Strike A Chord is a new initiative developed by Musica Viva Australia for its 75th anniversary in 2020, with support from Creative Victoria and presented in partnership with Melbourne Recital Centre and the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), together with major media partner ABC Classic.
Victorian Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley said, ‘The Victorian Government is proud to support Strike A Chord, which will bring Australia’s best young ensembles to the best place to hear music – Melbourne Recital Centre.’
‘Hosting this national event is another reason why Victoria is the creative state. We look forward to welcoming the next-generation in music and giving emerging performers the platform to explore and develop their potential.’
Secondary-school ensembles from across Australia are encouraged to apply by Thursday 21 May 2020. Twelve aspiring groups will be chosen to perform for a live audience and expert jury in the Melbourne Recital Centre during a Finals Weekend from 4-6 September, competing for cash and development prizes.
The annual championship is open to ensembles of between three and eight players in any vocal or instrumental combination performing music that is ‘classical’ in style. Groups should be full-time secondary school students (or home school equivalent) and have only one player or singer per part, with no conductor.
To encourage students from every corner of the country to apply, first round auditions are via video submission, recorded in front of a live audience of fifteen or more people. Chamber music specialists, Elizabeth Sellars (Sutherland Trio) and Stefan Cassomenos (PLEXUS) will select the twelve semi-finalists, from at least six states or territories.
‘We hope to hear groups of all kinds, from all over Australia,’ says Musica Viva’s Artistic Director, Competitions, Wilma Smith. ‘Young musicians at every level of musical development can enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of fine-tuning a piece of music together and performing it for their friends and family.’
There are major incentives to get involved. Cash prizes for First Prize – The Robert Salzer Prize ($5,000), Second Prize – The Paul Morawetz Prize ($4,000) and Third Prize ($2,500) will be awarded at the conclusion of the Finals Weekend on 6 September. The audience will also have a chance to vote for the winner of the Audience Prize ($2,000) throughout the Finals Weekend.
Created to encourage the next generation of Australian musicians to experience the life-changing possibilities of chamber music, Strike A Chord will give students the opportunity to explore their potential and discover the joy in making music with friends, whatever their level of ability.
The jury are looking forward to receiving entries from groups at all musical skill levels, with several encouragement and development prizes to be awarded during early rounds of the championship to promising entrants regardless of progression to the semi-finals. The ANAM Prize, Melbourne Recital Centre Regional Prize, AMEB Emerging Ensemble Encouragement Award, Australian Composition Prize and Casio Prize will all offer entrants at various stages of the championship opportunities to win coaching, music supplies, concert tickets and additional cash prizes.
Musica Viva are also thrilled to be partnering with ABC Classic to broadcast the finals live on national radio, share the stories of entrants from across Australia and provide further opportunities to the winning group through Australia’s only national classical radio network.
‘The importance of music in the lives of young people is undeniable, and so too is the inspiration we all take from witnessing the joy and talent of aspiring performers,’ says ABC Classic Content Manager, Toby Chadd. ‘We’re delighted to be working with Musica Viva to both champion the most brilliant of the new generation and encourage everyone to take part in music-making.’
‘Across the coming months, ABC Classic will come alive with the performances and stories of young musicians from all over Australia, as we bring their music-making to a national and international audience both on the radio and online.’