Copland’s concerto proves the perfect choice for the 24-year-old Brisbane-born clarinettist.

Brisbane-born clarinettist Lloyd Van’t Hoff has won the Grand Final of the 2015 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards with what has been described as a stunning performance of Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto. Former QSO Chief Conductor Johannes Fritzsch conducted the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra throughout the finals at Federation Concert Hall in Hobart on Saturday night.

“I’m sincerely humbled to be considered for this incredibly significant accolade within Australia’s classical music landscape, and even more delighted to be named the winner of this year’s ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards,” said Van’t Hoff following the announcement. “I’m really looking forward to what this might mean for my journey into the future and would like to extend my gratitude to the ABC and Symphony Australia for providing this fantastic opportunity to many young Australian musicians.”

Among the prizes in what is the competition’s 71st year, the winner receives $25,000 cash as well as opportunities to perform with one of the Australian state Symphony Orchestras, media training, a photo shoot and a feature interview in Limelight magazine. The Copland concerto, written for the legendary jazz clarinettist Benny Goodman, is one of the staples of the repertoire having been recorded by everyone from Stanley Drucker to Michael Collins, Martin Fröst and Andreas Ottensamer. As the Young Performer of the Year winner, Van’t Hoff will have the opportunity to cut a professional CD and add his own interpretation to that roster.

“The Grand Finalists were all extremely talented this year, with all three performers having already achieved many significant milestones in their young musical careers,” said Kate Lidbetter, CEO of Symphony Services International. “However, there can only be one overall winner of the Awards and tonight Lloyd’s performance of Copland’s Clarinet Concerto was simply outstanding.”

After studying with Paul Dean and Floyd Williams, Van’t Hoff graduated with Honours from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 2011. He went on to study with David Thomas at the Australian National Academy of Music, where he completed an ANAM Fellowship as a member of the award-winning Arcadia Wind Quintet. He has also travelled to Europe in 2013 as Principal Clarinet of the Australian Youth Orchestra, and was awarded the AYO Accenture Australia Scholarship in the same year. Performances have included playing with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist, he has performed the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with Orchestra Victoria at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

The other two Concerto Finalists were Queensland violinist Lily Higson-Spence who won $10,000 and Sydney-born violist Chris Cartlidge who won $6000. Higson-Spence also receives the Nelly Apt Scholarship which includes a travel scholarship of up to $5,000, return transfers from Tel Aviv and a further half scholarship to attend the International Summer Mastercourse at the Keshet Eilon Music Centre in Israel.

All three finalists

Prizes awarded:
$25,000 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year  Lloyd Van’t Hoff
$10,000 each  Concerto Finalist (x2)  Chris Cartlidge, Lily Higson-Spence
$6,000  Best Chamber Music Performance  Chris Cartlidge
$6,000  Best Recital  Lily Higson-Spence
$6,000  Best Performance of an Australian Work  Chris Cartlidge
$6,000  Triffitt Prize  Lloyd Van’t Hoff
$6,000  People’s Choice

Christopher Lawrence will announce the People’s Choice winner during his Mornings show on ABC Classic FM on Monday November 9.