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The Kendall National Violin Competition was established in 1998 in response to the generous offer of luthier Graham Caldersmith to make an annual donation of a concert violin of Australian tonewoods.  The Competition committee was established by Goetz Richter, Associate Professor of Violin and then Chair of the String Unit at Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Keri Levy, founding artistic director and founding secretary respectively, of the Camden Haven Music Festival which then operated under the auspices of the Camden Haven Arts Council. The founding president of the Competition, Elaine van Kempen, successfully sought sponsorship from Forestry Corporation of NSW and Australian Solar Timbers who remain enthusiastic in their commitment to essential annual funding for administration.  A dedicated committee of nine administers the Competition.

The Kendall National Violin Competition initially operated briefly under the auspices of the Camden Haven Arts Council but incorporated in 2000. Initially held at the same time as the Camden Haven Music Festival, the Competition moved to a more appropriate time on the national music calendar in 2004. At the same time it became registered with DCITA and has deductible gift recipient status as a not-for-profit cultural organisation. Donations to the organisation are tax deductible.
Competition Home
Kendall, on the mid north coast of New South Wales, is the home of the Competition and, while the Semi-final is held as a public performance at Government House, Sydney, the Final will always be held in the Kendall School of Arts.

The Caldersmith violin or viola is central to the Competition and it was with great pleasure that Artistic Director Goetz Richter was able to display and demonstrate it for Yehudi Menuhin during his last visit to Australia.  Lord Menuhin was most impressed, commenting  ‘a great opportunity to own a real Australian violin…a wonderful instrument with a beautiful sound’.  He readily agreed to be Patron of the Competition.  Committee members were saddened by his sudden death in 1999 just prior to the first Competition Final but were delighted when the first winner, Gu Chen, later gained fourth place at the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition playing that very same Caldersmith violin.

Yehudi Menuhin
Yehudi Menuhin

Lord Menuhin remains Perpetual Patron.  The late Mrs Hazel Hawke AO was a dedicated Patron from the inception of the Competition, becoming Patron Emeritus when ill health prevented her active participation.  Ms Mary Vallentine AO became Patron in 2001 and was joined by Mr Donald Hazelwood AO OBE in 2011.

In addition to the prize violin or viola the winner has the opportunity to perform in a fee-paying recital tour and receives the Peter Lee Memorial Award.  An award for the finalist chosen by the audience, originally sponsored by Donovan Oates Hannaford Mortgage Corporation Ltd. is now sponsored by the late Reba Chappell’s Great-grandchildren’s Trust.  An award for the best performance of an Australian composition written post 1970 has been made from the beginning and is now sponsored annually by the Kendall Services and Citizens Club. The Gillian Appleton Award for the best performance of Bach has been given since 2007.  Each of the four special awards is $500.
New Prize

In 2012 a new prize was created to recognize excellence in the performance of the Sonata  – the prize will be notated “In Memoriam Richard Pollett”.  This generous donation will be for the amount of $600 for the next three years. Richard Pollett was a finalist in the 2004 Kendall National Violin Competition winning the prize for the best performance of an Australian composition. He died in tragic circumstances in 2011. 

Life Members

Douglas Head
Lisa Head
Graham Caldersmith
Angela McPherson
Elaine van Kempen
Keri Levy
Ensi Payne
Colleen Kelly
Brian Clift



Luke Fischer
Poet Luke Fischer

4th November

Kendall School of Arts

1 pm Philosophical Reflections
The Musician

2 pm Poetry and Music Salon
Luke Fischer, poet
Goetz Richter, violin
Jeanell Carrigan, piano
Andrew London, horn
Works by Brahms, Janacek, Debussy and Korngold

Tickets $ 30 (attendance at 1 pm talk free with concert ticket)

Ticket Bookings: info@pentimento-northhaven.com  or phone Mavis Barnes 02-6559 4339, PO Box 86, Kendall NSW 2439

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