The Final of Australia’s most lucrative and prestigious award for the collaborative pianist, the Accompanists’ Guild of SA’s 20th Geoffrey Parsons Award, took place in Adelaide at the State Opera of SA Studio.
In keeping with the Guild’s acknowledgement of the professional aspirations of their competitors, the cash-pool is a significant $7,500, made possible by the generous support of The Royal Commonwealth Society of Australia, SA Branch and several individual anonymous donors.
Geoffrey Parsons was an internationally acclaimed Australian vocal accompanist working mainly in the UK and Europe. He regularly accompanied the great singers of his era including Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Victoria de los Angeles, Dame Janet Baker, Olaf Bär, and Barbara Bonney. He was the Guild’s International Patron until his untimely death in 1995 when the first Award in his name was offered.
The three Finalists competed for a cash pool of $7,500. They were selected from auditions earlier this week which included a performance of prepared works with their chosen associates, sight reading and a first rehearsal of the set work, Von ewiger Liebe by Brahms, performed with guest soloist, tenor, Patrick Power.
The Final was judged by a panel chaired by visiting internationally acclaimed vocal accompanist, Malcolm Martineau who has frequently been referred to as the natural successor to Geoffrey Parsons. He was joined by leading SA musicians, Timothy Sexton, CEO and Artistic Director of State Opera and Monika Laczofy, a leading Adelaide accompanist and President of the Accompanists’ Guild.
In their recitals each finalist presented works of their own choices well as performing the set-work with Patrick Power. It was expected that the program demanded advanced technical, interpretative and ensemble skills and would be at a professional standard acceptable for public broadcast.
In announcing the winners Chairman of the Jury, Malcolm Martineau commended Robin Parkin, and said “It was a very interesting evening of music. In deciding the prize-winners it was a difficult decision, as the two programs were so diverse. Robin has been awarded first prize as he demonstrated the broadest skills as an accompanist.”
The 2015 winners are:
FIRST PRIZE ($5,000) Robin Parkin (aged 24) Summertown
SECOND PRIZE ($2,500) Thomas Saunders (aged 29) Modbury Heights 2015
Geoffrey Parsons Award Prizewinner, Robin Parkin, performed a program of Ravel’s Five Popular Greek Songs with soprano, Alexandra Bollard and two movements of Brahms’ Sonata for Pianoforte and Cello in E minor with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra cellist, David Sharp. Robin Parkin is a local pianist, repetiteur, teacher and singer. In 2009, he was the South Australian recipient of the Yamaha/Recitals Australia Showcase Scholarship, and the following year was awarded his AMusA with distinction whilst studying a Bachelor of Arts. He has twice received an award for excellence as part of the Recitals Australia Lunch Hour Series. He has received lessons and masterclasses from a range of respected pianists including Leslie Howard, Roy Howat, David Barnard, Kristian Chong, Ian Munro and Anna Goldsworthy. He is a long-time student of Diana Harris.