MICMC Grand Final and Winners

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Published: 9th July, 2018

More of an announcement. than a review, a media release from the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition tells it all … Trio Marvin triumphs at MICMC 2018. (But concert pianist Hoang Pham was there for Classic Melbourne, so it’s interesting to read his brief comments ar the end of this announcement).

The ensemble took out the Grand Prize and First Prize in the Piano Trio division of the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition (MICMC) this evening at Melbourne Recital Centre after a week of thrilling performances. First Prize in the String Quartet division went to the Goldmund Quartett from Germany.

In announcing the winners, MICMC Artistic Director Wilma Smith remarked on the calibre of the 16 groups that were selected from around the globe to take part in the competition: “The standard has been exceptional, making the jurors’ decision extremely challenging,” she said. “We’ve been privileged to witness the future of chamber music taking shape right here in Melbourne. And what a future that will be!”

The winners of the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition are:

GRAND PRIZE ($30,000)

(Supported by the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
at the University of Melbourne)


Trio Marvin (Russia/Kazakhstan/Germany)



1st Prize – The Robert Salzer Foundation Prize ($30,000)

2nd Prize – The Evans Dixon Prize ($20,000)

3rd Prize – The Laura Brown Prize ($10,000)


The Audience Prize for String Quartet ($8,000)

(supported by the Druce family in memory of Peter Druce)


Quartet Commission Prize – Best Performance of Holly Harrison’s New Work ($4,000)
(supported by the Silo Collective)



Goldmund Quartett (Germany)

Eliot Quartett (Austria/Russia/Germany)

Callisto Quartet (USA)


Baum Quartett (South Korea)



Goldmund Quartett (Germany)


1st Prize – The Tony Berg Prize ($22,500)

2nd Prize – The Paul Morawetz Prize for Piano Trio ($15,000)

3rd Prize – The Musica Viva Victorian Committee Prize ($7,500)


The Audience Prize for Piano Trio ($6,000)

(supported by the Druce family in memory of Peter Druce)


Trio Commission Prize – Best Performance of Paul Stanhope’s New Work ($3,000)
(supported by the Tribe family)


Trio Marvin (Russia/Kazakhstan/Germany)

Trio Gaon (Germany/South Korea)

Amatis Piano Trio (Netherlands/Germany/UK)


Trio Gaon (Germany/South Korea)



Trio Gaon (Germany/South Korea)


The decisions were made by a prestigious international jury featuring Sonia Simmenauer, director of a leading international chamber music agency; Melbourne pianist and composer Ian Munro; Simin Ganatra, first violinist of the Pacifica Quartet; Gerhard Schulz, former second violinist of the Alban Berg Quartet; Yura Lee, solo violist, and first violinist of the Enso Quartet; Alasdair Tait, cellist, and Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT), and Kyril Zlotnikov, cellist with the Jerusalem Quartet.

“I’d like to express my heartfelt thanks to our esteemed jury, our many supporters, donors, volunteers, staff and, of course, the 56 remarkable young musicians who’ve made MICMC 2018 such a memorable and exciting week,” concludes Smith. “I’d also like to acknowledge the teachers, families and friends who’ve played such a huge role over many years to get them to this point where they can bring so much happiness to others through their playing.”

Held every four years, MICMC is one of the most prestigious events of its kind. The competition is open to string quartets and piano trios of all nationalities whose members are under the age of 35. For the first time, it was presented by Musica Viva Australia in partnership with the Australian National Academy of Music and Melbourne Recital Centre.  Visit https://musicaviva.com.au/competition for tickets and further details.

Editor’s note: Thanks to Musica Viva for this prompt information. Look on this page for the final part of Josie Vains’ blog: Where are they now? – a comprehensive round-up of previous winners of this prestigious competition. 

But first Hoang Pham’s comments on the Final recital _ and the winners!

MICMC Piano Trio Finals

Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre

Sunday 8 July 2018 at 1pm

 Reviewer: Hoang Pham

 This was my second attendance at the piano trio finals of the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition and once again, two out of the three groups (Trio Gaon and Amatis Piano Trio) performed Ravel’s Piano Trio in A minor. These were more than satisfactory performances, musical, sensitive and of course, displaying a high degree of virtuosity and cohesion throughout.

Not withstanding all the notes and its technical difficulties, the Ravel Trio displays a stunningly simple form. For this listener, it’s the emotional delivery of the form that makes the standout performance. And so I felt in this area, things could have been clearer for the listener such as the searing rise in intensity of the first movement’s development section, revealing the journey of the opening theme’s gentle piano solo to the ending that is fragmented and incredibly distant. Or in the final movement when suddenly out of thin air, the violin’s solo theme recapitulates the movement into a frenzied coda.

The group that did manage to clearly communicate the emotional form of the work they performed was Trio Marvin in a deeply probing and at times, extremely absorbing performance of the Weinberg Piano Trio Op 24. This work has an epic quality that is extremely theatrical and of course, so obviously inspired by the Shostakovich model. But it was the range of virtuosity and emotional delivery that made this the winning performance for the jury (and for me too), from the strident climaxes of the various themes to the poetic whispers of the final curtains going down in the finale, this performance was by far, the more captivating of the three.