Joining the dots

On a winter weekend in Melbourne three extraordinary moments brought Musica Viva Australia’s commitment to emerging Australian talent into sharp focus.

On Saturday night Aura Go, 2018-2019 FutureMaker, gave a virtuoso performance as pianist and actor in the first night of Chopin’s Piano, including a breathtaking rendition of Chopin’s 24 Preludes. On Sunday Trio Bellissimo, a prize-winning young Australian ensemble from Strike A Chord 2022, stepped onto the stage of the Melbourne Recital Centre to present the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition Audience Prize to Trio Bohémo. Finally, that night, the Affinity String Quartet became the first Australian ensemble to win the Monash University Grand Prize in the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. The weekend, exhilarating for audiences and performers alike, represented a culmination of Musica Viva Australia’s mission to establish a well-lit pathway of interconnected opportunities to develop a music-rich future for Australia.

It’s a pathway that starts from the earliest years. Affinity Quartet founder and Cellist, Mee Na Lojewski, remembers her first taste of classical music, a Musica Viva Australia In Schools program, live, in the hall of her primary school. She was so captivated by the music that she begged to learn the cello. From there it was lessons, a music degree, then study at the Australian National Academy of Music. Now an international career as a chamber musician beckons.

Mee Na’s long journey from spectator to student to professional illustrates the tricky pathway for aspiring musicians. Musica Viva Australia has identified some of the critical junctures: the transition to secondary school; from secondary school to tertiary music education; and from the tertiary training environment to establishment as a professional musician. The Emerging Artist Program is designed to intervene at each of these defining moments through four strands of activity: Strike A Chord is aimed at participation and skills development for secondary school students; the Masterclass Series offers coaching, mentorship and teaching opportunities for tertiary music students; FutureMakers is an intensive two-year program for exceptional emerging artistic leaders; and, last but definitely not least, the quadrennial Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition is a chance to compete alongside peers from around the world.

In 2024 we see the fourth iteration of the national secondary schools chamber music program, Strike A Chord. Building on the foundational work of the Musica Viva Australia In Schools program, Strike A Chord is a program of engagement, support, and connection culminating in a national secondary schools chamber music championship. With both novice and main categories, it welcomes students at a wide range of skill levels. So Strike A Chord becomes another stepping stone on the journey.

Through musicians like Mee Na and the Affinity Quartet, through FutureMakers, budding musicians like Trio Bellissimo and through exchange of inspiration and wisdom in masterclasses, the Emerging Artists Program connects the dots: from primary school students singing along with a visiting ensemble, to secondary school students taking part in Strike A Chord to the masterclasses and competitions and – who knows? – one day becoming a FutureMaker or a mainstage artist for Musica Viva Australia. It’s all about making that well-lit pathway from listening to loving to playing, from seeing to being.

If you're a young musician interested in participating in any of our programs, including Strike A Chord 2024, you can find out more here

If you would like to know more about supporting Australian Emerging Artists and next year’s Strike A Chord competition, please contact Irene Ryder, Senior Development Manager, Vic.