An accomplished performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D has seen 16 year old Sydney talent Grace Clifford take the crown at this year’s ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Award. Clifford also took victory in two of the competition’s other rounds including the awards for Best Recital and Best Chamber Music Performance.

The Grand Final for Australia’s most prestigious prize for young musicians, which took place at Adelaide Town Hall, saw Ms Clifford go head to head with fellow finalists 16 year old oboist Andrew Kawai and 18 year old Violinist Anna Da Silva Chen, all of whom were accompanied by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Christopher Seaman. However despite all three competitors delivering outstanding performances it was Ms Clifford’s combination of technical strength and musical sensitivity that impressed the judges the most.

“Grace is a musician with formidable talent” said Kate Lidbetter, the CEO of Symphony Australia. “She shows outstanding ability in all areas of musical performance – solo recital, chamber music and concerto performance and demonstrates high technical proficiency, an understanding of the repertoire and an appreciation of musical style”


As well as the highly coveted title of Young Performer of the Year, Ms Clifford also receives and enviable list of prizes including $25,000, a CD recording deal and additional performances with the ASO, as well as other professional development opportunities.  Both the other grand finalists will receive a runners-up award of $7500. The prize for Best Performance of an Australian Work was awarded to Perth flautist Kiran Phatak, for his performance of Brett Dean’s Demons.  The Nelly Apt Scholarship, which enables a young string performer to study overseas was awarded to Anna Da Silva Chen.

Ms Clifford, who is currently on the Open Academy Rising Stars program at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music is no stranger to success at the YPAs: she was the winner of the Best Performance of an Australian Work Award at the 2013 competition. Speaking after the contest, Ms Clifford congratulated her fellow competitors, “It’s been incredible to witness, listen to and be inspired by 10 other wonderful musicians and I have learnt a lot from the experience.”  So what’s next for this Australian classical music starlet? Ms Clifford intends to use her prize money to continue her studies in America later this month.

For more information on all of this year’s ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Award finalists please visit here.

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