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 2016 competition:
Ben Austin 25, Tasmania
Ben is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Music Performance at the Melbourne Conservatorium studying with Professor Ian Holtham, receiving an Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship. He graduated in 2012 from the Queensland Conservatorium with a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours, studying under Natasha Vlassenko.
In 2014, Ben was guest soloist at the Cairns Winter Music School under the direction of UK conductor Mark Eager. In 2012 he won first Prize in the Australian Society of Keyboard Music competition and the Brisbane Club Award. In the third year of his degree, Ben was runner‐up in the 2011 Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition, also winning prizes for best performance of a Russian Work, Prelude and Fugue, and Virtuoso Study. Ben was a State Representative at the MBS Young Performers Award 2011 and was a guest artist at the 25th Tyalgum Festival of Classical Music.
Berta Brozgul 26, Victoria
Berta Brozgul graduated from the Mozarteum in Salzburg with Highest Honours for the undergraduate as well as the masters performance program. South African born, Berta moved to Australia at the age of 11. She attended the specialist music school VCA in Melbourne and won all awards for solo and chamber music. She is the recipient of the Margaret Schofield prize for best music student in the state of Victoria in 2007.
Currently a student at the Australian National Academy of music studying with Timothy Young, she has participated in masterclasses by Frank Wibaut, Yvonne Loriod, John Lill, Boris Berman, Steven Hough and Paavali Jumpaanen.
Berta has broadcast live on ABC and 3MBS radio. In 2010 she completed the mastercourse at the international Euro Arts Festival in Klosterneuburg, Austria. Recordings include ‘Liederabend’ with tenor Christopher Saunders and Bach Keyboard concerti with the Mozarteum Orchestra. Major performances for 2014 included participation in Horowitz Centenery celebrations and complete Chopin Preludes in Florence and Salzburg.
Timothy Chiang 28, Victoria
Finalist in 2016 Award
Timothy began learning the piano at the age of five with his mother Nancy Chiang, and the violin at age of nine with Brian Blake. From an early age, he won numerous awards and first prizes in various Eisteddfods.
In 2000, he was awarded a music and academic scholarship to Scotch College (Melbourne) and continued his piano studies with Mikhail Solovei. In 2002 he continued studying the violin with Leonid Zeyde. Whilst at Scotch College, Timothy obtained the LMusA (piano), LRSM (piano), LMusA (violin), and performed Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No1, and Liszt’s Piano Concerto No1 with the Scotch College Symphony Orchestra. He was also their Leader of the Symphony Orchestra and String Orchestra in 2005.
Kathy Chow 22, Victoria
Finalist in 2016 Award
Kathy Chow graduated with first class Honours in piano performance at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, studying with Glenn Riddle. She has performed at venues including the Melbourne Recital Centre, Iwaki Auditorium and the Government Ballroom of Western Australia, and has participated in masterclasses with Joanna MacGregor and Steven Osborne.
Peter de Jager 26, New South Wales
Finalists in 2016
25 year old Pianist/Harpsichordist/Composer Peter de Jager is one of Australia's most exciting musicians. His repertoire is diverse, stretching from early music to standard and contemporary repertoire, as well as cabaret and music theatre.
He has three times attended the Lucerne Festival Academy, directed by Pierre Boulez, and in 2011 was the first winner of the Australian International Chopin Competition. He also was awarded fifth place and best Australian competitor at the Southern Highlands International Piano Competition in 2013.
His compositions are starting to gain attention, with recent commissions by Astra, the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, and Speak Percussion. He joins Oboist Ben Opie on the album French Oboe Sonatas, which has recieved critical acclaim, and a solo album is forthcoming. He co-wrote Reception: The Musical with actor/writer Bethany Simons, which has been delighting audiences Australia-wide, and was nominated for a Green Room Award.
Joshua Hooke 23, Victoria
Finalist in 2016
Originally from country Victoria, Josh completed his secondary schooling at Wonthaggi Secondary College, where he received a perfect 50 for VCE music, and in turn was awarded the Margaret Scholfield Memorial Scholarship for music performance and a VCE Premier’s Award for music. Currently, Josh is completing Master’s of Music Performance at the University of Melbourne, under the guidance of Professor Ian Holtham. Since being at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, he has received a number of awards and prizes, including the Doris Chandler Bursary, the Phyllis Judd/Therese de Kretser Memorial scholarship and the Gwen Nisbet scholarship among others, and has twice been awarded the Lady Turner Prize. Recently he was awarded the Lady Elizabeth McComas Piano Scholarship, a traveling scholarship that enabled a period of intensive study in Vienna with Paul Badura-Skoda.
Tony Lee 24, New South Wales
Sydney born pianist Tony Lee has appeared as soloist with orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic, Brussels Philharmonic, Samara Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony, Queensland Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony and given recitals across Europe, USA, China, New Zealand and Australia.
Tony has been a soloist in residence at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Belgium under the direction of Maria-João Pires since 2014.
Tony is the top prizewinner of ten national and international piano competitions including the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition, Louise Henriette International Piano Competition, Scriabin International Piano Competition (Paris), Adilia Alieva International Piano Competition, Norwegian Youth Music Competition (UMM) and the Australian Youth Classical Music Competition among others.
Michael Li 22, Victoria
22-year old Michael Li commenced piano studies at the age of 4 and has been a student of Glenn Riddle since 2006. He has received many accolades, including LMusA with Distinction (2008), inaugural winner of the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Richard Mills Bach Prize (2010), and winner of the Preston Symphony Orchestra Concerto Prize (2012). In 2014, Michael was a finalist in the prestigious ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards, where his performances in the Recital Round and Chamber Music Round were broadcast nationally on ABC Classic FM. Alongside his piano studies, Michael also pursues his medical and research interests at the University of Melbourne.
Aaron Liu 23, Queensland (Melbourne born)
Melbourne-born Aaron Liu completed his Bachelor of Music in Advanced Performance (Honours) at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 2013 with Oleg Stepanov. During his undergraduate degree, he was awarded prizes each year for achieving the highest mark in performance. He has holds a Master of Music in Performance at the Queensland Conservatorium.
Winner of the 2015 Melbourne Recital Centre Great Romantics Competition, Aaron was also the first prize recipient in the 2015 Australian Society of Keyboard Music National Open Piano Competition. Additionally, he was a finalist in the 2015 ABC Young Performers Awards. Other prizes have included winning the 2014 Australian Youth Classical Music Competition, Yamaha Australian Youth Piano Competition, Queensland Piano Competition, Yamaha Recitals Scholarship, and many other awards.
Oliver She 25, Queensland
Chinese-born Australian pianist Oliver She was raised in Brisbane, where he received his AMEB Licentiate Diploma during his school years. He completed undergraduate studies with Max Olding and Pamela Page at the University of Queensland, graduating with first-class Honours. He was prize winner in the ANU Chopin, Lev Vlassenko and Southern Highlands competitions, won the national ABC Young Performers Awards, and has made appearances at Parliament House, the Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Recital Centre, and Arts Centre Brisbane and Gold Coast.
In 2015, Oliver graduated with a Master’s from the Royal Northern College of Music, having studied with Graham Scott and generously supported by the F. W. Wright Award and the Australian Music Foundation. His accolades include winning the RNCM Beethoven, Recital and Concerto prizes, the London Beethoven Intercollegiate Competition, and the Brant International Competition in Birmingham, and performances in Birmingham, Nottingham, Bath, and with the RNCM symphony orchestra.
Nicholas Young 25, New South Wales (now living in Melbourne)
Nicholas Young completed his Bachelor of Music (Performance) with Daniel Herscovitch at Sydney Conservatorium in 2013 with First Class Honours and University Medal, and graduated from Master Solo Piano with Distinction at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg in 2015, studying with Claudius Tanski. He is currently continuing studies with Timothy Young at the Australian National Academy of Music. Nicholas has regularly performed throughout Australia and Europe, appearing as soloist with the West Australian, Queensland, Adelaide and Willoughby Symphony Orchestras, and his performances have been broadcast by Fine Music FM and ABC Classic FM.