Opera Showcase Open to Sponsors


In 1999 the Dame Joan Sutherland Vocal Awards held its first contest to showcase and help ambitious young singers to become stars on the world’s greatest opera stages and concert platforms.

Thirteen years later the Noosa cultural icon is looking for some help itself as the private donor who has continuously put up the $30,000 prizemoney has decided reluctantly to end support.

Any suggestion, however, that Noosa Federation of the Arts intends pulling down the curtain on the Awards is denied strongly by Meg Lawrence, who chairs the Federation.

“This is the richest and most prestigious vocal competition in regional Australia. That isn’t me saying this. The contestants come from Perth to Sydney to Darwin, all over the country, and that’s what they tell me. It has too much tradition for us to end it.

“We have decided to defer next year’s contest until 2014 while we put in place a range of sponsorships and corporate and private giving strategies to stage the event and provide future financial viability.

“We already have $10,000 towards 2014 from someone who lives in Noosa. If there is anyone else out there who wants to support us - in either a big or a small way - we’d love to hear from you. I should add all donations are tax deductible.

“We started putting the Awards together in 1994 after Dame Joan came to Noosa. She was here for a Federation luncheon and I asked her, ‘Do you mind if we have a competition in your name?’ She was a very down-to-earth person and she sighed, ‘Oh no, not another one,’ but she agreed.”

Meg said the Awards have produced some wonderful winners and finalists who are now performing on Australian and world stages.

“The success story of soprano Mirusia Lowerse is what dreams are made of. She won the Award’s $15,000 first prize in 2006. Her aunt who lives in Holland contacted Andre Rieu’s wife who said Mirusia should come and audition. She used her prize money to go to Holland, impressed Andre and left with a five-year contract.

“Another famous soprano is Amy Wilkinson, who won in 2001. Amy went on to win a New York Metropolitan Opera Scholarship, auditioned for Paris Opera and is now with Australian Opera.

“And there are stars like Shaun Brown, Virgilio Marino, Guy Booth, Georgia Hawes, Emily Burke - the list goes on.”

Brad Jarrett is artistic administrator of Opera Queensland and he told Noosa Today some of Australia’s greatest singers like Joan Sutherland and Margreta Elkins “owed the beginnings of their illustrious careers to singing competitions. The Dame Joan Awards is one such competition which has enabled young singers to further their studies in language and vocal technique both here and abroad.”

The Awards have been linked with the Noosa Longweekend Festival of the arts since 2005. “It is a high quality event and our association is important. It has a wonderful history with us,” said Longweekend chairman, Karen Mitchell.

“The regard for this unique event by patrons is clearly evident. It is extremely well attended and has become a festival favourite. We understand the great difficulty in securing sponsorship for the arts (and in the region) and wish the Federation every success.”

Information on sponsorships and donations is available from Meg Lawrence.

Original article in Noosa Today by Jim Fagan, 15/11/2012.

Two Violins And Piano Concert


…listening to the haunting strains of a violin wafting through the rainforest on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

That is the scenario for Noosa Federation of the Arts’ next concert, “Two violins and a Piano”, to be held at “Bangalow”, the magnificent Verrierdale rainforest home and gardens of international film director Richard MacCarthy and his wife Amanda.

Gifted violinist Lilly Camden will play on a Giovanni Grancino violin made in 1699. Her daughter, Sasha, will join her for the Vivaldi Concerto for 2 violins in A minor. Sasha was leader of her primary school orchestra, and is first violinist with her secondary school orchestra. They will be accompanied by Sayuri Kishi-Debski on piano for this dream concert with works by J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi (with Sasha), Fritz Kreisler, finishing with the hauntingly beautiful “Meditation” from Thais by Massenet. This will be the first time Lilly and Sasha will perform in public together so it will be a very special afternoon.

Lilly Camden

International violinist, Lilly Camden was First and Second violinist with the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. She also played with the London Virtuoso with John Georgiadis and James Galway. Lilly now lives in Sydney with her 14 year-old daughter, Sasha

Sayuri graduated from Ferris University, Yokohama, Japan and continued her studies at the Kodály Pedagogical Institute in Hungary. In 1983 she moved to Australia, where she had an active career as an ear training specialist, chamber music performer, accompanist and soloist. In 1996 she joined the staff of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts as a full-time lecturer in aural training.

The violin Lilly is playing was made in 1699 in Milan by Giovanni Grancino who was a student of Amati, the same as Stradivari.

Because this concert is in a private house, pre-booking is essential.

When: 2.30 – 4.30pm Sunday April 22nd 2012 Where? 94 – 96 Tallgum Ave, Verrierdale off Eumundi Road. (Look for Australian Nougat Factory sign on corner) Tickets are $35 for members and $40 for friends and general public with cash bar and nibbles. Phone: Pat Hahn on 07 5473 0809. Mastercard and Visa accepted. Special note: Will you please wear flat-heeled shoes. “Bangalow” has a very special floor easily damaged by high heels. Thank you. Enjoy.


Our 2011 Spring / Summer newsletter is now online. Find it here.

Biosphere Day

Noosa Biosphere Day

A community celebration!

Building on last year’s inaugural event, Noosa Biosphere Day 2011 returns to Noosa Woods with masses of fun for everyone. There will be lots of local entertainment and activities for kids, with fun for all the family.
Don’t miss out on a great day of fun

September 18th, 10am - 3pm.

Cosi - Dame Joan Sutherland Award Winners

CosiThe inaugural winner of the NFA's Dame Joan Sutherland Award in 1999, Shaun Brown and 2008 winner, Virgilio Marino.

Both are leads in the current production of Cosi Fan Tutte at the Lyric Opera QPAC, Queensland.

Photo courtesy Opera Queensland.  Photographer Ian Golding

Farbach Dynasty Lives On

StephanieRick Farbach, the greatest exponent of jazz guitar in Australia, has sired a dynasty of musicians. Son Kent (named after Stan Kenton) Farbach is a noted composer and teacher in Brisbane (“one of the most important young Australian composers in Australia today” - Anthony Camden, Provost and Director of The Queensland Conservatorium, and Artistic Adviser for the Noosa Federation of the Arts.). Rick's daughter, Pia, was the supreme chorale director in the NT, daughter Kim is a flautist and teacher in Melbourne, and now Stephanie, his grand-daughter has just won the Northern Territory’s Centenary Anthem Competition… as well as giving birth to the next Farbach musical genius.

Rick, in whose honour the Immanuel Scholarship for a young jazz musician is named, was a driving force in the early years of Television, being Musical Director for each of the three channels in Brisbane at the one time! His book, “Cleftomania” charts his life from war-torn Europe to the jazz scene in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Although Ross River Fever robbed Rick of his keyboard finger movement, he taught himself to play the jazz harmonica, and at the age of 80 was still playing jazz gigs in Brisbane.

Original NT News Article