Excellence & Awards

Margaret Schofield Memorial Scholarship

Margaret Schofield Memorial Scholarship for Composition announced

young man sitting at a piano smiling

Alexander Owens recipient of the 2018 Margaret Schofield
Memorial Scholarship for Composition.

Alexander Owens was awarded the 2018 Margaret Schofield Memorial Scholarship for Composition. He was presented with his scholarship at the Top Class Sound concert on Friday 23 February at Melba Hall.

When the VCAA Bulletin caught up with Alexander to talk about receiving the scholarship he was bright and cheerful. 'I'm beyond thrilled', he said. 'It is an incredible opportunity to have this support for my further study'.

Alexander composed three unique pieces: Fragen, meaning 'ask', is a work for piano and voice. The lyrical yet intense nature of the work signals Owen's personal style as a composer. Some Things are Broken is a piano and violin duet that explores contemporary harmony and performance techniques for both piano and violin to create a work of strongly contrasting sections that move between an ethereal and questioning texture to more dramatic moments. Waldesgespräch, meaning 'forest conversation', is a micro-cantata for voice and orchestra, a highly complex work that draws on a range of influences from art and film music and is somewhat reminiscent of Danny Elfman's work with filmmaker Tim Burton.

'When I compose, for me it's about story and meaning. Music supports the emotions I want the audience to feel', Alexander said. He hopes to take his passion for story and evocative music overseas once he completes his degree.

'I'd like to take up residency in Europe and work on operas – I love the romantic French and German operas.'

The selection panel for the Margaret Schofield scholarships considers students who will continue their music studies at a tertiary level. Applicants' study scores for VCE Music Style and Composition, VCE Music Investigation, VCE Music Performance and VCE VET Music are also considered.

VCAA Performing Arts Curriculum Manager, Helen Champion, said the selection panel was amazed by each applicant; however, Alexander really stood out.

Helen said, 'We were struck by the maturity of his approach, and his dedication and interest in self-directing his study as a composer. The panel were also impressed with the range of techniques and styles evident in his work.

'His interest in composing and writing pieces for himself and others is evident in the breadth of his work.'

The family of the late Margaret Schofield established the scholarships for music performance and composition in her name, as recognition of her achievements as a musician and her commitment to music education. The scholarships are coordinated by the VCAA and help recipients to achieve their goal of further study by providing $5000 towards the cost of tertiary study in music.

The winners of the scholarships for Music Performance will be announced at the Top Class Music concerts on Tuesday 6 March 2018.

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