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An annual award presented by Music Shoalhaven in honour of our friend and colleague, Hugh Macken

The HUGH MACKEN AWARD was instigated on 10th March 1996, by Music Shoalhaven (Then the Nowra Music Club) in honour of Hugh Macken, a very enthusiastic Music Director of the club who died suddenly from a severe heart attack. After his untimely death, four of Hugh's friends, pianists Rachel Valler and MiraJetvic in company with soprano, Ona Boyd-Frazier, and tenor, David Haydon, accompanied by Edna Walker, staged a special memorial concert for his many friends. The proceeds of this concert were given to Music Shoalhaven to be the basis of an Award in Hugh's name. Hugh’s passion was for the piano. The award is given by Music Shoalhaven to a young pianist residing in the Shoalhaven, who shows both potential in talent and enthusiastic dedication to his/her craft.


Albert Au 

Albert was drawn to music from infancy and began formal instruction when he was three. At 13 years of age he began studying with Tania McGrath. He has also taken up the violin and is presently preparing for AMU exams for both instruments. He has performed with On-Pointe Productions, in many Shoalhaven and Wollongong Eisteddfods (with great success) and secured the St Cecilia Piano Classical Music Scholarship. Apart from these outstanding successes, Albert remains grounded and compassionate. He aspires to utilise the therapeutic power of music by performing in aged care and nursing home facilities.


Max Kielly

Bio to come

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Arthur Bowcher

Arthur Bowcher is a concert pianist and a long term resident of the South Coast. He has performed on many occasions throughout the Shoalhaven and surrounds. Arthur's repertoire is rich with works from the classical romantic period. Franz Liszt and Sergei Rachmaninov heavily influenced Arthur's early development as a pianist, as is evident in his expressive style and delicate yet fierce technical capabilities. The depth of his touch possesses a great maturity and resonates on a profoundly emotional level. Most recently Arthur has been working with musical theatre groups, performing orchestral scores such as 'Les Miserables' and the Tchaikovsky 'Nutcracker Ballet' with full orchestral backing. Arthur is also currently accepting students for piano in the local area. 

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Jeremy Lindsay

Jeremy began playing piano at the age of 6 and immediately discovered a love for music, which led him to complete the ABRSM practical piano grades with distinction in 2016. Jeremy has performed at many recitals and concerts, including a film music concert with a professional symphony orchestra. In 2017, Jeremy won various Shoalhaven and Wollongong eisteddfod sections including the Teen Piano Championship and was awarded the Lindsay Fowler Memorial Scholarship by the Rotary Club of Nowra. Jeremy has played the viola since mid-2017, playing with his school orchestra as well as the Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra. Ever since the age of 10, Jeremy’s primary musical interest has been in composition and draws inspiration from a wide range of composers including Chopin, Debussy, Ravel, Messiaen, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Stravinsky, and Shostakovich. He also has interest in producing electronic music. A longtime fan of Jon Hopkins, Ametsub, and Jan Amit, among others. Jeremy’s goal is to innovate an eclectic style of music for dance and film that synthesises acoustic and electronic elements.


Luke Bowen

Luke began piano studies in 2011 in Brisbane at age eight, following two years of Kodaly musicianship. More recently under the tuition of Tania McGrath, Luke completed 4th Grade (AMEB) in September 2015 and 7th Grade in November 2016, both with Honours. He is currently exploring the piano repertoire from 8th Grade through to Diploma levels and aspires to a career as a concert pianist. Luke appeared in the City of Shoalhaven Stars of the Eisteddfod concerts in 2015 and 2016. He has performed at several concerts organised by the Music Teachers' Association both in Nowra and in the Illawarra, and won Second Prize in the MTA Junior Music Festival Instrumental section in November 2016. In 2017 Luke played a recital by invitation of internationally acclaimed tenor John MacNally at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre. He also performed for visiting groups on the magnificent Steinway at Bundanon by invitation of the Bundanon Trust.


Megan White

Megan started piano lessons at age 10 with Maryanne Balbi. She has passed grade 2, 4 and 5 piano exams in the AMEB classical syllabus. She has also passed her grade 1 theory exam (musicianship) and at the end of August 2014 will sit for Grade 2. Megan has performed successfully at the Shoalhaven Eisteddfod for several years.  In the 2012 Eisteddfod Megan achieved a 1st and 2nd place. In 2013 she achieved a 2nd place and highly commended as well as receiving the Edna Walker Award (most promising Shoalhaven pianist 14 years and under). In 2014 she achieved two highly commended awards. On Australia Day 2014, Megan was awarded the Milton Ulladulla Times music scholarship sponsored by Milton Ulladulla Lions Club. Her favourite classical composers include Debussy – “I love to play pieces that are dreamy and atmospheric, and also pieces that are dissonant and syncopated.” Particular favourites include 'Reverie' by Debussy and 'In Oriental Style' by Bartok. She also likes to play and sing songs that are "haunting and soulful". Megan's plans include continued piano study, as well as singing and playing guitar, and she hopes that in the future she will be able to share her passion for music through performance.

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Jessie Irvine

Jessie started piano lessons at age 9 years old with Helen Geddes. She studied piano continuously until age 16 when a family move for her school studies took her away from the Shoalhaven and music study. She later returned to Nowra in 2009, joining the Lydian singers. Jessie then realised "that music was my true love and I returned to piano lessons with Julie Emery Sexton".  She passed 6th grade ANZCA practical last year with honours and a mark of 92.  Jessie is catching up on her theory too and will be doing 4th grade at the end of the year. She plans to continue her piano grades and do her A-mus and hopefully a music degree. Jessie would love to be a music director of some sort or a teacher. But most of all, she wants to share music. At the 2011 Stars of the Eisteddfod concert, she was awarded the Arts Board Medallion. Jessie has also involved herself in singing - both choral with The Lydians - and ensemble performance with guitarist Jim Dorrington's 'Trio42' - and as a solo performer.


Ellen Burke

Ellen started her piano studies in Year 2 at school when she was 8. Ellen performed and was successful in the piano competition at the 2010 Shoalhaven Eisteddfod, which she has entered for many years. Her favorite composers are Chopin, Gershwin, Kerin Bailey, Christopher Norton. Ellen previously studied piano under Catherine Cartledge, a teacher in Cambewarra, and recently completed her eighth grade AMEB piano exam, receiving an A. She is currently studying with a new teacher, Julie Emery-Sexton learning about chords and improvising on the piano. Ellen also plays violin under the tutelage of Scott Taggart, and is a member of the Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra (SYO) which she enjoys both for the music and the friendships.

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