Australian Singing Competition - History

History

History of the IFAC – Australian Singing Competition

The IFAC Australian Singing Competition evolved from the Marianne Mathy Scholarship, which was established through a bequest made in the will of Marianne Mathy-Frisdane, an operatic soprano and distinguished teacher who trained many well-known Australian singers.

Recognised as Australasia's richest competition for opera and classical singing, in just over three decades some 2,600 singers have entered the Competition and won approaching $3 million in prizes, plus many career opportunities (not including the ASC Contemporary Section, see left) have been awarded.

The Marianne Mathy Scholarship remains the premier award of the IFAC Australian Singing Competition. This is currently valued in excess of $50,000 – comprised of a select suite of prizes and opportunities that complement and support the Scholarship, which includes the limited edition Drago Marin Cherina bronze statuette known as 'The Mathy.'

The Marianne Mathy Scholarship and the Competition are managed and administered by Music & Opera Singers Trust Limited (MOST®), a not-for-profit organisation that provides professional services for competitions, events, scholarships, prizes, awards and grants.

Why the Australian Singing Competition?

In 1983 MOST® made the decision to promote the Marianne Mathy Scholarship as a competition for young opera and classical singers, and to establish a separate section for contemporary singers. Both sections were to come under the umbrella of the 'Australian Singing Competition'.

'The Mathy' was the premier award of the Opera & Classical Section. From 1985 the 'Grace Bros Prize' was the major prize within the Contemporary Section. From 1985 to 1989 both sections ran parallel to but separate from one another under the banner 'Australian Singing Competition'. The Contemporary Section of the ASC proved a popular success, but sadly was suspended in 1990 (see history, right).

Today, 'The Mathy' remains the premier award of the IFAC Australian Singing Competition.

Over the decades the Australian Singing Competition has evolved to consist of many scholarships, awards, prizes and career opportunities – all aimed at supporting the career development of young Australian and New Zealand opera and classical singers. Over the years these have included the Handa Prize, the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Award, the Foster Award, YMF Award, opportunities at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester  to name but a few.

Complete list of current Prizes and Opportunities

The Opera Awards

As the Australian Singing Competition has evolved, it has split into two streams: one for singers under the age of 26, the other for professional opera singers.

Since 2001, the professional stream has been its own, privately judged, competition: the Opera Awards. The premier prize is the YMF Australia Award, valued at $30,000.

Opera Awards Prizes and Opportunities

Back to the future

The longevity of the Competition is testament not only to the generous spirit of Marianne Mathy-Frisdane, but also to the tireless efforts of many individuals and organisations  many of whom are mentioned on this website.

Past competitions

2013
Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy Awards
In the presence of

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC) 

Marianne Mathy Scholarship 81 contestants
Winner QLD mezzo soprano, Jade Moffat, 23

Masterclass
Emma Matthews, David Harper and the five IFAC ASC Finalists

Venue Independent Theatre, North Sydney, Thursday 12 September 2013

National Adjudicator Emma Matthews

Adjudicators Heats (NSW) Andrew Dalton, Michael Lewis OAM; (QLD) Brad Jarrett, Leanne Kenneally; (VIC) Suzanne Johnston, Richard Mills AM; (WA) Burhan Güner, Patricia Price; (NZ) Michael Vinten 

Adjudicators Semi-Finals Peter Czornyj, Michael Halliwell, Ian McCahon

Adjudicators Finals Conal Coad, Peter Czornyj, Michael Halliwell, Ian McCahon

Semi-Finals Concert Independent Theatre, North Sydney, Wednesday 11 September 2013 Accompanist David Harper, Compere Greg Lenthen

Semi-Finalists Bianca Andrew, mezzo soprano; Anastasia Bickel, mezzo soprano; Hannah Dahlenburg, soprano; Alexander Knight, baritone; Edward Laurenson, baritone; Jade Moffat, mezzo soprano; Brenton Spiteri, tenor; Janet Todd, soprano; Danita Weatherstone, soprano; Carmen Young soprano 

Finals Concert Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Saturday 28 September 2013, with the Australian Opera & Ballet Orchestra conducted by Anthony Legge and Compere Emma Ayres

Finalists Hannah Dahlenburg, soprano; Alexander Knight, baritone; Edward Laurenson, baritone; Jade Moffat, mezzo soprano; Danite Weatherstone, soprano

2012
Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy Awards
In the presence of

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC)

2011
Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy Awards
In the presence of The Honorable Barry O’Farrell, NSW Premier

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC)

2010

Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy Awards and the inaugural ASC Masterclass
In the presence of Ms Quentin Bryce AC, then Governor-General of Australia

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC)

2009

Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy Awards

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC)

2008

Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy Awards

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC)

2007

Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy Awards

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC)

2006

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy Awards

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC)

2005

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy Awards

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC) and Obelisk Investors Ltd

2004

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy Awards

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC) and Obelisk Investors Ltd

2003

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy Awards

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC) and Obelisk Investors Ltd

2002

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy Awards

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC) and Obelisk Investors Ltd

2001

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy Awards

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC)

2000

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy & Opera Awards

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC)

1999

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy & Opera Awards

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC)

1998

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy & Opera Awards

Major Sponsor Dr Haruhisa Handa, International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC) and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

1997

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy & Opera Awards

1996

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy & Opera Awards*

Major Sponsor Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)

1995

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy & Opera Awards*

Major Sponsor Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)

1994

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy & Opera Awards

Major Sponsor Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)

1993

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy & Opera Awards*

Major Sponsor Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)

1992

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy & Opera Awards*

Major Sponsor Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)

1991

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy & Opera Awards*

Major Sponsor Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)

1990

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy & Opera Awards

1989

The Australian Singing Competition

The Mathy & Opera Awards

1988

The Australian Singing Competition

Featuring the Marianne Mathy Scholarship, 'The Mathy Award' & the Armstrong-Martin Scholarship, 'Opera Awards'

1987

The Australian Singing Competition

Featuring the Marianne Mathy Scholarship, 'The Mathy Award' & the Armstrong-Martin Scholarship*
Launched by the Honourable Barry Cohen, Minister for the Arts

1986

The Australian Singing Competition

Featuring the Marianne Mathy Scholarship, 'The Mathy Award' & the Armstrong-Martin Scholarship*
Launched by Doug Sutherland, Lord Mayor of Sydney

1985

The Australian Singing Competition

Featuring the Marianne Mathy Scholarship, 'The Mathy Award'
Launched by Lucy Cunynghame, 17 year old Captain of the Conservatorium of Music High School

1984

The Australian Singing Competition

Featuring the Marianne Mathy Scholarship, 'The Mathy Award'
Launched by Dame Joan Sutherland

1983

The Australian Singing Competition

Featuring the Marianne Mathy Scholarship, 'The Mathy Award'
Launched by June Bronhill, a former student of the late Marianne Mathy-Frisdane

1982

The Marianne Mathy Scholarship

Launched by His Excellency The Right Honourable Sir Zelman Cowen, Governor-General of Australia on 2 March 1982

 

I wholeheartedly support the Australian Singing Competition in its longstanding generosity to young singers struggling in an extremely competitive field. The prizes bestowed by the Competition provide invaluable opportunities for gifted young Australians. The Marianne Mathy Scholarship offers a wonderful launching pad for young classical singers.

RICHARD BONYNGE AC AO CBE


ASC GRACE BROS PRIZE FOR CONTEMPORARY SINGING 1985-1989

...the foremost popular music prize in Australia

ROBERT DALZIEL
GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR,
GRACE BROS

I'm proud of the role Grace Bros has played in establishing Australasia's richest contemporary singing competition.

JOHN SAINTY
MANAGING DIRECTOR,
GRACE BROS

Years before 'Australian Idol', the Contemporary Section of the Australian Singing Competition was the first and only national contemporary singing competition in Australia.

The original bequest of Marianne Mathy-Frisdane did not specify that a scholarship be awarded to a particular singing genre (opera, classical, rock, pop, jazz, folk, country, etc).

71 contestants entered the inaugural 1982 Marianne Mathy Scholarship. These entrants represented a wide range of vocal types — with the first recipient New Zealand-born operatic soprano Nicola Waite.

In 1983 MOST® divided the Australian Singing Competition into two Sections — Opera & Classical, and Contemporary.

The Marianne Mathy Scholarship was the major award of the Opera & Classical Section, which continues to this day.

In 1985, New South Wales retailer, Grace Bros accepted the invitation to become a major sponsor of the ASC Contemporary Section, by providing the 'Grace Bros Prize' for contemporary singing, valued at $15,000 and by underwriting the costs of the Contemporary Section.

The 'Grace Bros Prize' and other prizes in the areas of pop, rock, jazz, folk and country broadened the appeal of the Australian Singing Competition.


ASC CONTEMPORARY SECTION 1985-1989

In 5 years, the competition had over 1,100 contestants and awarded in excess of $200,00 in prizes and career opportunities.


1989

213 contestants

Winner Darryl Lovegrove, NZ born Sydneysider

Grace Bros Prize presented by John Sainty, Managing Director, Grace Bros

National Adjudicator Maestro Tommy Tycho AM MBE

Adjudicators Semi-Finals and Finals Martin Benge, Avigail Herman, William Motzing, Mike Perjanik, Claire Poole, Wayne Senior

Guest Artists Marty Rhone and Penny Pavlakis (winner, 1988)

Finals Concert St George Leagues Club with the Sydney International Orchestra (SIO) conducted by Steve Watson, hosted by Daryl Somers

Proceeds of ticket sales were dontated to the Variety Club of Australia


1988

324 contestants

Winner Penny Pavlakis, NSW

Grace Bros Prize presented by Robert Dalziel, Group General Manager, Grace Bros

National Adjudicator Maestro Tommy Tycho AM MBE

Adjudicators Semi-Finals and Finals Martin Benge, Peter Dawkins, Arthur Greenslade, Barrie Heidenreich, Mike Perjanik, Claire Poole, Colleen May, Doug Parkinson, Jackie Love, Sandy Scott

The Finals were held at a gala dinner attended by 400 invited guests at the Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal. The singers were accompanied by the Sydney International Orchestra (SIO) conducted by Steve Watson, hosted by Daryl Somers


1987

251 contestants

Winner Margi de Ferranti, VIC

Grace Bros Prize presented by Billy Joel

National Adjudicator Maestro Tommy Tycho AM MBE

Adjudicators Semi-Finals and Finals Martin Benge, Arthur Greenslade, Barrie Heidenreich, Mike Perjanik, Claire Poole, Keith Potger

Guest Artists John Foreman, Martin Lass, Sandy Scott, Ruth Wilson (winner, 1985) and the Janice Breen Dancers

Finals Concert Sydney Town Hall with the Sydney International Orchestra (SIO) conducted by William Motzing, hosted by Daryl Somers


1986

139 contestants

Winner Ruth Wilson, NSW

Grace Bros Prize presented by singer songwriter Peter Allen

National Adjudicator Maestro Tommy Tycho AM MBE

Adjudicators Semi-Finals and Finals Martin Benge, Hayes Gordon OBE, Arthur Greenslade, Peggy Mortimer, Mike Perjanik, Claire Poole, Glenn Shorrock

Guest Artists James Morrison, Marty Rhone, Mark Walton, Jodie Gilles (winner, 1985) and the Janice Breen Dancers

Finals Concert State Theatre with the Sydney International Orchestra (SIO) conducted by William Motzing, hosted by Daryl Somers


1985

194 contestants

Winner Jodie Gillies, NSW

Grace Bros Prize presented by Michael Grace, Chairman of Grace Bros

National Adjudicator Maestro Tommy Tycho AM MBE

Adjudicators Semi-Finals and Finals Martin Benge, Ric Birch, Don Burrows MBE, Claire Poole

Guest Artists Craig Gough, Martin Lass, Vicki Tycho, Ricky May and the Young Company Showgroup

Finals Concert Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House with the Sydney International Orchestra (SIO) conducted by Mike Perjanik, hosted by Daryl Somers

Proceeds of ticket sales were donated to the NSW Spastic Centre and the North Rocks Centre for Deaf and Blind Children



 

Calendar / Events

Upcoming Events

August

Gala Finals Concert

VERBRUGGHEN HALL
SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM
OF MUSIC, SYDNEY

SATURDAY 30 AUGUST 2014, 7:00PM
(Pre Concert talk, 6:00pm)

 

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2013 IFAC Australian Singing Competition - Jade Moffat

Jade Moffat

2013 Finals Concert performance

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