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Established by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra percussionist Robert Cossom in 2004, the MSO Snare Drum Award is designed to encourage the pursuit of excellence in snare drum performance in Australia and New Zealand.

Open to undergraduate tertiary students from Australia and New Zealand, this award provides an exclusive opportunity for applicants to further develop audition skills and performance techniques in a professional environment.

The winner will receive a Mastro Snare Drum and the opportunity to undertake a mentorship with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

A prize pool consisting of cymbals from Zildjian, a percussion bag and a set of mallets from Just Percussion and drum heads from Evans will also be distributed amongst our four finalists.

2021 Snare Drum Award

This year we have accepted applications via video. From these online submissions, Robert Cossom and fellow MSO Percussionist John Arcaro have selected four finalists.

Each of our four finalists has submitted a final round video, performing Joseph Tompkins' March and a work of their choosing. Scroll down to watch each finalists' video submission and to discover this year’s winner!

Watch the Snare Drum 2021 finalists

John Alley

Joseph Tompkins March
Matthew Hindson Hey!

Justin Zheng

Joseph Tompkins March
Matthew Hindson Hey!

Leah Columbine

Joseph Tompkins March
Anders Åstrand Swedish Sketches

Announcing our Snare Drum 2021 winner...

Winner: Huon Bourne Blue

Joseph Tompkins March
Anders Åstrand Swedish Sketches

New Project 16

About Huon Bourne Blue

Huon started playing percussion at the age of 10. After learning piano for a year (studying with Luba Totoeva), he began playing percussion in Newcastle Conservatorium community ensembles. Huon began percussion lessons in 2015, studying with Charissa Ferguson, and then from 2016-2018 with Stephan Mühr. He has taken part in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Playerlink program from 2015-2017, was Principal Percussionist of the Sydney Youth Orchestra in 2018 and has participated in numerous Australian Youth Orchestra programs since 2017 including their International Tour in 2019.

Huon has been tutored by musicians including Herman Rieken (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra), Grahame King (Royal Birmingham Ballet), She-e Wu (Northwestern University), Edward Choi (Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra) and Alexander Radziewski (Hamburger Symphoniker). Conductors and soloists Huon has played with include Krzysztof Urbański, Daniel Müller-Schott, Jan Lisiecki, Richard Mills, Alexander Briger, Ariel Zuckermann, Giordano Bellincampi, Matthew Coorey and Tze Law Chan to name a few.

Huon commenced undergraduate studies at the Sydney Conservatorium in 2018 studying with Daryl Pratt and Mark Robinson (Sydney Symphony Orchestra), however relocated to Melbourne in July 2020 to continue his studies at the Melbourne Conservatorium studying with Guy Du Blêt (Orchestra Victoria). Huon is currently Principal Timpanist of the Australian Youth Orchestra.

Special thanks

Prizes for the Snare Drum Award finalists are courtesy of Mastro Drum, D’Addario, Just Percussion, and Zildjian.

The MSO thanks MSO Patrons Tim and Lyn Edward, and The Hon. Michael Watt QC and Cecilie Hall for their support of this program through the Jenny Morrish Bursary.

Robert Cossom is supported by Dr Rhyl Wade and Dr Clem Gruen, and John Arcaro is supported by Anonymous donors through the MSO’s Adopt a Musician program.

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