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The Michael Kieran Harvey Scholarship has announced joint winners for the 2012 award, with the $50,000 prize shared between Australian pianists Aura Go and Adam Cook.
The judges for the biennial award could not choose between the two postgraduate piano students, splitting the prize for the first time.
The scholarship was established in 2006 with a bequest from the late Susan Mary Remington to encourage future directions in Australian piano music and to celebrate the achievements of Sydney-born pianist-composer Michael Kieran Harvey, 51, who has championed the works of Australian and contemporary composers throughout his career.
The award supports young Australian pianists "to travel overseas for a specific purpose to further or enhance their musical education".
Judges look for technical mastery of the piano, originality, imagination, creativity and a desire to pursue piano music of the 21st century.
Melbourne-born Aura Go intends to use the funds to continue her studies in Helsinki, Finland where she is researching the piano music of leading Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara. The 25-year-old pianist will also be giving recitals throughout the two-year scholarship period.
Adam Cook from Perth is planning to put his $25,000 towards his studies in France where he will be working with composer-pianist and improvisor Jean-Francois Zygel, among other luminaries. For the second year of his scholarship, the 24-year-old plans to return to Australia, where he will perform and record Zygel's works.
Michael Kieran Harvey said he is "pleased that the young recipients of the 2012 Scholarship are already profoundly creative musical thinkers and contributors to the artform of music as a universal non-destructive human medium".
Harvey added that the winners are committed to commissioning new work from Australian composers. "Their music points towards the brave future, instead of simply backwards – the antithesis of a quaint museum medium for the wealthy cognoscenti. I am confident Susan Remington, and Australia too for that matter, will be very proud of these two," he said.