The finalists for the 2019 Kawai Piano Scholarship have been announced, with Jake Cheong, Calvin Abdiel, Leanne Jin and Nicholas Kennedy competing for the $12, 000 first prize at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on August 9.

Leanne JinLeanne Jin

Two of the finalists will also be invited to compete in the 2019 Fine Music Young Virtuoso Award in October, which will be broadcast on Fine Music 102.5, while the three runners up will receive $500 each. Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, in consultation with their Artistic Director Dr Nicholas Milton AM or a representative, may offer one of the finalists a professional engagement with the WSO in the next two years.

The Sydney Eisteddfod Kawai Piano Scholarship, which has an impressive 37-year history, aims to discover and nurture the talents of young and up-and-coming pianists from the ages of 16 to 25. The prizes are sponsored by Kawai Australia and The Estate of the Late John Allison AM and first prize is split into a $2000 cash prize and a $10, 000 scholarship for contestants to further their piano careers overseas. This year’s four finalists are all students at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Jin, who has also just been announced as the winner of the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition in Brisbane, said making the finals of the Kawai Piano Scholarship is “an absolutely amazing feeling!”

“I am so honoured to be a part of this competition,” she said. “I have followed the competition closely over the last few years so to be able to be one of the finalists is utterly incredible.”

“Success in an event such as the Sydney Eisteddfod Kawai Piano Scholarship doesn’t come easily,” said fellow finalist Nicholas Kennedy. “It’s a combination of communicative flair, intelligent programming, nerves of steel and a lot of hard work. To make the finals of this competition is an honour, and I’m mightily chuffed be named among such esteemed company as the other finalists this year! It’s really exciting and really validating.”

“I feel very fortunate to have made it into the finals and extremely happy for the opportunity to compete in this event,” said Jake Cheong.

The Sydney Eisteddfod Kawai Piano Scholarship will be held at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on August 9