Nicholas Young, winner of the 2016 Allison/Henderson Sydney Eisteddfod Piano Scholarship. Photo: WinkiPoP Media
The 2016 winner of The John Allison & Sydney Eisteddfod Piano Scholarship, Nicholas Young has had a busy start to 2017 and is showing no signs of slowing down! He recently spoke to Sydney Eisteddfod about what he has been up to and what will be keeping him busy between July and September this year. He also reflected on winning The John Allison & Sydney Eisteddfod Piano Scholarship one year on.
On Sunday 16th July, Nicholas performed a solo and chamber music recital of works by the Melbourne-based composer Alan Griffiths at the Wyselaskie Auditorium, Victoria, in celebration of the composers 50th birthday. The recital featured the world premiere of three new chamber works by Griffiths and he performed alongside violinist Zoe Freisberg and cellist Gemma Tomlinson.
But this was just the start, on Friday 21st July, he will perform with Ensemble Françaix, in the second of a three-concert Fellowship Series. The core ensemble will consist of Nicholas on piano, oboist Emmanuel Cassimatis, bassoonist Matthew Kneale and Sydney harpist Natalie Wong. Together they will perform a variety of mixed ensemble works, and new works by Australian composers Peter de Jager and Natalie Wong commissioned by Ensemble Françaix, as well as Stuart Greenbaum’s Mondrian Interiors.
The following month, the ensemble will conclude the Fellowship Series with a final concert on Tuesday 22nd August. This will include the world premiere of Sydney-based composer Katia Beaugeais’ Terra Incognita, which is newly arranged for oboe, bassoon and piano; as well as a new work for mixed ensemble and percussion by German composer Hakan Ulus, again commissioned by Ensemble Françaix.
"The two concerts aim is to promote chamber music-making in the mixed ensemble setting, and particularly to highlight the relatively lesser-appreciated oboe and bassoon which, when combined with piano, form an alternative 'piano trio' that is quite different to the traditional string-piano trio" explained Nicholas.
"The addition of other instruments such as harp in the July concert and percussion in the August concert, further expands the sonic palette. The music lover can look forward to unique blends of sounds and timbres, and some brand new works from Australian and international composers written especially for this series."
September will see Nicholas return to competing in the Australian International Chopin Piano Competition, which will be held from 10th - 17th at the Australian National University in Canberra. He has been selected as one of 16 candidates for this exciting competition which celebrates not only the music of Chopin, but also the great successors that he inspired: Szymanowski, Moszkowski, Paderewski, Debussy and Busoni.
When asked to comment on what he learnt through his experience with Sydney Eisteddfod in 2016, he explained that he can not comment on that year alone as each year he competed he learnt more about himself and each year helped him prepare for his career.
"My experience in The John Allison & Sydney Eisteddfod Piano Scholarship is not summed up by my participation and win in 2016 alone - rather, this was the final chapter in my participation in the Scholarship, and Sydney Eisteddfod in general, over a number of years" said Nicholas.
"The experience has taught me the incredible value of persistence, dedication and continuing hard work in the quest for artistic excellence, and that the path of development as a musician is never defined by any individual performance or competition alone. Neither 'losses' nor 'victories' can be treated as the endpoints - instead, they are guiding beacons for subsequent growth.
In that aspect, when looking back on the Sydney Eisteddfod, and in particular The John Allison & Sydney Eisteddfod Piano Scholarship, I will always appreciate it as a vital and encouraging stepping stone in my ongoing endeavours."
Sydney Eisteddfod wishes Nicholas the best of luck with these upcoming performance and can not wait to hear of more news in the future.