ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards

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The ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards is the current name of a classical music competition for young people that has been run annually since 1944. It is generally considered the most prestigious Australian classical music competition not restricted to a single instrument.

It is conducted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in conjunction with Symphony Australia (a trading name of Symphony Services Australia Limited, a non-profit arts organisation that operates both domestically and internationally).


The competition has had a number of names throughout its history. [1]

  • It was founded in 1944 by the then Australian Broadcasting Commission as a set of six state-based competitions.
  • In 1950 it was given the name ABC Concerto and Vocal Competition.
  • In 1968 it became known as the ABC Instrumental and Vocal competition.
  • In 1987 it was renamed the ABC Young Performers Awards.
  • In 1997 the Concerts Division of the ABC devolved to become Symphony Australia, and the competition was then known as the Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards.
  • In 2005 after a corporate restructure within Symphony Australia, the competition was rebranded as the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards.


The structure of the competition has also undergone numerous changes. Initially, there were six state-based competitions, with no overall winner. In 1949, the six state winners competed for the Commonwealth final for the first time. In 1950, singers and instrumentalists were separated. In 1968 a Preliminary Recital stage was introduced and the instrumental categories were divided into Keyboard and Other. In 1978, four categories were introduced: Vocal, Orchestral Strings, Keyboard, and Other Instrumental.

In 1981 came an award for the most outstanding competitor, their prize including concerts with ABC orchestras. In 1986 the State finals were converted to four category finals.[2]

In 2002 the vocal division of the competition was disbanded and the award transferred over to the Australian Singing Competition.

As of 2013, all entrants are exposed to Preliminary Auditions which are held in each state, from which 12 finalists are chosen by the judges irrespective of their instrument. All 12 finalists play in the Recital round; six are chosen to proceed to the Chamber Music round; and three contest the Concerto round. One of these three is chosen as the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year.[3] The chamber and concerto rounds are hosted each year by a different state orchestra of Australia, 2013's awards will be hosted by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

The awards are broadcast on ABC Classic FM and ABC television.

The winner of the 2012 competition was the violinist Katerina Nazarova.[4]

Notable competitors[edit]

The Young Performers Awards and its predecessors have featured some of the best known names in the Australian classical music scene. They include:


External links[edit]