Dorcas McClean Travelling Scholarship for Young Violinists


The Dorcas McClean Travellling Scholarship for Violinists seeks to support the musical education of outstanding young violinists through the provision of travelling scholarships and prizes to support those judged most talented at the beginning of their professional careers.


A first prize of $40,000 is awarded to enable further study overseas and the opportunity to record and perform with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra during the tenure of the scholarship. 

The top five or six entrants, chosen by a panel of prominent Australian violinists, will be flown to Melbourne to perform in the two public concert rounds of the competition.

The first performance round will be held in Melba Hall at the University of Melbourne, with applicants asked to perform a major violin sonata alongside other prescribed works. The best three or four applicants will perform one of a prescribed list of concerti with the MSO at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

The Scholarship is open to all violinists aged 25 and under at the closing date for applications, who have been resident in Australia for no less than two years. This scholarship will be awarded in August 2016.

2016 applications have closed.

Competition and Concerts

Visit the Dorcas McClean Competition website for information about concert dates and tickets.

The recipient of the Dorcas McClean Travelling Scholarship for Violinists will receive $40,000. 

The runner up of the competition will receive $10,000.

Third place will receive $5,000.

It is envisaged that all prize recipients will use funds received to further their musical education.

Other prizes may be offered in conjunction with the MSO, including private masterclasses and career consultation. This is entirely based on the panel's determination of the talent of the winner of the competition, should one be named.

Scholarship conditions

The winner will be required to:

  • take up the scholarship within one year of the date of notification of the award;
  • undertake during the term of the Scholarship a systematic course of study with an approved institution or teacher; and
  • submit to the Committee the following reports signed by the person in charge of the course:
    • a record of satisfactory progress after a six-month period of study; and
    • a final report submitted no later than one month prior to the completion of study.

Other information

The Committee reserves the right to withhold the award if, in the opinion of the judges, the standard of the performance is not sufficiently high. The decision of the judges shall be final and no correspondence shall be entered into with any entrant or other person.

How to apply

The Dorcas McClean Travelling Scholarship for Violinists will be run in three rounds.

Round one - closed for 2016

Applicants must submit an online application, including:

  • contact details;
  • a summary of experience as a musician, including periods and places of professional work;
  • relevant education qualifications;
  • details of proposed training or study program; and
  • the contact details of two referees.

As part of the application, applicants must also submit a high quality online recording of the specified repertoire for stage one. We also request that you provide the name and contact details of either your music teacher or your employer, who can verify the recording.

The repertoire required for round one of the competition is as follows:

  • Work of applicant’s own choice (not to exceed 10 minutes)
  • The first two movements from any of the Solo Sonatas BWN 1001, 1003 or 1005, or the Chaconne from BWV 1004 only
  • One virtuoso work, not to exceed 15 minutes, by Sarasate, Wieniawski, Ysaÿe (or equivalent), i.e.
    • Bartok – Rhapsody no. 1 or 2
    • Ernst - The Last Rose of Summer
    • Ravel – Tzigane
    • Saint-Saens – Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso
    • Tchaikovsky – Waltz Scherzo

A panel of three prominent Australia violinists will assess applicants on the basis of musicality, tone, technique, intonation and poise. The top five or six performers will proceed to stage two. A majority decision is required to decide the five or six semi-finalists.

Round two

The top six applicants from round one will proceed to round two. Round two will take the form of a public performance held at Melba Hall, The University of Melbourne, on Monday 1 or Tuesday 2 August 2016. The Dorcas McClean Scholarship Trust will arrange return travel to the competition from finalists’ home city only, or will fund an agreed travel reimbursement for the finalist. If requested every effort will be make to find accommodation for those competing in the final stages of the competition.

There will be two days of rehearsals prior to the semi-final, and a piano accompanist can be provided for round two of the competition, only if requested.

The repertoire required for round two of the competition is as follows:

  • Any major sonata, not exceeding 35 minutes performance time, i.e. Beethoven, Brahms, Grieg, Franck, Strauss, Ravel, Debussy, Janacek, Prokofiev
  • One virtuoso work, not to exceed 15 minutes, as per round one above (can be the same as presented previously)
  • Kreisler – Recitativo and Scherzo for solo violin, Op. 6

Round two will be judged by a panel of renowned international violinists, and semi-finalists will be assessed on the basis of musicality, tone, technique, intonation and poise. A majority decision is required to decide the finalists.

Round three

The top three applicants from round two will proceed to the final. Round three will take the form of a public performance held at Melbourne Recital Centre, on Friday 5 August 2016. Finalist performers will be accompanied by performance partner Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Finalists must choose a concerto to perform from the following list:

  • Barber - Violin Concerto, op. 14
  • Beethoven - Violin Concerto in D major, op. 61
  • Brahms - Violin Concerto in D major, op. 15
  • Britten - Violin Concerto no. 1, op. 15
  • Bruch - Violin Concerto no. 1 in G minor, op. 26
  • Elgar - Violin Concerto in B minor, op. 61
  • Mendelssohn - Violin Concerto in E minor, op. 64
  • Paganini - Violin Concerto in no. 1 in D major, op. 6
  • Prokofiev - Violin Concerto no. 2 in G major, op. 63
  • Sibelius - Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 47
  • Tchaikovsky - Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35

The same panel as was employed in round two will judge the final, and performers will again be judged on the basis of musicality, tone, technique, intonation and poise. A majority decision is required to rank the competitors.

2016 applications have closed.