Paul Terracini:  Conductor
Damien Beaumont:  Presenter
    Emily Sun
    Robert Johnson

6 individual finalists in the 2023 NSW Secondary Schools Concerto Competition and the Multiples Section winners will perform their selected concerto with orchestra on Sunday 25 June, competing for prizes and opportunities in this prestigious annual event.

2023 is the 39th year the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra (KPO) has run the NSW Secondary Schools Concerto Competition.

The competition is open to secondary school pupils in years 7-12 at schools throughout NSW and the ACT, attracting close to 100 entrants, eager to compete for a coveted position in the Finals Concert and for the prize money of up to $10,000.  

Emily Sun and Robert Johnson will adjudicate performances by finalists performing concerti with Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Artistic Director, Paul Terracini.

Regarded as a stepping stone to national and international success, the competition has been held annually since 1984 and provides an invaluable performance opportunity for young musicians to showcase their talents as concerti soloists accompanied by orchestra. The list of previous winners reflects the names of many well-known personalities in the music world, such as Amy Dickson, Natalie Chee, Grace Clifford, Simon Tedeschi and Anna da Silva Chen.

Hear these talented young musicians give dynamic concerto performances and assert a vibrant future ahead for live classical music performance.


Sharon Zhao, Violin - Sibelius Violin Concerto Op 47 in D minor

Clara Moloney, Cello - Elgar Cello Concerto Op 85 in E minor

Hayley Lau, Viola - Paganini Sonata Per La Grand Viola

Sean Weatherley, Violin - Chausson Poème Op 25

Teresa Yang, Violin - Korngold Violin Concerto in D Major Op 35

Titan Sclavenitis, French Horn - Strauss Horn Concerto No 1 Op 11 in E-flat major

Nicole Wang, Violin and Isabelle Teo, Double Bass - Bottesini Gran Duo Concertante

Damien Beaumont

Studying at Adelaide’s Elder Conservatorium of Music and then in England, Damien joined ABC Classic in 1999, where he now presents weekday Evenings.

In demand as MC, guest speaker, and narrator, Damien was honoured to be asked to present the Gala Farewell for outgoing Governor of NSW Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, at the Sydney Opera House.

Damien has performed with many leading musicians from Australia and overseas such as Piers Lane, The Goldner String Quartet, Michael Collins, Phillipe Graffin, and Jack Liebeck, in such diverse works from Richard Strauss’ Enoch Arden, Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale, to Martin Wesley-Smith's Pip!

Paul Terracini

Dr Paul Terracini was born in Sydney and has enjoyed a career in Australia and internationally as an instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and conductor. He has held permanent positions as Principal Trumpet in the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra; Lecturer in Trumpet, Brass Ensemble and Big Band at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music; and Solo Trumpet in the Danish Chamber Players, Denmark.

As an instrumentalist, he performed as soloist in Australia, Europe, USA, and Asia. Within Australia, his solo performances included concertos with the Melbourne, Queensland, West Australian, and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras.

Paul Terracini has appeared as an opera conductor at the German Rossini Festival in Bad Wilbad, for the Danish Bel Canto Society in Copenhagen, and the Storstroms Symphony Orchestra, also in Denmark. Since assuming the role of artistic director of the Penrith Symphony Orchestra in 2010, he has, apart from programming and conducting the symphonic repertoire, pioneered the performance of chamber opera in western Sydney. For many years he has been invited as a guest conductor/composer to music schools and universities in Europe, USA, China, and Australia. He appears regularly as conductor for the Conservatorium High School, in Sydney. As a choral conductor, he has recorded for ABC Classics with Ars Nova Copenhagen, and the Sydney based choir, Cantillation.

As a composer and arranger, his music has been heard throughout the world in a variety of genres, performed by, amongst others, the Prague Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass, the Danish Chamber Players, the Australian Brass Quintet, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Brass, and at festivals and conferences on every continent. His music for the two part ABC television series, Hymns of the Forefathers, in which he developed many of the traditional English hymns into symphonic poems, received international acclaim and was released on CD and DVD by ABC Classics. His title music for the television series, Classical Destinations, which was produced for three seasons, was featured on the ‘Number 1 Classical Album of the Year,’ released by Decca.

His new CD, Paul Terracini: Music for Brass, was released on the Tall Poppies label in May 2015. On this recording, he conducted his own music with Sydney Brass, featuring members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Paul Terracini also holds a PhD from the University of Sydney, having earlier completed a Bachelor of Theology and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours). His book, John Stoward Moyes and the Social Gospel, was published in 2015.

Emily Sun

Violinist Emily Sun is the 2023 Artist-in-Assocation with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Professor of Violin at the Royal College of Music, London. Engagements this season include concertos with Melbourne Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Adelaide Symphony and West Australian Symphony Orchestras, with conductors Jaime Martin, Benjamin Northey, Asher Fisch, and Mark Wigglesworth. Recent highlights include as soloist with London Mozart Players, Qingdao Symphony, European Union Chamber Orchestra; performances at Wigmore Hall, Seoul Arts Centre, Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House; and alongside Maxim Vengerov at Buckingham Palace. Emily’s debut album ‘Nocturnes’ (ABC Classic) was nominated for a 2021 ARIA award and reached No. 1 on the Classical Charts. She was also the ABC Artist-in-Residence, and BBC Introducing Artist. Awards and prizes include the ABC Young Performers Award, Royal Overseas League Competition (UK); international violin competitions Brahms (Austria), Yampolsky (Russia) and Lipizer (Italy); and Tagore Gold Medal presented to her by HRH King Charles III.

Emily’s next performance in Sydney is Bruch‘s Violin Concerto with the Sydney Symphony in September.

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson studied the French horn at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. After holding the principal horn positions with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Opera Australia Orchestra, he was appointed Principal Horn with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 1986, a position he retired from in 2017. During his time with the SSO, he has performed as soloist in works by Mozart, Richard Strauss, Benjamin Britten and Ross Edwards, and in 2005 he was the horn soloist in the SSO’s first performance of Messiaen’s From the Canyons to the Stars.

In 2009 he commissioned and premiered with the SSO a new horn concerto, Lightfall, by Sydney composer Christopher Gordon. He has also appeared as guest principal with all the major Australian orchestras, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

He has played chamber music with the Australia Ensemble, Sydney Soloists and New Sydney Wind Quintet, and has appeared at the Huntington and Townsville chamber music festivals.

As a teacher he has worked as Senior Horn Lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Canberra School of Music, and he has appeared as Artist in Residence at universities and music schools in Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Hong Kong.

In addition to playing the horn, he sings Mediæval and Renaissance songs in his ‘other life’ as a countertenor and has conducted Ensembles of musicians from the SSO on a number of occasions as The Chamber Soloists of Sydney in “off the beaten track” Repertoire.

Photo credit: Keith Saunders