2015 Winner: Robbin Reza, Our Good Wishes for 2016

Since I have been a recipient of the Theme & Variations Foundation award in November 2015, I have been looking around to compete in some international competitions which are coming up. With the generous award, I have entered and am now waiting for news of auditions from the Sydney International Piano Competition, scheduled to be sent to the successful applicants by the end of this month. I am looking forward to this very much. I believe entering international competitions is an very important thing for me right now so that I can place myself in the bigger world, not just in Australia. I was new to the process of applying for an international competition and it has been a learning process for me, with all the documents and video recordings we had to submit online.

Here is my YouTube channel link.

The video recordings I submitted to SIPCA are uploaded here; also there are a couple of videos of me doing embarrassing covers of Japanese songs… which used to be my hobby a couple of years ago.

I am also planning to apply for the Kerikeri International Piano Competition in New Zealand which I will be submitting very soon.

On the 28th of February, as part of the semi finals of the 2MBSFM Young Virtuosi Award, I am recording a 50 minute program in their fantastic studio which will be broadcast later in the year. Auditions for this took place in late November last year. For that I am recording an extensive program of Handel, Beethoven, Ravel, Ligeti, Vine, Scriabin and Rachmaninoff. This is my fourth year as a semi-finalist in this competition and I am looking forward to recording in the studio again! I will be sure to let you know when I am informed of my broadcast date.

I am also very happy to tell you that I have been successful in my Honours application for my Performance Degree at USYD which I will be completing this year, my final year at the Conservatorium of Sydney. My Honours thesis is titled Attitudes Towards Performance and Teaching of Contemporary Piano Music: the Effectiveness of Inherent Practices in Engendering Positivity.The thesis aims to study contemporary piano music in its current state to determine the effectiveness of such practices within the sub-culture of the students and teachers of the Sydney Conservatorium and to what degree, certain studied practices can be successful in engendering positivity towards contemporary music, through interviews, surveys and interactions sessions.

My teacher Daniel Herscovitch is on leave for this semester so I have taken this opportunity to learn with Clemens Leske while Daniel is away. Since I will not be studying with him through the university, I will have to pay for individual lessons, using the generous funds from the foundation.

After I have completed this year, I am hoping to head to Germany in the first half of next year to audition for a Masters Degree in Freiburg, Bremen or Berlin. I will arrange to have some lessons while I am there. I am also thinking of contacting some teachers in Australia to have some lessons with and to broaden my perspective.

Being a musician is such an enjoyable and motivational thing to have in one’s life. With all the opportunities, it is difficult to choose which path to follow. But I think as long as you continue doing what you love and what you feel is right, someday you will be recognised and be handed an opportunity you never would have dreamed of.

Applications for 2016 Foundation Awards now open

2015 Winner: Robbin Reza, Our Good Wishes for 20162019-02-01T06:51:07+00:00

Postcard from William Shi – 2015 recipient

The year moves along so fast! The last time I wrote an update, I had just finished Semester One of my final year. Now, we’re well into Week 9 and getting into the business end of my (hopefully) last semester of undergraduate study. For my final semester, my only subjects are Practical Studies, Advanced Chamber Music Performance and my Portfolio of Artistic Research (Thesis/Exegesis). A large percentage of my final grade for my Portfolio of Artistic Research will be conducted on this coming Friday, where I will be performing the entire Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2 Op.18, with my teacher (Max Olding) on 2nd piano. I also had my mid-semester assessment of my chamber music last week, where I performed a segment of Schubert’s Fantasie in F minor for Four Hands with my duet partner.

Apart from that, the past few months have been spent intensely practicing (and stressing) for the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition that just concluded a few days ago. The top 20 competitors all performed Round 1 and 2 before selection into the Semifinals. My Round 1 performance (consisting of Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in D minor Book II, Chopin’s Etude in C Major Op.10 No.1, Balakirev’s transcription of Glinka’s The Lark, and Rachmaninoff’s transcription of Kreisler’s Liebesfreud) was a very ‘safe’ performance – right notes first, musicality second. I opened up a lot more in my Round 2 performance, where I performed Clementi’s Sonata in F# minor Op.25 No.5, Tchaikovsky’s Dumka Op.59 and Chopin’s Scherzo No.4 in E major. My Round 2 performance was very successful and much more expressive, and although there were a few blips here and there (I lost some focus due to excitement), it was one of my best performances, according to my teacher. Unfortunately, I didn’t get selected into the semifinals, but I have no regrets over what I have managed to learn about myself and my playing over these past few months. There were people coming up to me after the semifinalists’ announcement saying they thought I should have made it in, and I’d much rather that than people questioning my advancement if I had qualified. The second week of the Competition/Festival gave me the opportunity to perform in a masterclass with juror Rita Reichman which was incredibly insightful; not just for my own playing, but also observing how the other participants improved with Rita’s feedback. There is no doubt I retained nuggets of information which I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

A few other events I was involved in during these last few months include giving a performance at the UQ School of Music Open Day, and performing Bloch’s Concerto Grosso with the Australian String Quartet as part of the St Peters Signature Concert Series. Recently, I’ve also qualified for the finals of UQ’s Margaret Nickson Prize for Voice and Accompaniment – the finals will be held early next month. Our mid-semester break is next week, but it won’t be much of a break for me – I’ll be recording a CD of duets, trios and quartets with the UQ Singers!

Postcard from William Shi – 2015 recipient2022-12-08T10:26:19+00:00
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