Alexander Hanysz My participation in the Geoffrey Parsons Award has provided some of the highlights of my career so far. The opportunity to work with professional singers and instrumentalists has been both educational and inspiring. The feedback provided by the judges has always been useful. And of course the cash prizes and opportunity to give a high-profile prizewinner’s recital have been a boost to my career. I would highly recommend this experience to any pianist interested in pursuing the art of ensemble performance. Leigh HarroldThe most fascinating aspect of winning the Geoffrey Parsons Award was the snowball effect it had on my fledgling career as an associate artist. Because part of the prize involved a paid concert with a professional instrumentalist I found that I had to put my OWN piano playing under incredible scrutiny in an attempt to match my partner in terms of technique and artistry.
Preparing in such detail and then performing in public was an enormous boost to my confidence, and with every successful performance came more self- assurance and more offers of work. The effect was exponential and it would not be too much to say that without exposure through the Geoffrey Parsons Award, the wheels may not have been set in motion at all.
The experience of being involved in the “Geoffrey Parsons Award” (or the “Accompanists’ Prize” as it was called then) was an invaluable one. It sounds very obvious, but the opportunity to prepare, compete and perform in one’s chosen field is one that is open to every performer – but very rarely to the accompanist or chamber pianist. So the very fact that the competition existed was a very validating experience.
Winning the competition in 1989 gave me the opportunity to perform with a professional soloist – in my case that was the superb viola player and conductor Keith Crellin. This was a wonderful experience and really challenged me in many ways – particularly in the exploration of greater tone colours. It also established a working relationship and friendship that continues to this day. In addition to this, the recognition I received and the prize money helped to strengthen the belief that accompanying is a valid, rewarding and necessary career – a belief that the Accompanists’ Guild of SA continues to foster.