National Piano Award. He currently studies with Mikhail Solovei.
Vatche Jambazian 30, New South Wales
Vatche Jambazian is an emerging international concert pianist originally from Sydney, Australia. He made his international Debut at the age of 16 in Yerevan, Armenia performing a televised recital as part of the Independence Day celebrations. Vatche is prizewinner in the Los Angeles International Piano Competition and the Australian National Piano Award.
Last year Vatche completed a Masters Degree at The Juilliard School with Joseph Kalichstein and Jerome Lowenthal and is currently undertaking his Doctorate in Musical Arts at Manhattan School of Music with Daniel Epstein.
Recent performances have taken him to London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Hobart, Sydney and Spain where he has collaborated with artists such as Narek Arutyunian, Sue-Ellen Paulsen and Susan Collins, he has also collaborated with Orava Quartet. Vatche recently performed Kaija Saariaho’s Light and Matter Trio for Axiom and the Rolex Arts Initiative Program working alongside Kaija Saariaho.
When in London he performed works of Handel and Bach, Solo recitals in the Foundling Museum, 1901 Arts Club South London Concert Series, The Royal College of Music (London), Hobart Town Hall (Tasmania), and then invited as Guest Performer, Adjudicator and Professor at The Piano Institute in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Vatche has also performed at The Sydney Opera House, Alice Tully Hall, City Recital Hall Angels Place (Sydney), The Great Hall of Sydney University, The Independent Theatre (Sydney), Shepparton Performing Arts Centre (Victoria), Sydney Conservatorium of Music, La Petit Trianon (San Jose), Museum Kranenburgh (Holland) and St.Croix (Paris), Paul Hall (New York) and Alice Tully Hall Lincoln Center. Vatche has been featured on ABC Classic FM (Sydney), Fine Music Station 2MBS (Sydney) and WQXR Radio (New York).
Ten years ago Vatche was awarded the Fine Music Station Young Performer of the Year and was a finalist in the 2015 Symphony Australia Young Performer of The Year.