2018 Winner: Emily Sun

New South Wales

The Grand Final of the ABC Young Performers Awards was held on 24 July 2018 in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.

Emily was named the winner after her masterful performance of Beethoven’s monumental Violin Concerto in D accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Milton. The concert also included thrilling performances from two other Finalists, Oliver Shermacher (NSW) performing the Weber Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor and Kevin Chow (VIC) performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

The ABC Young Performer of the Year wins:

  • $50,000 AETT Scholarship: A scholarship to study overseas presented by the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust
  • $30,000 Sheila Walker Scholarship: a cash grant to assist with a programme of study or musical activity sponsored by Mr David Walker
  • They also become the ABC Classic FM Artist in Residence and will have the opportunity to record an album at the ABC, guided by the expertise of its specialist music production team; and
  • A limited-edition Drago Marin Cherina bronze trophy. Presented by Music & Opera Singers Trust.

Emily also won:
The Sydney Symphony Orchestra Prize – a professional engagement for a performance with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Prize – a professional engagement for a performance wIth the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Prize – An opportunity for a professional engagement with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
The Melbourne Recital Centre Prize – An opportunity for a finalist to appear at the Melbourne Recital Centre in 2018 or 2019
The UKARIA Recital Prize – an opportunity to perform a recital in the UKARIA Cultural Centre, Adelaide Hills
The City Recital Hall Prize – An opportunity to perform a solo recital as part of City Recital Hall’s A Little Lunch Music Series
The YMF Award for Best Recital – a total award of $25,000 for best Recital at the Semi Finals

Kevin Chow was awarded the Triffit Bequest for runner-up and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music Prize, an opportunity to perform at the 2020 Australian Festival of Chamber Music
Oliver Shermacher was awarded the Triffit Bequest for runner-up; the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra Prize, a professional engagement with the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra; and, the Kitty Fischer Audience Choice Prize, $2,500 for the performer chosen as the audience favourite.

Emily Sun

‘Possessed of a superb talent’ (The Advertiser), with ‘a perfect balance of expressivity and formidable strength’ (The Australian), violinist Emily Sun is in demand internationally for her compelling and captivating interpretations of both new and classic repertoire. Her impressive versatility as soloist, chamber musician and recitalist and genuine connection with her audiences allows Emily to perform with leading orchestras and festivals across Europe, the USA, Asia and Australasia.

A multi international prize winner, Emily was awarded the Tagore Gold Medal from the Royal College of Music, presented to her by HRH Prince of Wales. She won the 2018 ABC Young Performers Award (Australia), and the 2016 Royal Overseas League Commonwealth Musician of the Year (UK), and international competition prizes at Brahms International Violin Competition (Austria), Yampolsky International Violin Competition (Russia), Bromsgrove International Music Competition (UK), and Lipizer International Violin Competition (Italy). She was a Young Concert Artist for the Tillett Trust, The Worshipful Company of Musicians and City Music Foundation.

Emily has performed in major concert venues including Sydney Opera House, Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Bridgewater Hall Manchester, Tchaikovsky Great Hall Moscow, Auditorium du Louvre Paris, and Flagey Brussels. She was invited to perform at Buckingham Palace alongside Maxim Vengerov in Bach’s Double Violin Concerto at the Royal Gala in the presence of HRH Prince of Wales, and at the Royal Palace of Brussels in the presence of the King and Queen of Belgium.

As a concerto soloist, Emily has appeared with orchestras worldwide including the Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony, Queensland Symphony and Canberra Symphony Orchestras in Australia; Arlington Symphony, Arizona Symphony and Garland Symphony Orchestras in USA; Shanghai Youth Orchestra and Qingdao Symphony Orchestra in China; European Union Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de Royal Wallonie and Orchestre de Chambre Namur in Europe.

An active chamber musician, Emily has collaborated with musicians such as Maxim Vengerov, Gary Hoffman, Miguel da Silva, Marc Coppey, Danny Driver, Gemma Rosefield and is regularly invited to perform at music festivals across Europe.

As a teen, Emily shot to national fame after being featured in the acclaimed award-winning Australian documentary ‘Mrs Carey’s Concert’. Her media presence continues as the ABC Artist-in-Residence, BBC Introducing Artist, with regular broadcast on Classic FM, BBC Three (UK), Kol Hamusica (Israel), WXQR (USA), and Musiq 3 (Belgium).

Emily studied with Dr Robin Wilson at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Itzhak Rashkovsky at the Royal College of Music, London, Augustin Dumay at Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth, Belgium, and received further mentoring from Pinchas Zukerman, Maxim Vengerov and Ivry Gitlis. She currently teaches at the Royal College of Music, London.

Emily plays a 1760 Nicolo Gagliano violin, kindly loaned to her through the Beare’s International Violin Society.

*bio updated 2020.


After the 12 Semi-Finalists performed in 6 concerts staged at the City Recital Hall over 2 days, 16 & 17 July, 3 Finalists were chosen.

Pianist Kevin Chow, clarinettist Oliver Shermacher, and violinist Emily Sun.

Kevin Chow Pianist

Perth-born 21 year-old Kevin Chow began piano studies at age five. He has just completed his Bachelor of Music (Hons) degree at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in Australia where he studied piano with Glenn Riddle. Prizes in Australia include the Hephzibah Menuhin Memorial Award, 3 MBS Young Performer of the Year, John Allison Scholarship, and MCM Concerto Prize. Internationally Kevin has been a finalist in the Thailand International Piano Competition and semi-finalist in both the Virginia Waring and Suzhou Jinji Lake International Piano Competitions. Kevin has given recitals in the USA, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, New Zealand and Indonesia, and performed for HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwell. He has performed concertos by Beethoven, Liszt, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev with orchestras that include the Thailand Philharmonic, Fremantle Symphony, Zelman Symphony, Frankston Symphony, Preston Symphony, Maroondah Symphony and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Symphony Orchestras.

Oliver Shermacher Clarinettist

Oliver Shermacher completed his Bachelor of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium in 2017 studying under Francesco Celata, having also studied at the Freiburg Hochschule für Musik in Germany. Oliver plays regularly with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He placed 2nd in the Gisborne International Music Competition in 2017, won the Sydney Conservatorium Clarinet Concerto Competition and was recipient of the Sydney Conservatorium Association Clarinet Award. Oliver regularly composes and arranges, plays chalumeau and period clarinet, and is the Co-Founder of the social media page: “The Clari Boys” which produces light hearted and entertaining videos and media about classical music.

Emily Sun Violinist

Emily Sun was the Strings winner of the 2011 YPA and prizewinner in numerous international violin competitions such as the Royal-Overseas-League Gold Medal (UK), Yampolsky (Russia), Brahms (Austria) and Lipizer (Italy). Emily has appeared as soloist with Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Tasmania and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, and is a regular guest soloist with orchestras in USA, Europe and Asia.
Emily is a BBC Introducing Artist. She performed Bach’s Double Violin Concerto with Maxim Vengerov at the 2017 Royal Gala hosted by HRH Prince of Wales in Buckingham Palace.
Emily studied at the Sydney Conservatorium with Dr Robin Wilson and is currently at the Royal College of Music, studying with Itzhak Rashkovsky. She is also Artist-in-Residence at Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth, mentored by Augustin Dumay. She was supported by the AMF Nora Goodridge award. Emily plays a 1947 A.E. Smith violin, made in Sydney. 


Our finalists demonstrate the promising future and continued excellence of Australian music.

Adjudicators were impressed by the high standard overall, and the exceptional technical ability and maturity displayed by these young musicians.

Previous Winners & Finalists
2010 - 2014
  • Winner - Lloyd Van't Hoff, Clarinet, QLD
  • Finalist - Chris Cartlidge, Viola, VIC
  • Finalist - Lily Higson-Spence, Violin, QLD
  • Winner - Grace Clifford, Violin, NSW
  • Finalist - Anna Da Silva Chen, Violin NSW
  • Finalist - Andrew Kawai, Obeo, VIC
2014 Australia Cello Awards
  • Winner - Yelian He
  • Finalist - Edward King
  • Finalist - Ruben Palma
  • Winner - Hoang Pham, Piano, VIC
  • Finalist - Stefan Cassomenos, Pianist, VIC
  • Finalist - Andrew Kawai, Obeo, VIC
  • Winner - Katerina Nazarova, Violin, TAS
  • Finalist - Young Kwon Choi, Piano, NSW
  • Finalist - Som Howie, Clarinet, NSW
  • Winner - Nicholas Russoniello, Saxophone, NSW
  • Finalist - Nicholas Young, Piano, NSW
  • Finalist - Emily Sun, Violin, NSW
  • Winner - Oliver She, Piano, QLD
  • Finalist - Richard Pollett, Violin, QLD
  • Finalist - Ashley William Smith, Clarinet, WA
2000 - 2009
  • Winner - Ji Won Kim, Violin, NSW
  • Finalist - David Papp, Obeo, NSW
  • Finalist - Bo An Lu, Piano, NSW
  • Winner - Maxwell Foster, Piano, QLD
  • Finalist - Rebecca Chan, Violin, VIC
  • Finalist Jessica Foot, Oboe, VIC
  • Winner - Shaun Lee Chen, Violin, WA
  • Finalist - Benjamin Kopp, Piano, NSW
  • Finalist - Tristan Williams, Trumpet, VIC
  • Winner - Cameron Hill, Violin, VIC
  • Finalist - Brieley Cutting, Piano, QLD
  • Finalist - Shefali Pryor, Oboe, NSW
  • Winner - Suyeon Kang, Violin, VIC
  • Finalist - Oliver Le Mang She, Piano, QLD
  • Finalist - Mark Gaydon, Bassoon, SA
  • Winner - Amy Dickson, Saxophone, NSW
  • Finalist - Chen Gu, Violin, NSW
  • Finalist - Edward Neeman, Piano, ACT
  • Winner - Richard Haynes, Clarinet, QLD
  • Finalist - Olivia Sham, Piano, NSW
  • Finalist - Nicole Vasilakis, Violin, NSW
  • Winner - David Fung, Piano, NSW
  • Finalist - Jamie Adam, Marimba, SA
  • Finalist - Kristian Winther, Violin, ACT
  • Winner - Pei-Jee Ng, Cello, QLD
  • Finalist - Kristian Chong, Piano, VIC
  • Finalist - Emma Scholl, Flute, NSW
  • Finalist - Caitlin Hulcup, Mezzo-soprano, WA
  • Winner - Sophie Rowell, Violin, NSW
  • Finalist - Grace Kim, Piano, NSW
  • Finalist - Meg Sterling, Flute, ACT
1990 - 1999
  • Winner - Claire Edwardes, Percussion, NSW
  • Finalist - Andrea Lam, Piano, NSW
  • Finalist - Alexandra Osborne, Violin, NSW
  • Finalist - Göknur Ray, Soprano, NSW
  • Winner - Simon Tedeschi, Piano, NSW
  • Finalist - Sarita Kwon, Violin, NSW
  • Finalist - Nicole King, Bassoon, VIC
  • Finalist - Caroline Chown, Soprano, QLD
  • Winner - Philip Arkinstall, Clarinet, NSW
  • Finalist - Kirsten Le Strange, Violin, NSW
  • Finalist - Fabian Russell, Tuba, VIC
  • Finalist - Lance Coburn, Piano, QLD
  • Finalist - Alexandra Sherman, Mezzo-soprano, VIC
  • Winner - Andrew Day, Flute, VIC
  • Finalist - Lachlan Redd, Piano, ACT
  • Finalist - Susie Park, Violin, NSW
  • Finalist - Catherine Carby, Mezzo-soprano, VIC
  • Winner - Alison Eddington, Percussion, NSW
  • Finalist - David Tong, Piano, VIC
  • Finalist - Sally Cooper, Violin, SA
  • Finalist - Leanne Kenneally, Soprano, QLD
  • Winner - Elowyn Leonard, Clarinet, ACT
  • Finalist - Margot Lee, Bassoon, SA
  • Finalist - Shan Deng, Piano, QLD
  • Finalist - Fiona Campbell, Mezzo-soprano, WA
  • Winner - Liwei Qin, Cello, VIC
  • Finalist - Rebecca Chambers, Piano, VIC
  • Finalist - Sarah Warner, Bassoon, WA
  • Finalist - Emma Lysons, Soprano, WA
  • Winner - Natalie Chee, Violin, NSW
  • Finalist - Caroline Almonte, Piano, VIC
  • Finalist - Steve Rossé, Tuba, NSW
  • Finalist - Lisa Brown, Soprano, WA
  • Winner - Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Piano, NSW
  • Finalist - Zoë Black, Violin, VIC
  • Finalist - Kathryn McCuster, Soprano, WA
  • Winner - Clemens Leske Jr, Piano, SA
  • Finalist - Anna McMichael, Violin, SA
  • Finalist - Markus Lutz, Percussion, QLD
  • Finalist - Andrew Collis, Bass-baritone, QLD
1980 - 1989
  • Winner - Antony Chesterman, Oboe, NSW
  • Winner - Duncan Gifford, Piano, NSW
  • Finalist - Melissa Barnard, Cello, NSW
  • Finalist - Louise Page, Soprano, ACT
  • Winner - Virginia Taylor, Flute, ACT
  • Finalist - Julian Smiles, Cello, ACT
  • Finalist - Yanghee Kim, Piano, NSW
  • Finalist - Ian Vayne, Bass-baritone, QLD
1987 (Name changes to ABC Young Performers Award)
  • Winner - Bernadette Harvey, Piano, NSW
  • Finalist - Amanda Parsons, Horn, WA
  • Finalist - Patricia Ayling, Cello, NSW
  • Finalist - Karen Robertson, Mezzo-soprano, VIC
1986 (Name changed to ABC Young Performers’ Competition. State finals converted to four category finals. Young Performer of the Year receives extra cash and minimum of three concert performance with ABC orchestras.)
  • Winner - Alison Lazaroff, Violin, NSW
  • Finalist - Philip Mayers, Piano, QLD
  • Finalist - Frances Barzyk, Tuba, VIC
  • Finalist - Anna Connolly, Soprano, QLD
  • Winner - Diana Doherty, Oboe, VIC
  • Finalist - Cameron Retchford, Cello, QLD
  • Finalist - Yasuko Toba, Piano, WA
  • Finalist - Miriam Gormley, Soprano, QLD
  • Winner - Adele Anthony, Violin, SA
  • Finalist - Katrina Brown, Piano, SA
  • Finalist - Warwick Tyrrell, Trombone, NSW
  • Finalist - Susan Dunn, Soprano, QLD
  • Winner - Joan Qiong Shih, Violin, TAS
  • Finalist - Deborah de Graaff, Clarinet, NSW
  • Finalist - Paul Ford, Piano, VIC
  • Finalist - Margaret Schindler, Soprano, QLD
  • Winner - Ian Munro, Piano, VIC
  • Finalist - Ivan James, Cello, NSW
  • Finalist - Geoffrey Payne, Trumpet, VIC
1981 (Award for most outstanding competitor introduced)
  • Winner - Jolanta Nagajek, Mezzo-soprano, WA
  • Finalist - John White, Marimba, SA
  • Finalist - Brett Dean, Viola, QLD
  • Finalist - Robert Zocchi, Piano, ACT
  • Sue-Ellen Paulsen, Cello, QLD
  • Stephen Emmerson, Piano, QLD
  • Claire Primrose, Soprano, VIC
  • Michael Mulcahy, Trombone, VIC
1970 - 1979
  • Keith Birchley, Piano, QLD
  • Liza Cheshire, Flute, NSW
  • Adele Nisbet, Soprano, QLD
  • Howard Penny, Cello, ACT
1978 (Four categories introduced: Vocal, Orchestral Strings, Keyboard, Other Instrumental)
  • Amelia Fonte, Mezzo-soprano, QLD
  • Laurien Kennedy, Cello, VIC
  • Victor Sangiorgio, Piano, VIC
  • Peter Veale, Oboe, SA
  • Susan Blake, Cello, NSW
  • Robyn Cantle, Soprano, NSW
  • Jenni Flemming, Piano, QLD
  • Anthony Halliday, Piano, VIC
  • Rosamund Illing, Soprano, SA
  • Peta Lowe, Violin, SA
  • Graham Godfrey, Tenor, QLD
  • Alan Vivian, Clarinet, VIC
  • Lesley Young, Piano, QLD
  • Virginia Inkratas, Piano, NSW
  • Wendy Verco, Mezzo-soprano, NSW
  • Michele Walsh, Violin, SA
  • Jeffrey Crellin, Oboe, SA
  • Jonathan Summers, Baritone, VIC
  • Renate Turrini, Piano, SA
  • Andrew Peter Bowman, Male alto, QLD
  • Keith Crellin, Viola, TAS
  • Rosalie Myers, Piano, WA
  • Rodney Lowe, Trumpet, VIC
  • Margot Wall, Soprano, VIC
  • Ormsby Wilkins, Piano, VIC
  • Anthony Newcombe, Piano, SA
  • Julie Raines, Harp, VIC
1960 - 1969
  • Gustave Fenyö, Piano, NSW
  • Margaret Garrett, Soprano, NSW
  • Tanya Hunt, Cello, VIC
1968 (Preliminary recital stage introduced. Instrumental categories divided into Keyboard and ‘Other’. Name changed to Instrumental and Vocal competition.)
  • Tom Pommerel, Piano, QLD
  • Nathan Waks, Cello, NSW
  • James Whitbread, Baritone, VIC
  • Robert Davidovici, Violin, NSW
  • Glenys Fowles, Soprano, WA
  • Ian Morgan, Clarinet, VIC
  • Thomas Ungar, Piano, NSW
  • Margaret Crawford, Flute, SA
  • Elizabeth Drake, Piano, VIC
  • Janice Taylor, Soprano, VIC
  • Pamela Bryce, Violin, QLD
  • Vernon Hill, Flute, QLD
  • Janet Lasscock, Soprano, SA
  • Elizabeth Leslie, Piano, NSW
  • Paul Curtis, Flute, NSW
  • Brian Hanly, Violin, WA
  • Elizabeth Tippett, Mezzo-soprano, VIC
  • Roger Woodward, Piano, NSW
  • Althea Bridges, Soprano, NSW
  • Geoffrey Madge, Piano, SA
  • Phillip Miechel, Clarinet, VIC
  • Kerry Smith, Violin, QLD
  • Charmian Gadd, Violin, NSW
  • Janet Gare, Piano, TAS
  • Janice Hearne, Soprano, SA
  • Ruth Gurner, Soprano, SA
  • Rodney Sigston, Piano, VIC
  • Michael Wentzell, Organ, VIC
  • Nance Grant, Soprano, VIC
  • Stephen McIntyre, Piano, VIC
1950 - 1959
  • Gloria McDonall, Soprano, VIC
  • Irene Pang, Piano, NSW
  • Lynette Howieson, Soprano, WA
  • Geoffrey Michaels, Violin, WA
  • Patricia Connop, Soprano, WA
  • Stanley Ritchie, Violin, NSW
  • Russell Cooper, bass-baritone, NSW
  • Janette Hamilton, Piano, NSW
  • Barbara Hoad, Clarinet, QLD
  • Neil Warren-Smith, Bass-baritone, VIC
  • Donald Thornton, Piano, WA
  • Patricia Wyatt, Soprano, WA
  • Lynette Kierce, Soprano, VIC
  • Donald Westlake, Clarinet, VIC
  • Marjorie Conley, Soprano, NSW
  • Max Olding, Piano, VIC
  • Kevin Miller, Tenor, SA
  • Audrey White, Piano, SA
1950 (Awards inaugurated for singers and instrumentalists. Name changed to ABC Concerto and Vocal Competition.)
  • Commonwealth Winner - Ronald Price, Piano, VIC
  • Trevor Lewis, Baritone, NSW
  • Elise Longwill, Soprano, WA
  • Leslie Miers, Piano, VIC
  • Kevin Miller, Tenor, SA
  • Enid Strong, Piano, NSW
1944 - 1949
1949 (Commonwealth Finals first held)
  • Commonwealth Winner - Donald Weekes, Violin, VIC
  • Sylvia Biddle, Soprano, QLD
  • Lyall Duke, Piano, TAS
  • Pamela Flower, Soprano, WA
  • Ronald Jackson, Bass, NSW
  • Pamela Main, Piano, SA
  • Helen McKinnon, Contralto, QLD
  • Juilliard Scholarship Winner - Frances Moran, Piano, WA
  • Norma Cornelius, Soprano, QLD
  • Laurence Davis, Piano, NSW
  • Berenice Lehmann, Piano, SA
  • Juilliard Scholarship Winner - Dallas Haslam, Piano, VIC
  • Juilliard Scholarship Winner - Manfred Clynes, Piano, VIC
  • British Council Scholarship Winner - Beryl Kimber, Violin, NSW
  • Juilliard Scholarship Winner - Sybil Willey, Contralto, QLD
  • No winner selected
1944 (An annual state based competition was organised)
  • Richard Farrell, Piano, NSW
  • Betty Munro George, Piano, WA
  • Audrey White, Piano, SA