The annual Whitworth-Roach Classical Music Performance Competition is a key event on the ANU School of Music calendar. It celebrates the talent and dedication of ANU classical music students, who have the chance to win a share of $20,000, and the opportunity to perform for internationally acclaimed musicians and a gathering of the wider community.
The music competition, supported by the generous donation of Ms Christine Roach, completed five years in 2019. Christine had her first experience of classical music at age 10 when her parents, Sylvia and William Whitworth, took her to a Chopin piano recital. Listening, playing and appreciating classical music became a constant in Christine's life and when she was looking for ways to give back to the community, her mind turned to the ANU School of Music.
In recent years, Christine has deepened her support of the ANU School of Music and its students by establishing the Whitworth Roach Classical Music Scholarship. It aims to encourage and support first year undergraduate students to undertake studies in classical music performance at the school. Established in memory of Christine's parents, the scholarship offers up to four awards each year.
Of the scholarship, Kim Cunio, Head of ANU School of Music, says, "For a young musician, finding out that a lovely person has given you a scholarship, and that they believe in you as a musician, has a profound effect.
"Often when musicians come into this career, they are only told how hard it is and that no one will support them. But when someone like Christine comes along, it shows these young students that someone believes in them."
"Winning the scholarship meant that all my hard work as a musician had been recognised," said Lily Ward, 2019 Whitworth Roach scholar. "It also meant that I would be able to continue practising without financial limitation. Without the scholarship, I would not have been able to travel from my home in Tasmania to the ACT to study at ANU."
For Jarrod Hunter, winning the 2019 scholarship confirmed to him that he had made the right choice by studying at ANU.
"The Whitworth Roach scholarship has allowed me to settle into my new life in Canberra comfortably. Without this support, I would not have been able to maintain rental payments, so it has allowed me to find my feet and focus on performing my best at my studies."
Chenxiao Chen, 2019 Winner of Whitworth Roach Classical Music Competition, feels honoured to have been selected. “I am very grateful for this opportunity and competition, which allows me to play in front of an audience.”
Mia Huang, the 2018 joint winner of the competition, said “The prize money assisted significantly with living and study costs, as my family was going through health and financial issues at the time.
“Winning the competition was an important milestone in my development as a musician. It was a great encouragement to receive such positive feedback from the audience and internally acclaimed adjudicators.”