Music making of the highest calibre blows away both judges and audience, and we have a WINNER!

Considered the most unique and prestigious event of its kind in Australia for under 35 year old classical pianists, the Australian National Piano Award 2014 has a winner. Alex Raineri (first prize); Daniel Le (second) and John Fisher (third prize), plus more was on offer for the pianists last night.

21 year old Alex Raineri from Queensland won this national piano competition, performing to a full house in the Eastbank Auditorium in Shepparton, Victoria last night. Alex Raineri took out the first prize of $25,000 plus other cash prizes and he said, “This is such an honour and a privilege, it’s been a huge week for all of us and I’m really thrilled to be standing here”. Second place was awarded to Daniel Le (21 yrs) from Victoria and Third place was awarded to John Fisher (29yrs) from Queensland.

Adjudicators Paul Bedura Skoda,  Murray Mclachlan and Wendy Lorenz were united in their decision of place-getters.  McLachlan said, “Alex Raineri is a born communicator with enormous gifts. His understanding and projection of phrasing, colour and characterisation marks him out as an outstanding young artist with a huge international career ahead.   Daniel Le is a deeply thoughtful, intelligent and considered artist who always brings stylistic flair, sensitivity and integrity to all that he performs.   John Fisher has a phenomenal, extraordinary facility and is a leonine virtuoso who shows infallible control and remarkable pianistic prowess”.

Thirteen pianists came to Shepparton and the sensational music performed on the concert grand Steinway was impressive all week.  So much so, that the three jurors - Paul Badura-Skoda (Vienna), Murray McLachlan (United Kingdom) and Wendy Lorenz (Australia) - remarked that all contestants should be proud of their presentations throughout the week.  It had to come down to determining the ultimate winner on Saturday evening and the allocation of prizes is as follows: 

  • Alex Raineri - FIRST PRIZE - Total Value $25,000 
    $20,000 - The City of Greater Shepparton Prize plus a bursary of
    $5,000 for further music career development – The Daphne and Ross Turnbull Bursary    
  • Daniel Le - SECOND PRIZE - Total Value $13,000
    $10,000 - The Gaye and John Gaylard Prizeplusa bursary of
    $3,000 for further music career development – The Daphne and Ross Turnbull Bursary
  • John Fisher - THIRD PRIZE - Total Value $7,000
    $5,000 - The Beleura John Tallis Prizeplus a bursary of
    $2,000 for further music career development – The Daphne and Ross Turnbull Bursary 

David Soo from Victoria won $5,000 - The Andreadis Family Australian Composition Prize, for the best performance of music written in or after 1951. David Soowill receive $5,000 to commission a work by an Australian composer, with the intention that the work be performed by the recipient.

Ben Austin from Tasmania won $5,000 – The Lorna Speechley Memorial Prize for the People’s Choice, donated by Dr. Ron Speechley, in memory of his wife, Lorna Speechley.

The ten other finalists who performed in their required recital sessions each received $500, courtesy of Mark Renehan.

Special Prizes were also awarded to: Daniel Le won $1,000 - The Shepparton News Prize, for the best performance of the music of Bach  

Alex Raineri won $1,000 - The Leona and Bruce Sterling Prize, for the best performance of the music of Haydn or Mozart or Beethoven

Daniel Le $1,000 - The Pam Wells Prize, for the best performance of the music of Chopin

Berta Brozgul from Victoria $1,000 - The Horton Family Prize, for the best performance of music from the Romantic era (excluding Chopin) or from the first half of the 20th century. ABC Classic FM recorded the semi and grand-final recitals will be aired nationally From 2pm onwards through their radio network on Sunday September 14.  Winning this internationally recognised Award boosts careers and reputations locally and overseas.  The 34 recitals were performed during the afternoons and nights, in a magnificent concert hall and to a paying audience, over the days Monday September 8 to Saturday September 13.

The Award is funded by the City of Greater Shepparton and other valued sponsors.  It is also supported by philanthropic organisations, private donors, local government, business and the community at large - 2014 marks the 12th biennial presentation of the Australian National Piano Award, held in Victoria’s regional and culturally diverse town of Shepparton.  The contestants stayed with local host families for the week.

All pianists performed tworecitals, then five pianists were selected for the semi-final, demonstrating their understanding and range of skills; technical mastery, style, emotional and intellectual interpretations of the following musical styles: From Baroque music up to and including J.S. Bach, Classic music after J.S. Bach, including the music of Beethoven or Schubert, French Impressionistic music and all music of the 20th Century up to 1950 to Contemporary music composed after 1950.  Plus, entrants had to include one Australian work in their first or second recital.   A limited edition CD recording of highlights will be produced in the near future.

Past winners:

  • 1992: Catherine Davis, New South Wales & Mark McGee, Victoria
  • 1994: Clemens Leske Jnr., South Australia
  • 1996: Mark Kruger and Lance Coburn, Queensland
  • 1998: Edit Golder, Victoria
  • 2000: Kristian Chong, Victoria & Kenji Fujimura, Victoria
  • 2002: Anna Carson, Queensland & Richard Jackson, Victoria
  • 2004: Matthew Kam, Victoria
  • 2006: Amir Farid, Victoria
  • 2008: Jayson Gillham, Queensland
  • 2010: Jocelyn Ho, Sydney, New South Wales
  • 2012: Daniel de Borah, Victoria

And now

  • 2014: Alex Raineri from Queensland