2021 Strike A Chord Finalists and First-Round Prize Winners

Published: 8 June 2021, by Musica Viva

Musica Viva is pleased to announce the first-round prize winners and finalists of the 2021 Strike A Chord competition.

Created in 2020 in celebration of Musica Viva's 75th anniversary, Strike A Chord is a chamber music competition open to all secondary students across Australia. With the aim of developing the skills of young musicians, the Competition provides an opportunity for students to explore their creativity and strengthen their ability to work collaboratively in an ensemble.

Wilma Smith, Artistic Director of Competitions at Musica Viva, said, "I’m personally thrilled with the diverse mix of wind, string, piano, percussion and vocal groups represented in our 114 entries from all across Australia, and by the incredibly high quality of the playing and singing. It’s exciting to see and hear these polished, sophisticated and enthusiastic performances from our young musicians and I think finals weekend will be a cracker.”

Danny Pearson MP, Minister for Creative Industries said, “The Victorian Government is proud to support this fantastic initiative that encourages high school students to channel their creativity through music. I congratulate every one of the 465 young musicians who prepared entries for Strike A Chord, and I look forward to the semi-finalists coming together at Melbourne Recital Centre in August.”

First-round prize winners include False Relations from Sydney, NSW (Gandel Australian Music Prize), Baroque Ensemble from Adelaide, SA (Innovation Award) and the Shearwater Trio from Armidale/Coffs Harbour, NSW (MRC Regional Prize).

In addition to supporting Strike A Chord for the second year, Gandel Philanthropy have also partnered to present the Gandel Australian Music Prize in 2021.

Gandel Philanthropy CEO Vedran Drakulic OAM said, “The inaugural Gandel Australian Music Prize for the best performance of an Australian work recognises both the efforts and talent of our young musicians, as well as helping promote the work of Australian composers. Gandel Philanthropy looks forward to joining the winners, False Relations, for their performance at the Strike A Chord semi-finals in Melbourne later this year".

This year's competition features a new novice section, supported by Yamaha Music Australia, welcoming groups in which all members play at a maximum AMEB Grade 4 standard (or equivalent).

The Novice Section prize winners are Ensemble Fontegara from Sunshine Coast, QLD (first prize), Darwin High School Saxophone Quartet from Darwin, NT (second prize), and Spinifex Senior String Ensemble from Mt Isa, QLD (third prize).

Nathan Rippon from Yamaha Music Australia said, "We’re thrilled here at Yamaha to be able to support not only a national initiative to promote music education, but a competition that further fosters collaboration and creativity in schools. Congratulations to all the winners of the Yamaha Novice section, and special mention to all the hard working teachers and directors out there who work tirelessly to nurture the next generation of musicians.”

The complete list of finalists and prize winners is as follows:


The Canberra Reds (ACT)Bartholdy Trio (NSW)
False Relations (NSW)
Piccolo String Quartet (NSW)
Amogus Trio (QLD)
JPMS Ensemble Spirito (QLD)
"Shell Shocked" Chamber Percussion Ensemble, Sheldon College (QLD)
Pirulí String Quartet (SA)
Scotch College String Quartet (VIC)
Trio Finifugal (VIC)
Vdub (VIC)
Four Strings (WA)


AMEB Emerging Ensemble Encouragement AwardBellissimo Flute Ensemble - QLD

Innovation Award
Baroque Ensemble - SA

Melbourne Recital Centre Regional Prize
Shearwater Trio - NSW

Gandel Australian Music Prize
False Relations - NSW

Spirit of Chamber Music Prize
MLC School Vocal Consort - NSW

String Prize (AUSTA)
Lam Quartet - NSW
Tetivo Trio - NSW
Von Einem String Quartet - NSW
Dragon Brothers - NSW

Junior Prize
Finesse Strings - WA
Year 6/7 String Quartet - NSW
Scotch College Two Pianos Junior Ensemble - VIC
100 Strings - WA

Mixed Ensemble Prize
The MLC School Trio - NSW

Percussion Prize
JPMS Ensemble Ritmico - QLD
JPMS Ensemble Vivo - QLD

Vocal Prize
The 'Illegal' Choir - NSW
MLC School Vocal Consort - NSW

Brass Prize (Yamaha)
St.George Brass Band Junior Quintet - NSW
Darwin High School Brass Trio - NT
Adelaide Trombone Quartet - SA

Keyboard Prize (Yamaha)
The Open School Piano Quartet - ACT
MLC 40 Fingers - NSW
Fraser Piano Trio - QLD
Bradford Trio - VIC
Triola Trio - VIC 

Woodwind Prize (Yamaha)
The Dented Crooks - ACT
Sydney Grammar School Double Reed Trio - NSW
The King's School Clarinet Quartet - NSW
The Klezmer Trio - NSW


Yamaha First Prize - $400
Ensemble Fontegara - QLD

Yamaha Second Prize - $250
Darwin High School Saxophone Ensemble - NT

Yamaha Third Prize - $150
Spinifex Senior String Ensemble - QLD

Honourable Mentions
Amethyst String Quartet - QLD
Sapphire String Quartet - QLD
Blackburn High School Vocal Ensemble B - VIC
Winter Harps - VIC
Allegro String Quartet - NSW


Elyane Laussade and Blair Harris

Strike A Chord’s key partners are Creative Victoria, Melbourne Recital Centre, Australian National Academy of Music, Gandel Philanthrophy, The Robert Salzer Foundation and Yamaha.

For further information, images or interviews:

Amy Chilcott | Amy@kabukupr.com.au or 0414 041 512
Aisha Herbert | Aisha@kabukupr.com.au or 0450 394 71