Australia’s Richest Award for Rising Classical Pianists

One young musician is poised to win the prestigious title of Australian National Piano Award winner in September, when 12 of the nation’s best classical pianists battle it out (musically) over six days and nights in Shepparton.

The Governor of Victoria, the Honourable Alex Chernov AC QC today announced the finalists for the 11th biennial Australian National Piano Award for 2012 of which he is Patron-in-Chief.

Aged between 21 and 35 years, the 12 young musicians will contest for the top honour, along with national recognition, concert engagements and $60,000 in cash and prizes in total.

The Australian National Piano Award was conceived twenty years ago by a small but passionate arts community in the city of Shepparton, the heart of rural Victoria.  This group invited Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE and other valued sponsors and patrons to get behind this unique series which started as a good idea and the purchase of a $240,000 Steinway Grand.

Held every two years, this Award is now considered the nation’s premier piano competition. It attracts musicians of the highest calibre, the services of international judges and a dedicated group of music lovers and high profile supporters.

This Award continues to be staged over a week in Shepparton, where the thriving arts culture, appreciative audiences and professional concert stage create a thrilling and emotional atmosphere for the young competitors and audiences alike.

This year’s finalists hail from the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia:


  • Daniel De Borah (31 years)
  • Yiyun (Yvonne) Gu (27 years)
  • Jennifer Li (22 years)
  • Jisook Noh (24 years)


  • Ben Austin (21 years)
  • John Fisher (27 years)
  • Oliver She (21 years

New South Wales

  • James Guan (21 years)
  • Anne Veinberg (25 years)
  • Nicholas Young (21 years)


  • Jonathan Wilson (26 years)

South Australia

  • Michael Ierace (28 years)

The competition requires the musicians to perform up to four recitals each.  They will be judged on technical mastery, style, emotional and intellectual interpretations.  This year the National Piano Award will be adjudicated by a panel of three internationally recognised pianists; Ian Munro (Australia), Betty Vergara-Pink (Germany) and Matthew Kam (United Kingdom).

The total value of prizes on offer is $60,000.

  • 1st prize - $20,000
  • 2nd prize - $10,000
  • 3rd prize - $5,000

Plus there is a NEW People’s Choice Prize of $5,000.

In addition to the above, the Award offers 4 x special prizes of $1,000 each for the performances of the music of Bach or Mozart, Haydn or Beethoven, Chopin and music written after 1950. Winners may be offered recital performances, substantial travel bursaries and other engagements (after the completion of the Award).

Participants are billeted in the homes of generous Shepparton families – it is a week of making beautiful music and friends and experiencing country hospitality and red carpet treatment at its finest – all part of the Australian National Piano Award experience.

The winner for 2010, Jocelyn Ho flew in from New York for the launch announcement at Government House. In the past two years she has experienced many career successes, including the release of her first album “Luminous Sounds” (recording prize from the Award) and she has been recognised in the Who’s Who of Australian Women 2012 and “Young Steinway Artist”.

“I have not been to any other competition where everyone is so warm and encouraging. All musicians are nurtured and encouraged to shine – the week in Shepparton is a balance of intensely performing at a high level and socialising with the musicians and locals. It’s a unique, fantastic experience”, says Jocelyn Ho.

These inspiring and breathtaking recitals are performed from Monday 10th September and end with the Grand Final on Saturday September 15th. Every competitor will consider themselves a winner until the last note is played at the Eastbank Auditorium in the heart of this warm and welcoming town.

The Australian National Piano Award Patrons-in Chief are the Governor of Victoria, the Honourable Alex Chernov AC QC and Mrs Elizabeth Chernov. Its major benefactor is City of Greater Shepparton. The Award is governed by an Honorary Board of Directors and its Artistic Director, Professor Max Cooke OAM.