National Youth Concerto Competition 2011


Finals Week 17 - 23 October



The National Youth Concerto Competition (NYCC) is Australia’s leading competition for string players 17 and under. Three finalists and one recitalist are coming to Brisbane to perform in public and school recitals, and to compete for the first price in the String Sensations Concert. 


String Recitals

You can hear the young musicians perform in two string recitals:

Wednesday 19 October 6.30pm - 7.30pm
4MBS Performance Studio, Coorparroo

Free admission
Program tbc


Friday 21 October 6.00pm - 7.00pm
Theme and Variations Showroom, Newstead

Free admission

Lily Higson-Spence, Violin

Sarasate Introduction and Tarantalle
Say Sonata for Violin
Rachmaninoff Vocalise

Wendy Kong, Violin

Bloch Nigun from Baal Shem
“Devil’s Trill” - Sonata
Tchaikovsky Waltz-Scherzo 

Stephanie Stamopoulos, Cello

Bach Cello Suite No. 1: Prelude
Chopin Sonata for Cello and Piano in G Minor, op. 65
Popper Hungarian Rhapsody



Finals Concert

Sunday 23 October 3.00pm - 5.30pm
Old Museum Concert Hall, Bowen Hills

Lalo Sinfonie Espagnol
Soloist Lily Higson-Spence (Violin, from QLD)

Tchaikovsky Variations on a Rococo Theme
Soloist Stephanie Stamopoulos (Cello, from VIC)

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
Soloist Wendy Kong (Violin, from NSW)

Tickets are available at QTIX, online or phone 136 246

More information here


Biographies Finalists

Lily Higson-Spence, Violin

Lily Higson-Spence began violin lessons at the age of six as a student of the Suzuki Method and currently studies with Kerry Smith. In 2010 Lily won several competitions, including the AUSTA Concerto Competition and the Open Scholarship at the Brisbane Instrumental Eisteddfod. She also appeared on television with her brother, FelixStar, as a semi-finalist in the program, “Australia’s Got Talent“. 

Earlier this year, Lily and FelixStar were invited to Paris to perform live on prime time French Television, in a program showcasing young talent from around the world. 2011 has also seen Lily awarded first prize in the Brisbane Junior Instrumental Award and her LMusA with Distinction.

She is in the Senior Excellence program at the Queensland National Ballet, and apart from dance and music, Lily’s other interests include art and acrobatics. 

Stephanie Stamopoulos, Cello

Stephanie Stamopoulos began learning the cello aged 4. Currently in year 12, Stephanie is at Ruyton Girls’ School where she holds a music scholarship. Solo Performance highlights to date include performing at the Elizabeth Murdoch Hall (Melbourne Recital Centre), Verbrugghen Hall, BMW edge, Wilson Hall, Palais Theatre and the Stadtmuseum Musikschule in Klosterneuburg, Austria. Stephanie is currently learning off Josephine Vains and has performed in Master classes with world-renowned cellists such as Maria Kliegel, Hans Jørgen Jensen, Robert Cohen, Gabriel Schwabe and KyungEun Choi.

Stephanie’s achievements include first place in the 25 and under Dandenong Concerto Competition (2007), Costas Tsicaderis scholarship award (2008), and the Olwyn Game Memorial Award (2010). In 2009, Stephanie received her Licentiate of Music diploma with Distinction and was selected to perform at the ‘Conferring of Diplomas’ ceremony. In 2010, Stephanie was a finalist in the Melbourne Recital Centre Bach Competition as well as the Preston Youth Concerto Competition.

Stephanie has also participated several programs including the Australian String Academy, Euro Music Festival, Adelaide International Cello Festival and was a Young Academy Musician member of the Australian National Academy (YANAM).


Wendy Kong, Violin

Wendy Kong is 15 years old and is currently in year 10 at the Sydney Conservatorium High School. She started playing the violin at the age of six. She is studying with Charmian Gadd and Robin Wilson. Wendy achieved her AmusA with distinction at the age of 11 and was awarded LmusA in the following year.

Wendy has been a prize winner in various sections of competitions including Macdonald’s Sydney Eistedfodd, St George Eisteddfods and many more. She also achieved Award of Excellence for music in the Conservatorium High School. Last year she performed Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the Sutherland Shire Symphony Orchestra as a featured soloist.  Wendy got into the semi-finals of her instrumental group in the ABC Young Performers Award, both this year and the year before. Recently, Wendy was a semi-finalist in the Kendall National Violin Competition and she was the youngest finalist in the Balmain Concerto Competition.

Wendy was recently announced as a finalist in the 2mbs FM Young Performer Award.

Wendy was a scholarship winner at the Australian Institute of Music and Australian String Academy. She has performed at the Shanghai Expo 2010 as one of the members representing NSW public schools. Wendy has held 3 violin recitals before, at ages 9, 13 and 14. Wendy’s other interests include sports, reading and travelling.

Wendy plays on a 1929 A E Smith violin.


Biography Recitalist

Robert van Gend, Viola

Robert is 17 years old and has been learning the viola for 5 years with Mary Nemet. In 2007 and 2008 Robert was awarded the Harmer Memorial Scholarship for viola studies.

In June this year, Robert was awarded the AMusA (with Distinction) in viola, and in 2008 he was awarded the AMusA for Ensemble Performance (string duo) with his younger brother. Robert also studies the violin, achieving LMusA in 2010.

For the past three years Robert has led the string orchestra and symphony orchestra at the McGregor Summer School at the University of Southern Queensland, and this year was concert master for the Queensland GPS (Greater Public Schools) orchestra. He plays in the Cantata String Quartet.

Robert attends Toowoomba Grammar School and his other interests include tennis, soccer, and chess.