Afternoon Tea in Support of the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition
Chairman, Justice Daubney; immediate past Chairman, Mr Ian Hanger QC; founding Patron, Mr Donald Magarey; our Artistic Directors; distinguished jury members; ladies and gentlemen; and, importantly, our wonderful pianists, including the ‘Little Levs’ and their families.
Welcome to Government House. It is my great pleasure, with Kaye, to host this afternoon’s reception in support of the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition and Festival.
This time yesterday, I had just returned from an 800-strong Scout camp at Samford – yes, in my Scouts uniform! Then a parliamentary presiding officers and clerks reception here, and opening their conference this morning on the Speaker’s Green.
And so this gem of a reception is delightfully wedged between parliament and the NAIDOC Week reception which will happen here today at 5, with young Indigenous artists from Bundaberg State High School calling at 4.
What an amazingly varied role this is!
And I forgot to mention, visiting the USS Ronald Reagan on Sunday evening… I won’t even touch on the State of Origin tomorrow night – too contentious!
But mentioning State interests…
We are so pleased this extraordinary piano competition, unquestionably one of Australia’s most prestigious, is now in its eleventh glittering iteration as an established Queensland competition! To me and Kaye, that is its most dazzling dimension, but we acknowledge with pride its national and international dimension.
How wonderful it is that the competition provides a platform for young people especially, to grow and learn, and to express and refine the sparkling bravura of their artistry.
While there is rightly a focus on the competitive element of the program, the festival also embraces masterclasses and workshops, encouraging and nurturing the personal and professional development of our young musicians.
I have a great personal fondness for the competition, dating from my sometime role as Patron. When Chief Justice, I recall I hosted a lunch for the jury members in my Chambers – Piers Lane, Ronald Farren-Price, and others, royal personages in the world of piano forte. It was a very pleasant lunch, but I committed the faux pas of playing a cassette tape – that dates us doesn’t it – of one of Natasha’s fine performances as “background music”: lowered brows confirmed to me that virtuosos do not furnish mere background music.
May I congratulate everyone involved in staging this year’s competition – and indeed, all competitions over the past two decades.
During that time, the competition has stayed refreshingly true to its central mission: beneficial interaction between emerging artists and the wider profession … and let us not forget appreciative audiences!
I particularly thank the Board; Artistic Directors, Natasha Vlassenko and Oleg Stepanov; and Mr O’Conor, jury chair, who along with fellow jurors will award this year’s prize.
I am conscious, jury members and judges, that I am myself continually assessed in my performance of this vice-regal role: I know, notwithstanding your charter of perfection, that you will be gentle with me… as you will be understanding with all the competitors!
I thank the many supporters of the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition, from the principal sponsors – Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Yamaha Music Australia – to the parents and host families.
To the finalists in this year’s Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition – well done. You have already achieved a great deal to be in contention for this year’s competition.
Whatever the future brings, you should be proud of your accomplishments. No matter where you are on your musical journey, continue to strive, practice and play.
Until the final presentation on 12 July, play well and enjoy yourselves! Thank you.