Lily Higson Spence on stage at Sydney Eisteddfod. Photo:WinkiPoP Media
The standard of playing in the final of the 2015 Sydney Eisteddfod NSW Drs Orchestra Scholarship at the Sydney Conservatorium on August 21 strongly suggested the future of classical music in Australia is in good hands. Open to instrumentalists in the 16-to-25 age group, this $8,000 scholarship is now in its 10th year. Originally offered under the Nelson Meers Foundation banner, it has been generously sponsored by the NSW Drs Orchestra since 2010 and previous winners are either already making careers in music or excelling in studies abroad.
The six finalists all performed superbly, and although three cellists featured in the final, Johanna Blake, Vincent Lo and Francis Yoon, all performed works by different composers. There were no repeats, flautist Chloe Chung, violinist Lily Higson-Spence and classical guitarist Ciaran Edwards-McKeown who completed the final line-up provided contrast in a program the audience thoroughly enjoyed.
The six finalists all performed superbly, and genuinely impressed by their performance, adjudicators Christina Leonard and Dr Andrew Kennedy were adamant all were worthy of the prize. They regretted there could be only one winner, but at the end of the night, it was the youngest finalist Lily Higson-Spence who went home with scholarship.
Accompanied by her mother Lana Higson, who won the City of Sydney Eisteddfod Piano Scholarship in 1992, Lily scored her victory playing Debussy’s Sonata for Violin & Piano i. Allegro vivo, Nocturne by Australian composer Margaret Sutherland and Ravel’s evocative Tzigane. Lily, who studies with Robin Wilson, is now preparing to compete in the 2015 final of the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year Awards.