2015 News

A piano competition for Young Adult Pianists of Kent, Sussex, Surrey and London postal districts

The 10th anniversary Norah Sande Award, an international piano competition held annually in Eastbourne,  was won this month by an exceptionally talented and celebrated 23 year old, Abigail Sin, who at just 10 years old was described by Time Magazine as "a bona fide prodigy”. Born in Singapore, Abigail has certainly lived up to that potential, winning her first international piano competition at 14, becoming South East Asia’s first ever Young Steinway artist at 17 and she is already considered to have gathered more honours than any other Singaporean musician. Abigail’s musical journey has taken her to major concert venues across the globe including London’s Wigmore Hall and her performances have been broadcast in many countries. She studied with Prof. Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, receiving a Masters degree with distinction and is now a doctoral student under the supervision of Prof Christopher Elton and Dr Briony Cox- Williams at the Royal Academy of Music. She is the recipient of the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship.
2015 Winner, 23 year old Abigail Sin

Abigail received a cheque for £3000 and the opportunity to perform in a recital later in the year.  The final stages were held in the purpose-built concert hall at the Birley Centre, Eastbourne College.  Fifteen semi-finalists  performed a 20 minute programme on Saturday 4th July before a prestigious adjudication panel, Graeme Humphrey, Richard Deering and David Patrick (Chairman)  – all keyboard exponents of international repute.   Three were chosen to perform a full recital programme incorporating classical, romantic and contemporary pieces the following day.  
2015 Winner, 23 year old Abigail Sin
Abigail Sin, winner of the 2015 Norah Sande Award receives a cheque for £3000 from adjudicator David Patrick and the opportunity to perform in recitals in Eastbourne and Huntingdon

Before moving to England to study at the Guildhall, Abigail graduated with First Class Honours as the top student from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory.  She had already won the HSBC Youth Award for Musical Excellence and went on to gain a significant number of top international prizes including 3rd Prize, the Audience Prize and the Students’ Prize at the Lagny sur Marne International Piano Competition in France, the Guildhall’s Romantic Piano Prize and Ivan Sutton Chamber Music Award, the McCallum Prize for a pianist of promise at the Royal Overseas League Music Competition. She has also won top prizes in the USA, Ukraine and Spain, has been selected twice for the Verbier Festival Academy and was awarded "Most Outstanding Performer” at the International Festival of Young Musicians in Lithuania. Committed to developing the classical music scene in Singapore, she has also found time to co-found the More Than Music interactive concert series.  Abigail is indeed a very worthy winner of the tenth anniversary Norah Sande Award.
The 2015 Finalists
Left to right: ;  Abigail Sin, the Winner of the 2015 Norah Sande Award with Runner Up  Ke Ma and third place finalist Tamila Salmidjanova

Ke Ma was named as runner up and received a cheque for £1000. Ke, from the Shandong Province of China, has studied piano performance at the Royal Academy of Music on a full scholarship with Prof Christopher Elton since 2011 and chamber music with Prof Michael Dussek and Andrew West.  During this time she has won several prizes both external and internal, including the Harriet Cohen Bach Prize, the Harold Craxton Prize and the Maisie Lewis Young Artists Fund.  Ke was introduced to the piano at the age of three .  Two years later she won second prize at the prestigious Xiwangbei piano competition in Beijing.  In 2006 she began studies with Prof Galina Popova at the Shanghai Conservatory.   Ke is no stranger to Eastbourne.  She played to critical acclaim with the Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra in its October 2014 concert and forthcoming engagements include the Purcell Room, Wigmore Hall and a recital tour of China.  

Third place and a cheque for £500 was awarded to Tamila Salimdjanova who is currently studying at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, studying with Dmitry Alexeev at the Royal College of Music.  Born in Tashkent, she made her orchestra debut aged 9 with the National Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto KV450.  Tamila gained attention by winning First Prize and Audience Award at the highly prestigious BNDES International Piano Competition in Rio de Janeiro and a prize at the Chopin International Piano Competition in Moscow.

"The outstanding standard of competition was fitting for our tenth Norah Sande Award as increasingly it interests the very top young pianists on the cusp of an international performing career.  The audience from Eastbourne and the South East were treated to world class performances” said Spencer Freeman MBE, the Award’s Artistic Director.

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Artistic Director : Spencer W Freeman MBE

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