Alex Zhang wins Australian National Piano Award as major floods inundate Shepparton

Australian-National-Piano-Award-Alex-Zhang-photo-by-James-HarrisonWith less than an hour before the semi-final, the Australian National Piano Award Board moved Saturday’s grand-final a day earlier due to the imminent flood risks in Shepparton, that inundated the town over the weekend.

Based on advice from the Greater Shepparton City Council, the Award Board decided to collapse the semi-final with the grand final and prize presentation.

Five Award semi-finalists were scheduled to play solo recitals on Friday, where the adjudicators would choose three pianists to perform in the grand final on Saturday.

Instead, the grand final was moved to Friday 14 October 2022 with five pianists and the Award adjudicators announcing the Award prize recipients.

“Our priority is to ensure the safety of all our finalists, adjudicators, audiences, partners and other stakeholders. While this news was sudden, we appreciated everyone’s support and patience as we promptly managed these changes,” said Award Board President and co-founder, Darryl Coote.

Last week, nine Award finalists from across Australia performed solo recitals at Riverlinks Eastbank in Shepparton. The breadth of the repertoire selected was from the Baroque and Classic periods, the 19th and 20th centuries and works by Australian composers.

Award adjudicators: Stephanie McCallum, Ian Munro and Kristian Chong considered the range of technical mastery displayed as well as performance styles and characteristics, the knowledge and understanding of the national, historic and cultural context of the works presented and how performance consistency is maintained across the chosen repertoire.

For 30 years, Shepparton has played host to the Award that showcases Australian and Australian-based pianists aged 21 to 35 years. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Alex Zhang – winner of the 2022 Australian National Piano Award – photo by James Harrison

Australian National Piano Award Prize Recipients:

First Prize: Alex Zhang
$22k – The City of Greater Shepparton Prize
$5k – The Daphne and Ross Turnbull Bursary for music career development

Second Prize: Paul Cheung
$10k – The Fairley Foundation Prize
$3k – The Daphne and Ross Turnbull Bursary for music career development

Third Prize: Yasmin Rowe
$5k – The Beleura, John Tallis Prize
$2k – The Daphne and Ross Turnbull Bursary for music career development

Special Prizes:

The Max Cooke Encouragement Award: Raymond Shon
$1k – Australian National Piano Award

The Shepparton News Prize: Paul Cheung
$1k – best performance: Bach

The Leona and Bruce Sterling Prize: Bowen Li
$1k – best performance: Mozart or Beethoven

The Jenny Houlihan Prize: Alex Zhang
$1k – best performance: Haydn or Schubert

The Pam Wells Prize: Joshua Hooke
$1k – best performance: Chopin

The Horton Family Prize: Alex Zhang
$1k – best performance: Romantic era (excluding Chopin) or 20th century music up to 1950

The Andreadis Family Australian Composition Commission Prize: Paul Cheung
$5k – best performance for music composed after 1950

The Lorna Speechley Memorial Prize: Alex Zhang
$5k – best performance as voted by the audience