Ossa Prize takes University performers to new heights

A third-year Conservatorium of Music vocal student will soon be embarking on a regional tour to fulfil the legacy of a new performance prize.

Chloe Evans is the first recipient of the inaugural Ossa Musical award.

Symbolically named after the State’s highest peak, it was established by an anonymous University alumnus to help students pursue excellence in musicianship.

Associate Professor Andrew Legg, Curator of Music and Performance at the College of Arts, Law and Education, said the benefactor had been ‘moved’ by music during a regional concert he attended at a young age.

“The donor is the son of a farmer who grew up on the North-West and belonged to a long line of Tasmanian farmers,” Associate Professor Legg said.

“Not only did he see classical music at his local hall, but it was also a visiting international artist of incredible repute. The performance was as stunning as it was unexpected and unprecedented for his region at this time.

“This one event turned him into a champion of music for the rest of his life. Now, he would like one of our stunning musicians to possibly inspire someone else in the regions to gain this same love for music.

“University of Tasmania alumni have a real desire to give back in significant ways and we are very grateful for this donor’s generosity.”

Prize recipients are supported to tour Tasmania, with performances in the North, North-West and East Coast regions an express wish of the donor.

Chloe was announced as the winner during a public recital in Hobart on Friday, 26 October.

She is currently undertaking the final year of her Bachelor of Music, majoring in classical voice, specialising in music theatre repertoire.

“I am completely humbled by receiving this prize, and excited to have the opportunity to experience the ins and outs of creating my own show, with the guidance of industry professionals we have at the Con. It’s a great way to finish my degree,” Ms Evans said.

“When I applied for the Ossa Prize, I thought about how this experience could help me build skills for my career as a musician.

“For most musicians, we have to create our own work, so learning how to put on my own show and getting the experience and confidence to basically hold the audience’s attention for over an hour will be invaluable.”

In addition to receiving support to organise her tour, Chloe has been awarded $2,500 in prize money.

“This opportunity will build skills for the winning performers in logistics, planning and business management – preparing them for their life to come as a musician,” Associate Professor Legg said.

“Regional communities will also have the opportunity to experience a high standard of musical performances in their own environments, and we are proud to present the best we have.

“We must also congratulate our other 2018 finalists – Thomas McKay (classical saxophone), Khalida de Ridder (violin) and Angus Leighton (contemporary saxophone), who are incredibly talented musicians.”

Chloe will kickstart her tour at the Franklin Palais Theatre on Friday, 30 November, and then perform in Swansea on the 31st – with more dates and locations to be announced soon.

“My ensemble and I have already begun planning the shows, including creating a set list and narrative using some of my favourite musical theatre pieces, including works by Stephen Sondheim, and Pasek and Paul, along with some absolute classics by Rodgers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Loewe.

“There are so many incredible numbers lined up that I can’t wait to share with our regional audiences and I hope to give them an entertaining show.

“Hopefully with the material we are taking to them, we can expand their ideas of what musical theatre can be, and how it can effectively tell a story.

“In the places we are visiting there is a keen interest in the performing arts, so it will be a really great experience, especially for aspiring performance students.”

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