BERNSTEIN® 2018 Piano Competition

Junior: 11am, Sunday 7th October 2018

Senior: 2pm, Sunday 7th October 2018

The Bernstein Piano Competition will be held on the Schimmel Stage at Bernies Music Land, 381 Canterbury Road, Ringwood VIC 3134.

The National BERNSTEIN® Competition is Australia's longest running sponsored piano competition. It is designed to encourage young piano students and provide a friendly, yet competitive environment for students to excel in piano performance. Excellent cash prizes totalling $1000 with beauiful trophies are presented in both Junior (Under 12 years) and Senior (13 to 16 years) Divisions. 

Senior 1st Prize $500 cash.
Junior 1st Prize $300 cash

The National Final of the BERNSTEIN® Competition is held at Bernies Music Land in Ringwood, Victoria and includes finalists selected from Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Cairns and Shepparton Regional BERNSTEIN® Masterclasses and heats.

Students wishing to compete must participate in a Masterclass sessions and may be invited by the teachers (in writing) shortly after the Masterclass. The minimum standard for participation in the National BERNSTEIN® Competition is:

Under 12: grade 3 AMEB or equivalent
13-16 years: grade 5 AMEB or equivalent

Audience entry is free and can be booked here.


BERNSTEIN® Piano Masterclass 2018

  Under 12 Years 13 - 16 Years Teacher
Saturday 21st April 2pm(Completed) 3.30pm(Completed) Christopher Norton
Tuesday 3rd July 10am - 11.30am(Completed) 12.30pm - 2.30pm(Completed) Tamara Smolyar
Saturday 7th July 10am - 11.30am(Completed) 12.30pm - 2.30pm(Completed) Alison Kirkpatrick
Saturday 14th July 10am - 11.30am(Completed) 12.30pm - 2.30pm(Completed) Mikhail Solovei
Saturday 22nd September  10am - 11.30am(Booked Out) 12.30pm - 2.30pm(Booked Out) Robert Chamberlain
Monday 24th September 10am - 11.30am(Booked Out) 12.30pm - 2.30pm(Booked Out) Kenji Fujimura

Bernstein Masterclass sessions are conducted by the Team of Pianists and guest teachers at Bernies Music Land.
Please phone Bernies Music Land on 9872 5122 for inquiries. 

Book online or View The Bernstein Masterclass Brochure 


Teacher Biographies

Christopher Norton

Christopher Norton was born in New Zealand in 1953. He began composing at the age of 14, and, by the age of 16, had an orchestral work performed and broadcast. Having completed an honours degree in music from Otago University, Dunedin, in 1974, he met with some success as a pianist in New Zealand, playing with the New Zealand Symphony orchestra and broadcasting on the Concert Programme. At the same time, he was teaching music in local high schools, beginning to freelance as a composer and arranger, and had also started to play keyboards in a rock band, having becoming interested in jazz and pop.

Coming to the UK in 1977 on a University Scholarship, Christopher Norton studied composition at York University with Wilfred Mellers and David Blake, writing a variety of pieces, including choral works, orchestral pieces, piano music and musicals. While playing in various bands, he started to experiment with combinations of styles that crossed the divide between his classical background, and more contemporary popular styles.

Christopher Norton is now well established as a composer, producer, arranger and educationalist and has written stage musicals, ballet scores, piano music, popular songs and orchestral music as well as jingles and signature tunes for TV and radio. He lectures all over the world on aspects of his work and likes to integrate traditional teaching methods with aspects of modern technology. He has also found time to produce huge numbers of albums for the gospel market, with releases worldwide selling in excess of 1,000,000 units.

Tamara Smolyar

Tamara Smolyar represents the finest traditions of the famous Russian piano school and comes from a family with a musical background, which spans over four generations. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Tamara began her formal piano lessons at the age of four. She studied with professors O.Orlova (a pupil of K.Mikhailov), I. Ryabov (pupil of J.Zaak), and E. Rzhanov (pupil of J.Fliere).

Tamara played with many internationally renowned musicians and conductors from Australia, Germany, France, Russia, Israel, New Zealand, Japan, UK, Switzeland, Czechoslovakia, and the USA. She has given masterclasses at various music schools, colleges and universities in Russia, Australia, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Romania. In recent years Tamara performed at the Symposium of the International Musicological Society, International Double Reed Society, International Bucharest Contemporary Music Festival, Yamaha Concert Series, ”Steinway Spectacular” Concert Series.

Over more than twenty five years of teaching experience Tamara has been fostering and developing the talents of the musicians under her tutelage to a high level of music performance. She instils in her students a solid technique and opens their ears to the vast scope of the piano literature.

Alison Kirkpatrick

Alison Kirkpatrick is a highly experienced, well established piano teacher who has been working in Melbourne in recent years and before that in New York, USA. She is also a performer for solo keyboard, concerto playing, chamber music and as a collaborator with other performers.

Alison graduated with two degrees in Performing and Music Education from the University of Melbourne. She was awarded First Class Honours for Piano in her final year. Subsequently she studied at Manhattan School of Music in New York, graduating with a Masters degree. Additional areas of study during this time included piano accompanying, chamber music, lieder interpretation and Spanish keyboard music. Alison was privileged to study with recognized piano teachers such as Jacob Lateiner, Frances Hall-Ballard Josef Seiger and Josef Raieff. She was also fortunate to meet and play for Dorothy Taubman, an internationally famous pedagogue who exerted great influence on the teaching methodology of technique as well as other areas. Alison attended the Taubman Institute while in the USA.

Since returning to Melbourne, Alison continued performing and teaching. She is also an examiner and has conducted masterclasses for students as well as workshops for various teacher groups. These include the Victorian Music Teachers Association of which Alison acted as a director of the state council. In addition she is an adjudicator at eisteddfods and competitions not only including piano but also for vocal sections and various instruments, bands and orchestras. There are also frequent requests for consultations from students and teachers.

Alison's students have achieved oustanding results such as High Distinctions for AmusA and LMusA diplomas from the Australian Music Examinations Board as well as other grades. She has many students who have passed Diplomas and in any year at least one third of her students are preparing Diploma programmes.

Mikhail Solovei

Mikhail Solovei was born in Ukraine and studied at the State College of Music, Ukraine. In 1979, he won the Ukranian Naional Piano Competition. After gaining his Master’s degree in 1980 at the Gorky Conservatorium in Russia, he was awarded his PhD in 1985, following further studies at the Gorky and Moscow Conservatoriums.

In 1985, Mikhail Solovei was appointed to the position of Head of The Piano Department of the Donetsk College of Music, Ukraine, after a period as Lecturer in Piano Studies at Vladivostok University and as Pianist-Soloist, Russia. He accepted invitations to make concert tours of Poland in 1990, 1991 and 1992 and gave masterclasses at the Academy of Music at Katowice and has performed and held masterclasses in Belgium.

Since arriving to Australia in June 1992, Mikhail Solovei has given recitals in The Melbourne Concert Hall, Melba Hall, Robert Blackwood Hall, The Great Hall of the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), Sydney Opera House, Brisbane and Perth. In 1996, Mikhail performed in Bangkok, Thailand; in 1997, gave a concert tour of Malaysia and the United States of America, in 1999 – concert tour of Indonesia, 2004 – Zimbabwe and South Africa.

As well as concert performances, Mikhail Solovei has regularly played for ABC Classic FM national radio, both for live and pre-recorded broadcasts and has appeared on SBS television (Australia). In 1998 and then in 2003 Mikhail produced CDs, ‘Piano Recitals’, with Masters Classic in Holland (both can be found on itunes).

Robert Chamberlain

ROBERT CHAMBERLAIN is a versatile and accomplished pianist, with interests ranging from period performance to contemporary music and with specialisations including chamber and ensemble music. He studied for Bachelors and Masters degrees in Australia under Max Cooke, in Vienna as a winner of the Apex/Robert Stolz Scholarship, and also at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada.

He is in national and international demand as an adjudicator and a presenter, and in 2012 was a jury member of the inaugural Ars Nova International Piano Competition in Singapore and the 2012 ANZA Modern Piano and Violin Competition in Bangkok, Thailand. He has also judged for Malaysian Youth Music Festivals on numerous occasions and in 2011 adjudicated the West Australian Pianists Competition in Perth as well as local Festivals and Eisteddfods.

Concert engagements have taken him to Turkey, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Canada, as well as around Australia. 2011 engagements included four recitals with visiting young Danish violinist Benedikte Daamgard, concerts with soprano Louise Page, with flautist Derek Jones, and a recital in Canada with soprano Chantal Dionne in the Été musical 2011 summer series in French speaking Canada. 2012 concerts included two piano music with Team of Pianists colleague Darryl Coote at Rippon Lea, chamber music with Sydney Symphony Orchestra friends Marina Marsden and Justine Marsden at Rippon Lea in Melbourne and in Sydney, and Preludes and Fugues from Bach’s Well Tempered Klavier Book 1 at Glenfern in Melbourne, in Canberra and in Perth.

He is on the piano faculty at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University, and in 2011 led a concert and study tour to the nation’s capital Canberra for some of his Honours and Masters piano students from that school. He has taught children of all ages, as well as adults. As well as performing, he gives masterclasses and workshops to teachers and students in Universities and music schools in Australia and in South East Asia. His current research interests and presentation topics include teaching and learning processes in piano teaching and performance, creativity in piano pedagogy, and style and technique in piano performance. A recent paper on creativity and piano teaching, presented at the 2015 Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference, may be accessed here or at the 2015 APPC Proceedings Website, and an article about the world of the digital piano here. Click here for Robert's academic CV.

Kenji Fujimura

Associate Professor Kenji Fujimura is one of Australia’s most acclaimed musicians. He is the recipient of numerous major prizes and awards, including the Australian National Piano Award and the William Lincer Foundation International Composition Award (New York). Concert, masterclass, and adjudication engagements have taken Kenji throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia and he is regularly broadcast on networks such as BBC Radio 3, ABC-FM and TV, the MBS-FM network, and Bravo! Canada both as piano soloist and chamber musician. Kenji has been described as ‘a grand artist with a magical sound, an accomplished technique and a superb understanding of all musical styles. He adds to this a vision of deep profundity’.

An avid supporter of both contemporary and lesser-known music, Kenji has given many premiere performances. As a founding member of Trio Anima Mundi, Kenji has recently released a double-CD set of piano trios by William Hurlstone, Max d’Ollone, Dag Wiren and Miriam Hyde on the Divine Art (UK) label, which has been selected as a Musicweb International Recording of the Year 2013, and has been reviewed as follows: ‘[a]s to chamber music this has to be the CD of the year and, perhaps, many years to come.’ Also just released (January 2014) is the premiere recording of the Violin Sonata of George Benjamin (with violinist Elizabeth Sellars) as well as works by Messiaen, Kurtag and Dukas for Move Records (Australia). His premiere recordings of the complete solo piano works of William Hurlstone for Toccata Classics (UK) became a Musicweb International CD of the Month in May 2015 and featured on the Top 5 Want List for 2015 by Fanfare critic Colin Clarke. His second CD with Elizabeth Sellars (Complete Sonatas for Piano and Violin of George Frederick Pinto – Toccata Classics) will be released in December 2016.

In addition to his performance activities, Kenji is a highly respected pedagogue; his teaching career at the tertiary level began while he himself was an undergraduate. He is currently Deputy Head of School, Coordinator of Classical Performance and Chamber Music, and Associate Professor in Piano/Keyboard at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University. Kenji is also an examiner for the Australian Music Examinations Board and is frequently invited as an adjudicator for competitions throughout Australia and abroad. In 2015 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London, for his ‘significant contribution to the music profession’. He was recently invited to be Artistic Advisor to the International Academy of Musical Arts.