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ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards

YPA 2015

Applications for the 2015 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards are now closed. The national preliminary auditions will take place between January 27 and March 3. All applicants will be notified of their audition details by December 19.  For further details please download the brochure here YPA2015-broch or contact Anna Howell at

YPA 2014 Finals

On Thursday 28 August, Grace Clifford was announced the 2014 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer of the year after a spectacular performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto.

The last stage of the finals was held at the Adelaide Town Hall, with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christopher Seaman and included thrilling performances from two other finalists, Andrew Kawai (VIC) performing  the Mozart Oboe Concerto and Anna Da Silva Chen (NSW) performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.

Andrew Kawai and Anna Da Silva Chen both receive a cash prize of $7500 and Grace Clifford takes home a $25,000 cash prize, multiple copies of a CD of her winning performance, a feature interview in Limelight magazine and two concert engagements with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

The Nelly Apt Scholarship for 2014 was awarded to Anna Da Silva Chen. Anna receives a travel scholarship of up to $5,000, return transfers from Tel Aviv and a further half scholarship to attend the International Summer Mastercourse at the Keshet Eilon  Music Centre in Israel.

The following prizes were awarded;

Young Performer of the Year ($25,000): Grace Clifford

Concerto Finalist Prize ($7,500): Anna Da Silva Chen

Concerto Finalist Prize ($7,500): Andrew Kawai

Best Recital ($5,000): Grace Clifford

Best Chamber Music Performance ($5,000): Grace Clifford

People’s Choice ($5,000): Grace Clifford

Best Performance of an Australian Work ($5,000): Kiran Phatak


photo credit - Lucas Dawson 2013

photo credit – Lucas Dawson 2013

Andrew Kawai (Oboe – VIC)

Currently a Year 10 student and recipient of an academic-music scholarship at Scotch College in Melbourne, Andrew Kawai has won over 50 awards in music competitions including first prize in the Junior Section of the 2010 Australasian Double Reed Competition and first prize in the Senior Section of the 2013 Australasian Double Reed Competition. He won prizes for People’s Choice, Best Recital and Concerto Finalist in the 2013 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards.

He has performed with the Melbourne Youth Orchestra, the Australian National Academy of Music Chamber Orchestra, and as concerto soloist with the Fraternita Di Solisti Orchestra. He has performed as a soloist in France, Belgium and England.

Andrew began studying oboe at the age of ten with Seng Tong. Since his first lesson with Jeffrey Crellin in 2010, he has completed his Associate Diploma in Oboe with Distinction and Licentiate Diploma in Oboe at the age of 13. He also obtained his Associate Diploma in Cello, studying with Svetlana Bogosavljevic, and is currently preparing for the Licentiate Diploma exams in Cello and Piano, studying with his mother, Marina Rainbow.

Andrew has performed in masterclasses with Diana Doherty, Alexei Ogrintchouk, Gordon Hunt, Nicholas Daniel, Seung Eun Lee, Douglas Boyd, and Alban Gerhardt. In 2014 he received an Honourable Mention in the 67th Prague Spring International Music Competition and attended a summer school with Professor Maurice Bourgue at the L’Académie musicale de Villecroze.

Anna Da Silva ChenAnna Da Silva Chen (Violin – NSW)

Anna Da Silva Chen is currently a student in the Open Academy Rising Stars program at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where she receives a William McIlrath Charitable Foundation Scholarship. She studies with Alice Waten.

She began playing the violin at the age of eight and made her solo debut at 13 with the Beecroft Symphony Orchestra. Since then she has performed as soloist with the Sydney, Adelaide, Tasmanian and Canberra Symphony Orchestras as well as the Willoughby, North Sydney, Queensland Youth and Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestras. She gives many recitals for music societies and charities and represents the SCM Rising Stars on prestigious occasions.

In 2013 she performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and won the Overall Prize at the NSW Secondary Schools Concerto Competition, the NSW Doctors Orchestra Instrumental Scholarship, and the inaugural Ian Dunsmore Memorial Award in the Gisborne International Music Competition. She attended the Kronberg Academy Violin Masterclasses in Germany, and has in the past also participated in masterclasses with Tasmin Little, Ulf Hoelscher and Berent Korfker.

A finalist of the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards in previous years, she was a semifinalist in the 2012 Menuhin Competition and has won the Kendall National Violin Competition, Fine Music 102.5 Young Performer Award and National Youth Concerto Competition.

Anne-Marie JohnsonAnne-Marie Johnson (Violin – VIC)

Anne-Marie Johnson is currently in her second year at the Australian National Academy of Music, studying with William Hennessy. Prior to this she completed a Bachelor of Music(Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under Alice Waten.

Anne-Marie is a member of the newly formed Australian Octet and a finalist in the upcoming Dorcas McClean Travelling Scholarship Competition. In 2013 she was the winner of the ANAM concerto competition, a finalist in the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards, an Australian Chamber Orchestra Emerging Artist, and winner of the Audience Prize at the Australian Youth Classical Music Competition, where she was a national finalist in 2011 and 2012. In 2010 she was a finalist in the 2MBS Young Performers Award and in 2008 she received s Award for VCE Solo Performance and won the Preston Youth Concerto Competition.

In 2013 she performed for Christian Tetzlaff at the Melbourne Recital Centre. She has also participated in masterclasses with Tasmin Little, Arabella Steinbacher and Felix Andrievsky and in chamber music masterclasses with members of the Tokyo String Quartet, Kuss Quartet, ATOS Trio and Pieter Wispelwey. She has been tutored by members of the Doric, Carducci, Pacifica and Brodsky quartets and last year performed in the Musica Viva and Melbourne festivals with chamber groups. Her solo performances have been broadcast on 2MBS-FM, 3MBS, ABC Classic FM and Radio New Zealand.

photo credit - Friedman Wagner-Dobler

photo credit – Friedman Wagner-Dobler

Catherine Gregory (Flute – QLD)

The recipient of numerous awards including a Fulbright Scholarship, Brisbane City Council Emerging Artist’s Fellowship and the American Australian Association’s Dame Joan Sutherland Fund grant, Catherine Gregory has been a winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society Competition, James Carson Flute Competition, Carnegie Mellon University Baroque and Concerto Competitions, and the Golden Key Visual and Performing Arts Achievement Award. She has performed at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall and Weill Recital Hall, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall and at the Lincoln Center Festival. Her solo engagements have included appearances at the National Gallery of Australia, the Australian-American Fulbright Commission in Washington, D.C. and the 10th International Flute Festival of Chile.

Catherine is the current flute fellow of Ensemble ACJW, a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute in Partnership with the New York City Department of Education.

She has performed with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the Paris Opera Ballet on their Australian tour, and this season will tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. She has collaborated with such composers as Steve Reich and David Lang and played under conductors Harry Bicket, Robert Spano and David Robertson.

Catherine graduated with First Class Honours and the University Medal from the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. After receiving a Masters degree with High Distinction, she earned her Artist Diploma at Carnegie Mellon University (USA)


photo credit - Pia Johnson 2011

photo credit – Pia Johnson 2011

David Soo (Piano – VIC)

David Soo was unanimously awarded the Elisabeth Murdoch Prize at the Melbourne Recital Centre’s 2011 Great Romantics Competition. Internationally, he has been a prize-winner at the Magin International Piano Competition (Paris) and the ASEAN International Chopin Competition (Kuala Lumpur). He is also a recipient of the Zelman Symphony Orchestra’s Concerto Prize.

David is heard frequently on ABC Classic FM, 3MBS and 4MBS, and he has also given recitals in New Zealand and Indonesia. His sold-out debut recital at the Melbourne Recital Centre featured works by Beethoven, Liszt, Brahms and Scriabin.

As a soloist, he has performed concertos by Arensky, Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, as well as Australian composer John Carmichael’s Concierto Folklórico. An avid chamber musician, he has been awarded the Musical Society of Victoria’s Olwyn Game Memorial Award and the Boroondara Eisteddfod’s Margaret & Murray Sharp Memorial Chamber Music Award.

David has been studying piano with Glenn Riddle since 2005 and is currently completing a Bachelor of Music with Honours at the University of Melbourne, where his awards have included the Athenaeum Prize, the Madeleine Orr and John Hellyar piano scholarships, and the H.A. Owen and Harold Newry awards. In 2009, he was awarded a scholarship to study with the late Noël Lee.

photo courtesy of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra

photo courtesy of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra

Glenn Christensen (Violin – QLD)

Glenn Christensen currently holds the position of Principal First Violin in the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. In 2011 he was awarded a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours from the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, and was the first student ever to be awarded the three highest prizes – the Conservatorium Medal, the Music Medal and the University Medal. As well as his position with the QSO, Glenn performs on a casual basis with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, was Concertmaster for the Australian Youth Orchestra’s 2013 international tour, and was also an ACO Emerging Artist.
As a soloist, Glenn has performed with the QSO and in 2009 won every category in the Kendall National Violin Competition. He has also appeared as soloist with both the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra and the Queensland Conservatorium Chamber Orchestra, performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, which he will also perform with the QSO in 2014.

Glenn’s teachers have included Diane Powell and Michele Walsh.

Grace CliffordGrace Clifford (Violin – NSW)

Fifteen-year-old Grace Clifford began studying with Robin Wilson in the Open Academy Rising Stars program at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2009, and is currently a recipient of the PJV & MAH Cromack Memorial Scholarship.

In 2013, she won the Kendall National Violin Competition, where she also received the Bach prize, Sonata prize and Audience prize. A finalist in the Chamber Music round of the 2013 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards, she won the prize for Best Performance of an Australian Piece. In 2013 she won the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition where she received the John Hopkins Performance Fellowship and the Audience Choice Award. She also won both the National MBSFM and the Fine Music 102.5 Young Performer Award.

Other 2013 highlights include studying with Ana Chumachenco at the Kronberg Academy Masterclasses in Germany, a solo performance on the 1709 ‘Viotti’ Stradivarius at the Musica Viva Chamber Music Festival, and a tour of Australia as the first Development Artist with chamber ensemble Selby and Friends.

Previous awards include 4th prize in the Junior Section of the 2012 Menuhin Competition in Beijing and Overall Winner of the 2011 NSW Secondary Schools Concerto Competition.

In September 2014 she will begin tertiary studies at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music.

James Jae-Won Moon

James Jae-Won Moon (Piano – NSW)

James Jae-Won Moon was born in Seoul and started learning piano at the age of four. Two years later he moved to Australia and studied with Elizabeth Powell at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. After graduating from Cranbrook School, where he attended as a music scholar, he moved to Hanover in 2005. He recently completed his Konzertexamen soloklasse with Arie Vardi.

James has been a prize-winner in the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia, A.M.A. Calabria International Piano Competition, Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition and Delia Steinberg International Piano Competition. He has performed with the West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bacău Philharmonic Orchestra. He has given performances in Australia, Korea, Germany, France, Scotland, Spain, Italy, Austria, Japan and Canada.



photo credit - Pia Johnson 2014

photo credit – Pia Johnson 2014

Kiran Phatak (Flute – WA)

Perth-born Kiran Phatak studied at the Australian National Academy of Music from 2011 to 2013 under the tutelage of Margaret Crawford and Virginia Taylor. Previously, he was awarded a Bachelor of Music from the University of Western Australia where he studied with Michael Waye and Andrew Nicholson and won the Janet Anderson Prize for Woodwind, the Wesley Scholarship and the Vice-Chancellor’s Award of Distinction.

In 2014, he will complete his Honours year at the University of Melbourne, participate in a fellowship with the Arcadia Quintet at ANAM, and perform around Melbourne and Australia. He will also appear as soloist with Orchestra Victoria, performing the Chaminade Flute Concertino and Mozart’s Flute Concerto No.1 in G.

In 2013 Kiran won first prize in both the Australian International Flute Competition and the Orchestral Excerpts Competition at the Australian Flute Festival. He is a casual musician for Orchestra Victoria and the West Australian and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, and was Principal Flute of the Australian Youth Orchestra from 2010 to 2011. Kiran toured Europe with AYO in 2010 under the baton of Sir Mark Elder, and in 2011 was the recipient of the AYO Accenture Australia Scholarship.


Michael LiMichael Li (Piano – VIC)

Twenty-year-old Michael Li began piano studies at the age of four. He is currently a third-year music student and Chancellor’s Scholar at the University of Melbourne. Studying piano under Glenn Riddle since 2005, Michael has received many accolades including LMusA with Distinction (2008), inaugural winner of the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Richard Mills Bach Prize (2010), winner of the Preston Symphony Orchestra Concerto Prize (2012), and recipient of a VCE Premier’s Award for Music Performance (2012).

He has performed as a concerto soloist with the Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra, Scotch College Symphony Orchestra, Preston Symphony Orchestra, and the Old Scotch Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed in New Zealand, where he was selected to compete in the 2010 Kerikeri International Piano Competition. In 2013, he was a national finalist in the Australian Youth Classical Music Competition in Geelong. He is also an avid chamber musician, having performed in numerous piano trios and quartets, and he currently performs in a piano duo.

Before deciding to concentrate on piano, Michael also studied percussion for many years. As a percussionist, he completed his DipABRSM with Distinction in 2010, and performed with the Scotch College Symphony Orchestra for four years.

Sujin ParkSujin Park (Violin – NSW)

Sujin Park began her violin studies with Alice Waten at the Australian Institute of Music as a scholarship holder on the Young AIM program. After a two-year hiatus during which she studied law and business administration, she returned to music in 2009 to study with Goetz Richter at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Her many awards include first prize in the Dorcas McClean Travelling Scholarship Competition (2009), finalist and prize-winner in the Royal Over-Seas League Competition (2012), and first prize in the Jeunesses International Violin Competition (2012); as a semifinalist in the 2013 Michael Hill International Violin Competition she was awarded a two-year loan of a Bergonzi violin. In 2012, she was selected to take part in the London Symphony Orchestra String Experience Scheme, performing as a member of the orchestra under such conductors as Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding and John Adams. She has taken masterclasses with Ivry Gitlis, Ida Kavafian, Haim Taub and Vadim Gluzman.

Sujin received a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours in 2013 from the Royal College of Music, London, as an ABRSM Scholar. She is continuing her studies with Itzhak Rashkovsky and is now completing a Master of Performance degree at RCM as a Derek Butler Scholar supported by a Greenbank Award and a Leverhulme Postgraduate Studentship.

Sujin Park has had to withdraw from the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards due to injury.

Zoe FreisbergZoe Freisberg (Violin – QLD)

Zoe Freisberg began violin studies at the age of four under the direction of her mother, Helena Freisberg. At 13 she was awarded her AMusA with Distinction, obtaining her LMusA the following year. In 2008 and 2009 she was a recitalist in the National Youth Concerto Competition and in the Queensland Orchestra Concerto Competition. She has been a regular participant in the Australian Youth Orchestra’s National Music Camp, where she has led the Nelson Cook Chamber Orchestra and the Bishop Orchestra. She has held concertmaster positions with both the AYO and the Queensland Youth Symphony.

Whilst attending the Queensland Conservatorium, Zoe was awarded the 2010 Matilda Jane Aplin Prize and the 2012 Varda Jefferies Prize. She has been invited to play as soloist with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Corda Spiritus and the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2014 Zoe will start her first year of study at the Australian National Academy of Music as well as joining ACO2 on tour as an Emerging Artist.