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Future of Chamber Music in Melbourne

Artistic Director Wilma Smith with Leta Keens, member of the Silo Collective commissioning circle.

There’s nothing quite as thrilling as a competition, especially when it’s housed in Melbourne. Home to some of the world’s leading competitions of the sporting kind, every four years the city also plays host to a gathering of the world’s top young ensembles as they compete for the Grand Prize at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition.

Musica Viva presents

This year, for the first time in the Competition’s long history, Musica Viva assumes responsibility for producing the event, which will take place on 1–8 July 2018. Supported by strategic partners at the Australian National Academy of Music and the Melbourne Recital Centre, Musica Viva will welcome 16 ensembles from eight different countries (including two from Australia) to compete for the largest pool of prizes yet seen in the Competition.

‘There are several points of peak excitement during the build up to MICMC, but surely the most exciting milestone is the selection of the competitors,’ says Wilma Smith, Artistic Director of the Competition. ‘For the first time, applications were made totally online, including videos of the required repertoire. For the panel of three preliminary adjudicators, the quality and diversity of entries made it extremely difficult to select just 16 groups.

The competitors

The selected string quartets are the Gildas Quartet (UK), the Baum Quartett (South Korea), the Callisto Quartet (USA), the Eliot Quartett (Austria / Russia / Germany), the Goldmund Quartet (Germany), the Idomeneo String Quartet (Belgium / Hungary / Spain), Quatuor Agate (France) and the Thaleia Quartet (Japan).

The talented trios are the Amatis Piano Trio (Netherlands / Germany / UK), the Bukolika Piano Trio (Poland), the Clarendon Trio (Australia), the Merz Trio (Australia / USA), the Mosa Trio (Netherlands / Belgium), Trio Gaon (Germany / South Korea), Trio Marvin (Russia / Kazakhstan / Germany) and Trio Sora (France / Latvia).

The jury

A stellar jury awaits them, featuring Sonia Simmenauer, director of a leading international chamber music agency; Melbourne pianist and composer Ian Munro; Simin Ganatra, first violinist of the Pacifica Quartet; Gerhard Schulz, former second violinist of the Alban Berg Quartet; Yura Lee, solo violist and first violinist of the Enso Quartet; Alasdair Tait, cellist and Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT), and Kyril Zlotnikov, cellist with the Jerusalem Quartet.

But it wouldn't be possible without

The eighth Competition is made possible by a wonderful and dedicated group of donors and volunteers, some of whom have supported every gathering in the Competition’s 32-year history. Major underwriting is provided by the State of Victoria, in recognition of the Competition’s unique place in the music world. For the first time, the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music is sponsoring the Grand Prize, while all other prizes have been made possible by families, foundations, corporate supporters and individuals. Visit our Partners page for the full list. The Competition’s founder, Marco van Pagee, envisioned a local chamber music scene nourished and nurtured by the event.

When asked about her aspirations for the Competition, Wilma Smith said, ‘It’s simple. I want this to be the best chamber music competition in the world.’

Subscriptions for the eighth Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition are now available.

Visit Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition for bookings, donations and further information.