Music students compete for $6000 prize at Graduation Concert

06 April 2016

Three virtuoso musicians from the University of Auckland’s School of Music will take to the stage next month to compete for a $6,000 prize and the opportunity to progress an illustrious solo career, at the annual Graduation Gala Concerto Competition, held at the Auckland Town Hall.

This year the finalists – Siyu Sun (piano), Anna Cooper (flute), and Lauren Bennett (violin) – will compete for the grand prize, accompanied by the University of Auckland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by internationally acclaimed musician and School of Music Professor Uwe Grodd.

The free popular concert, now in its 8th year, marks the culmination of the University’s Autumn Graduation Week.

The Graduation Gala will open with a welcome fanfare by the Auckland Chamber Choir, directed by Dr Karen Grylls. Next the University of Auckland Massed Choir will perform Dies Irae from Mozart’s Requiem, accompanied by the University Symphony Orchestra.

Each of the three finalists will then perform a concerto for judging by Dr Davinia Caddy, School of Music Senior Lecturer in Musicology; Ronan Tighe, Director of Artistic Planning at the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and Dr Peter Walls, CEO of Chamber Music New Zealand.

The top performer will receive $6,000 with $4,000 for second place and $3,000 for third. One performer will also receive a special Graduation Gala Development Prize of $2000.

"The Graduation Gala Concerto Competition is a wonderful opportunity for the Auckland community to experience the exceptional talent of all our performers,” says Associate Professor Martin Rummel, Head of the School of Music. “The standard of musicianship is a tribute to the students’ many hours of hard work as well as the dedication and input of their performance teachers,” he says.

The University of Auckland Graduation Gala Concerto Competition will be held on Thursday 12 May at the Auckland Town Hall (Queen Street) at 7.30pm. Admission is free; patrons are strongly advised to arrive early to be assured of admission.

Visit the Graduation Gala website:

Media queries to Miranda Playfair,