Sydney ensemble the Cousin Quartet has taken out the top prize in Strike a Chord, Musica Viva’s inaugural National Chamber Music Championship for secondary school ensembles. The Grand Final of the competition, which – due to the COVID-19 pandemic – was streamed online by Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, saw 12 ensembles compete from locations across six states and territories.

Strike a Chord winners the Cousin Quartet The Cousin Quartet performing at City Recital Hall. Photo courtesy of Musica Viva Australia

The Cousin Quartet, which performed live at Sydney’s City Recital Hall, took home the $5000 Robert Salzer Prize. Brisbane’s JPMS Ensemble Brilliante, a percussion ensemble, came in second, winning the $4000 Paul Morawetz Prize, as well as the $2000 audience-chosen Paul Morawetz Prize, while The Lashavi Trio from Sydney came in third, taking home the $2000 Laura Brown Prize.

“Today’s Grand Final was a stunning display of the depth of talent in all corners of Australia,” said Artistic Director Wilma Smith, who chaired the jury, which included David Griffiths, Euan Murdoch, Louise Devenish, Rosie Turner and Timothy Young. “Our five jurors...