Congratulations to the Eureka Quartet! The Eureka Quartet were announced as the winners of Lockdown Legends competition – a special initiative held for students who were unable to participate in the inaugural Strike A Chord National Chamber Music Championship for secondary school ensembles. Six ensembles progressed to the Sunday final concert, broadcast on Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, where a jury of Australia’s leading musicians listened and deliberated, before deciding the Eureka Quartet would claim the first prize, worth $2,500.
Lockdown Legends was held as a livestreamed event, with each of the six ensembles submitting a pre-recorded audition for broadcast to a national audience. Also watching at home was a prestigious jury of Australian musicians, chaired by Artistic Director of Competitions Wilma Smith, alongside clarinettist David Griffiths; CEO of Melbourne Recital Centre, Euan Murdoch; contemporary percussionist Louise Devenish; trumpeter Rosie Turner, and pianist Timothy Young. Following their online deliberation, they awarded First Prize (the Robert Salzer Prize) to the Eureka Quartet, Second Prize (the Paul Morawetz Prize) to Miles Street 4, and Third Prize (the Laura Brown Prize) to Scotch College Horn Trio.
In announcing the winners, Smith remarked on the level of depth of talent, diligence and dedication evident in the performances from all the finalists. “Today’s Lockdown Legends Final was a stunning display of the depth of talent in Australia, and the extraordinary perseverance and dedication of our young musicians through a very tough time. Our jurors had a tremendously difficult task in choosing the three major prize-winners and I congratulate all the finalists for their inspirational achievement. The Eureka Quartet exemplified all the qualities we find in the best chamber music and we are thrilled to offer them our special congratulations.”
Hywel Sims, CEO of Musica Viva Australia, also reflected on the challenges faced by the participants who performed and offered his congratulations to all performers. “Every musician who participated in Lockdown Legends – and Strike A Chord before it – exemplifies the resilient spirit so essential in successful artists and also personifies Musica Viva’s commitment to the future of live music in Australia.”
The inaugural Strike A Chord competition was developed by Musica Viva Australia as a new annual initiative for its 75th anniversary in 2020, with support from Creative Victoria and presented in partnership with Melbourne Recital Centre and the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM). Thanks to the partnership of Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, the competition was able to pivot to an online broadcast. Crucially, generous support provided by Tom Breen (founding Patron of the National Development Program), Marjorie Nicholas OAM (Patron of the Artistic Director), and visionary support from Gandel Philanthropy, allowed the development of Lockdown Legends, enabling students who were prevented from participating in Term 3 due to state COVID 19 restrictions to showcase their musical talent, joy and dedication.
Mr Danny Pearson, Victorian State Minister for Creative Industries also extended his praises to the musicians for their hard work. “Congratulations to the students who kept practising through tough times this year and who have come together to share their love of making music. Your tenacity, passion and talent are an inspiration.” He also recognised the communities that supported these students, “and to the teachers and parents who have had your backs all the way – you are ‘Legends’ too and we owe you a great depth of gratitude.”
All Lockdown Legends entrants were eligible for a number of further Strike A Chord cash and development prizes, which were also announced by Smith at the finals. They are as follows:
Melbourne Recital Centre Regional Prize Cairns State High School Clarinet Quintet
Australian National Academy of Music Prize Cousin Quartet
Flinders Quartet Mentorship Prize:: Cousin Quartet and Eureka Quartet
Bendigo Chamber Music Festival Prize: Eureka Quartet and Scotch College Horn Trio
Australian Composition Prize: Cellolujah
Casio Prizes: Itet – John Noble’s Quartet Program, The Hamilton and Alexandra College, Trinity College, SA
For the complete list of prize winners and further details, visit: https://musicaviva.com.au/strikeachord/
Image of Eureka Quartet courtesy of Musica Viva. Eureka Quartet: Edward Walton and Grace Wu (violins) Jamie Miles (viola), and Noah Lawrence (cello)