Griffith students snare national percussion prize

Queensland Conservatorium student Lochlin Dormer has won Australia’s most prestigious percussion award – the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Snare Drum Prize.

FellowQueensland Conservatorium percussion students Morgan Veal and Grace Kruger also made it into the finals, taking home second place and an Encouragement Award respectively.

The award was established in 2004 as part of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Development Program, and the prize includes a one year mentorship with MSO’s top percussionists.

This marks the second year in a row that a Queensland Conservatorium student has won the prize, which is open to tertiary percussion students across the country.

Bachelor of Music student Lochlin Dormer said winning the prize would provide further opportunities for him to pursue a career as a professional musician.

“I am super excited about the mentorship with the MSO,” he said.

“It’s one of the best orchestras in Australia, and I get a chance to sit in on rehearsals and learn directly from their percussionists.

“This will definitely open doors for me after I graduate.”

Lochlin dreams of playing with some of the world’s great orchestras, but he has a varied musical background, which includes stints with folk ensemble The Boxties and tours with the Queensland Conservatorium musical theatre department.

“I think having varied musical experiences gives you a wide range of skills and a completely different approach to playing.

“The piece I chose for the Snare Drum Prize was performed on a small drum set and inspired by New Orleans second line drumming.

“It was a chance to show my technical skills, but I also wanted to demonstrate as much musical experience and character as possible.”

Second-year Bachelor of Music student Morgan Veal won second place in the competition – an experience he describes as “pretty fantastic”.

“I’m only in my second year at the Con, so winning a place in a national competition definitely gives me courage to audition for things like the Australian Youth Orchestra and opens up new possibilities.”

Fellow second-year Bachelor of Music student Grace Kruger also won a place in the finals, taking home an Encouragement Award.

“It was a great experience, I didn’t go into with any expectations – I just saw it as a chance to improve my skills and build up some audition experience.

“I can’t wait to go back and try and again next year!”

Queensland Conservatorium Head of Percussion Associate Professor Vanessa Tomlinson said the competition provided students with an “invaluable experience”.

“This competition recognises the best percussion students in the country, and all of our students put in a phenomenal performance,” she said.

“This is the second year in a row that one of our students has taken out the top prize, which includes a mentorship with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

“The competition itself replicates the audition process that many of our students will face when they seek entry into the country’s top orchestras, so it’s an invaluable experience.”

Queensland Conservatorium Director Professor Scott Harrison said the fact that three of four finalists in the national competition were from QCGU reflected the calibre of the program.

“The percussion program at the Queensland Conservatorium is second to none,” he said.

“We have remarkable faculty and attract the best students from Australia and around the world.”