Young Musicians Shine in Prestigious Music Competition

Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra’s 39th NSW Secondary Schools Concerto Competition winners announced

Willoughby resident and Wenona Girls’ School student, Hayley Lau, emerged as the overall winner of the 39th NSW Secondary Schools Concerto Competition. The event took place at the Concourse Concert Hall in Chatswood and showcased the extraordinary talents of young musicians.

Lau’s captivating rendition of the renowned Paganini Sonata per la Grand Viola not only earned her the judges’ acclaim but also captured the hearts of the audience. She was also presented with the orchestra’s award for the best musician in rehearsal. The prestigious competition featured six individual finalists and an impressive duo, all accompanied by the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Artistic Director Paul Terracini. Esteemed adjudicators from the Australian music scene, including former SSO principal horn Robert Johnson and violin virtuoso Emily Sun, evaluated the performances.

Open to secondary school students in years 7-12 from schools across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, the competition attracted over 100 entrants this year. Since its inception in 1984, it has consistently provided invaluable performance opportunities for young musicians, acting as a stepping-stone to national and international success. Renowned personalities in the music world, such as Amy Dickson, Natalie Chee, Grace Clifford, Simon Tedeschi, and Anna da Silva Chen, have all graced the winners’ list in previous years.

Hayley Lau, the deserving winner, received a prize of $5000 and a concert engagement with the KPO in 2024. Other award recipients included Clara Moloney of Leichhardt & Fort St High, who received the Barbara Cran Award as the junior runner-up for her outstanding cello performance of Elgar’s concerto, and Teresa Yang of Strathfield and Meriden Girls’ High, who was honored with the Barbara Robinson Award as the senior runner-up for her captivating violin rendition of Korngold’s concerto.

Isabelle Teo of Roseville (Queenwood) and Nicole Wang of Mosman (Wenona) were jointly presented with the Multiple Instrumental Award of $400 for their remarkable performance of Gran Duo Concertante for Violin and Double bass by Giovanni Bottesini. Hayley Lau also received the KPO Player’s Award, worth $500, for her exceptional work in rehearsal.

The remaining finalists, Sharon Zhao of Cherrybrook (Meriden Girls School), Titan Sclavenitis of Surry Hills (Conservatorium High), and Sean Weatherley of Wollstonecraft (Sydney Grammar), were each awarded $250 vouchers and Musica Viva Concert Tickets as recognition of their brilliant performances.

The NSW Secondary Schools Concerto Competition continues to inspire and showcase the immense talent of young musicians, providing a platform for them to flourish and pursue their musical aspirations on a broader scale.