“For a musician wishing to make a solo career as a concert artist, a concerto is the pinnacle in achieving recognition.”
That’s part of what makes the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition (ACVC) so critical to the world’s music scene. The event has been running in Townsville since 1980 (although under a few
different names over the years) and is Australia’s second-most prestigious music competition.
“It’s the only competition of this kind,” said ACVC’s Carol Dall’Osto. “The only competition we can compare ourselves with is the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer Awards. For that competition, entrants go through a number of stages spread out over quite a few months … I don’t know that we can compare with them in format since we go for five days, but we’d be the next best thing in terms of prestige and recognition.”
Since its inception, the Competition has drawn international artists to compete in Townsville.
“This year we have two vocalists coming from Hong Kong, a pianist coming from Spain, a vocalist from Poland, Jack Bailey – he’s a cellist – coming back from the UK…” said Carol.
“They all look forward to having an opportunity to perform a whole concerto.
“We have the open instrumental section run over four days because a concerto can be 35 minutes long on average … but that’s part of why they come, because they get to play the whole thing;
they don’t have to play just the first movement; and they get a comment from the adjudicator about the whole work.”
However, ACVC isn’t solely focused on showcasing the best musicians and vocalists from around the world; there is also an emphasis on nurturing the next generation of talented players. Students from Townsville’s Southern Cross Catholic College will be among the school ensembles competing.
Matthew Magnani, 16, said ACVC had presented an opportunity to work on some important pieces.
“For ACVC we’ve been working on three distractions by the great Richard Charlton,” Matthew said.
“What I’ve learnt [during rehearsals for the Competition] is working as a team player and doing my best.”
Charlie Crook, 14, echoed Matthew’s enthusiasm: “We’ve focused on changing dynamics and working as a team to perform good pieces. Listening to other players is an important part of polishing the music.”
This year’s adjudicators for the ACVC will be Piers Lane AO, for instrumentals, and Ms Cheryl Baker AO, for vocals.
The Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition will be held in several venues from 20-24 July. For more information, visit www.acvc.com.au. Session entry is by gold coin donation. For tickets to the Gala Instrumental Concert, click here. For tickets to the Gala Vocal Concert, click here.