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Pianist Sarah Chick awarded Ossa Music Prize

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Pianist Sarah Chick has been awarded the prestigious 2023 Ossa Music Prize with a program highlighting the work of lesser-known women composers.

Third-year Bachelor of Music student Sarah receives a prize valued at $10,000, which includes $2500 for her own use and a fully funded tour of regional Tasmania.

“I’m really excited because I can take this program out on tour,” she said.

“I’m really passionate about that and really grateful to be chosen to do that.”

Sarah’s final concert presentation at the Hedberg, Portraits: Women Composing Wonders, included the works of French composer Cecile Chaminade, pioneering Black American Margaret Bonds and young Australian Aristea Mellos.

“I wanted the audience to get to know composers that were less well-known,” Ms Chick said.

“Female composers, particularly in classical music, are under-represented so I developed Portraits wanting to highlight their lives and bring that to the concert.”

Sarah won over fellow finalists Miffy Wang, also a pianist, and jazz guitarist Gianni Puli. She also took out the People’s Choice Award voted on by the audience.

The 2023 Ossa Music prize finalists
Ossa Music prize finalists Miffy Wang, the Gianni Puli Trio and Sarah Chick

Sarah began playing the piano at the age of six and completed her Associate in Music Australia, awarded to outstanding students, while at school. She currently teaches young students, works as an accompanist for the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra’s Junior Chorale and performs both as a soloist and in chamber ensembles.

Judging panel chair and Lecturer in Contemporary Music Alistair Dobson said the Ossa final had demonstrated the talent across the Music program’s streams.

“Tonight we saw the jazz and pop stream and the classical stream,” he said.

“It just speaks to the diversity of the talent, the students’ interests in the repertoire they choose and what they’re all about themselves.”

The judging panel, also including renowned musicians Jennifer Marten-Smith and Julia Fredersdorff, had faced a difficult decision, Mr Dobson said.

“Sarah’s overall concept featuring women composers that she’s inspired by as a young female performer herself is a beautiful and strong story and an important one for people to experience,” he said.

The Ossa Prize is named after Tasmania’s highest mountain peak and was established in 2018 by University alumnus Dr Rod Roberts and Mrs Cecile Roberts to help students pursue excellence in musicianship. The tour will include a performance in Queenstown in memory of Margaret Stoermer, thanks to support provided by her family.

It will also include the North West and East Coast, with dates to be announced in the coming weeks.

Images: Oi Studios