“Winning the "Young Performer of the Year" split my life in two – before and after! Before YPA, I was a competitor. After YPA, I was a performer and musician.”
Simon Tedeschi, 1998 Young Performer of the Year
The Young Performers Awards (YPA) have long been regarded as Australia’s premier national artist development programme for young musicians, instrumentalists and performing artists.
The list of its major prize winners is testament to its success in promoting and nurturing many of the finest musicians in this country who have made an incalculable contribution to our cultural life for over seven decades. We aim to preserve this tradition of excellence, adapting to the demands of the 21st century music industry, and rewarding young performers who represent the pinnacle of Australian music.
As this is a national competition, the typical recipients of the YPA will be those who are poised to have an exceptional career in music at the highest level and who, through this competition, will gain significant performing experience as well as necessary exposure and financial help to advance their careers.
In 1944 the Australian Broadcasting Commission, in association with the State Symphony Orchestras, organised the first annual, state-based competition for young performers. Over the years, it grew into the ABC Concerto and Vocal Competition and produced significant winners such as Max Olding (piano, 1952), Charmian Gadd (violin, 1962), Roger Woodward (piano, 1964) and Nathan Waks (cello, 1968).
Renamed the Instrumental and Vocal Competition in 1968, the competition continued to grow and by 1978 had formalised its format which now comprised four categories (Strings, Vocal, Keyboard and other Instrumental).
In 1981, the ‘outstanding competitor’ distinction was added to the Awards with winners including Ian Munro (piano, 1982) and Duncan Gifford (piano, 1989).
From 1997 Symphony Australia presented the Awards in collaboration with the ABC and the competition was renamed the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards.
In 2001 the vocal category was transferred to the Music and Opera Singers Trust (MOST®) who presented the award in the Australian Singing Competition.
In April 2016 the Symphony Services International (Symphony Australia) and the ABC appointed MOST® to take carriage of the YPA. The ABC will be the Broadcast & Media Partner promoting the next generation of Australia’s best musicians, instrumentalists and performing artists. YPA will remain a national competition and will be presented biennially.