The 27-year-old Brisbane-based performer took out the first prize of $27,000, plus another prize of $1,000 for the Best performance from the Romantic era, building upon his third place at the 2016 Australian National Piano Award. He was delighted to triumph amongst such an elite group of pianists.
Announcing Oliver as the winner, Professor Gerard Willems AM from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music said “The world stops, when magic moments are created on the piano … Our criteria was that the repertoire had to sound fresh, a lot of emotions shed, with love, passion, curiosity and mystery being expressed – the piano had to ‘sing’ and we heard a lot of that all week by all fourteen musicians.”
Second place was awarded to Alexander Yau (22 years) from Sydney, and Third place was awarded to James Guan (27 years) from Sydney – who also won the most popular People’s Choice prize valued at $5,000.00.
Adjudicators Lance Coburn, Joanna MacGregor and Gerard Willems were united in their decision of placegetters. Lance Coburn from the Irish Academy of Music added, “We were looking for a true communicator who transported us to the depths of our souls.”
Fourteen pianists came to Shepparton and the sensational music performed on the concert grand Steinway was more than impressive all week. So much so, that the three jurors – remarked that all contestants should be proud of their presentations. It had to come down to determining the ultimate winner on Saturday evening and the allocation of prizes is as follows:
The 2018 Australian National Piano Award Prizes:
First Prize – Oliver She (Brisbane)
The City of Greater Shepparton Prize – $22,000. The winner will be awarded also a bursary of $5,000 for further music career development – The Daphne and Ross Turnbull Bursary. Total Value: $27,000
Second Prize – Alexander Yau (Sydney)
The Fairley Foundation Prize – $10,000. The winner will be awarded also a bursary of $3,000 for further music career development – The Daphne and Ross Turnbull Bursary. Total Value: $13,000
Third Prize – James Guan (Sydney)
The Beleura, John Tallis Prize – $5,000. The winner will be awarded also a bursary of $2,000 for further music career development – The Daphne and Ross Turnbull Bursary. Total Value: $7,000
The Shepparton News Prize – $1,000
Robbin Reza (Sydney) – best performance of the music of JS Bach.
The Leona and Bruce Sterling Prize – $1,000
Alexander Yau (Sydney) – best performance of the music of Mozart or Beethoven.
The Jenny Houlihan Prize – $1,000
Robbin Reza (Sydney) – best performance of the music of Haydn or Schubert.
The Pam Wells Prize – $1,000
Josh Hooke (Melbourne) – best performance of the music of Schumann.*
The Horton Family Prize – $1,000
Oliver She (Brisbane) – best performance of music from the Romantic era (excluding Chopin) or for the first half of the 20 century.
The Andreadis Family Australian Composition Prize – $5,000
Jeremy So (Sydney) – best performance of music written in or after 1951. The winner will receive $5,000 to commission a work by an Australian composer, with the intention that the work be performed by the recipient.
The Lorna Speechley Memorial Prize for the People’s Choice – $5,000
James Guan (Sydney) – donated by Dr. Ron Speechley in memory of his wife.
All other finalists selected to play, who were not awarded first, second or third prize and who performed in all their required recital sessions, received $500 courtesy of GV Hearing Clinic.
First awarded in 1992, the Australian National Piano Award is held every two years. Previous winners have included: Catherine Davis, Lance Coburn, Anna Carson, Jayson Gillham, Jocelyn Ho, Daniel de Borah, Alex Raineri and Tony Lee. Winning this internationally recognised Award boosts careers and reputations locally and overseas.
The 2018 Australian National Piano Award took place in Shepparton: 3 – 8 September. For more information, visit: www.australianpianoaward.com.au for details.
Image: Oliver She (supplied)
Note: *this was originally a prize for best Chopin, however the judges requested the change to the prize on offer.