This year we publicised the awards to all conservatoria in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and ACT, inviting applications for assistance from our foundation.
Applications closed on October 2 and were reviewed by our independent artistic assessment panel of Professor Michael Brimer, Professor John Luxton and Roland Peelman AM.
The Theme & Variations Foundation is pleased to announce its 2020 award recipients, Joy Chen and Jake Cheong. Because of COVID-19, our assessment panel had to rely on video recordings rather than our usual requirement of live performances. However, the talent of our successful applicants came through.
Our panel was impressed by the commitment and musicianship in the programs of both pianists, commenting on their great clarity and technique, while demonstrating musical imagination.
Joy Chen is twenty years old, currently studying piano performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Dr Paul Rickard-Ford, and received the Myron Kantor Bequest Scholarship and Henderson Traveller Scholarship in 2019. Joy was part of the Rising Star Program at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music from 2014 to 2018, under the Kathleen Holmes McCrea Pianoforte Scholarship.
Joy has won many eisteddfods throughout the years, and also participated in international competitions in Belgium, Germany, China and Russia. Joy has also participated in many masterclasses with renowned pianists.
Jake Cheong is twenty, currently completing a Bachelor of Music (Performance) under a scholarship at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, studying with Dr Paul Rickard-Ford. He participated in a masterclass with Alexander Gavrylyuk hosted by the Theme and Variation Foundation. He was recently one of 20 finalists chosen from 350 applications in the Ettlingen International Piano Competition. Jake was invited to perform in Vienna by achieving first place in an International Music Competition. He was a finalist for the Sydney Eisteddfod Kawai Scholarship. Jake was awarded grants from the Bouddi Foundation for the Arts for three years.