Finale Episode: Serena Zhang, Louise Turnbull, and Ceridwen McCooey

We are delighted to announce our three finalists for Season 1 of 2022! Throughout the heat episodes, these three performers stood out to our mentors and they will perform again on Tuesday night before being placed into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize.

Want to listen? Make sure to tune in every Tuesday night at 7pm to 103.5FM 3MBS Fine Music Melbourne. You can also stream the live broadcast at or tune into our Facebook live video stream.

Scroll down to find out more about about Serena, Louise, and Ceridwen.

Pianist Serena Zhang

Pianist Serena Zhang
Photo credit: Daniel Spellman

Yitong (Serena) Zhang studies with Glenn Riddle at VCASS. She is also a pupil of the Melbourne Conservatorium Young Artists Academy. 

Serena has recently been selected as one of the finalists in the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Bach Competition and is soon to perform on June 5th at Elisabeth Murdoch Hall. She was also chosen as a Recitalist in the Young Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition in 2021. In recent years, she has taken part in, and received many awards at competitions including sections in the Music Society of Victoria, Sydney, Boroondara and Ringwood Eisteddfods and other local events.

In addition to competing, Serena has also participated in various masterclasses and performance opportunities. 

Apart from performing, Serena also enjoys composing, improvising and listening to different genres of music.

Serena performed on Episode 7 of this season. Her finale performance will be of Bach’s Toccata in C minor.

Violinist Louise Turnbull

Violinist Louise Turnbull
Photo credit: Daniel Spellman

Louise Turnbull was first welcomed into the local community orchestra environment playing violin and viola at the age of 9.  It was here that she developed a love for music and was exposed to a varied, full and ambitious repertoire. Her energy and willingness to tackle anything put onto the music stand has continued from those early experiences. She steadily progressed to leading the Melbourne Youth Orchestra in both violin and viola as well as participating in national level organisations such as The Australian Youth Orchestra, ACO Academy, AR&CO Young Manneheim Symphonists and the ANAM orchestra as a guest musician. As a soloist she has had success in many in person and online competitions and Eisteddfods ; Boorandarra, Ringwood, Monash, Melb International Piano and Strings , MRC Bach finalist, Ewa Malewicz, 2021 Monash Emerging Artist , Tallis Beleura bursary, and many others. 

She achieved her violin  LmusA with distinction in 2020 under Ivana Tomaskova and has participated in many masterclasses and lessons with Australian and international musicians both on line and in person. Currently Louise, having just turned 17 is participating in the Young Artist Academy at Melbourne University and is studying online . She enjoys chamber music and small ensembles as well as the larger symphonic, HIP and modern works . She continues her exploration of the vast violin repertoire and will see where her musical journey takes her. 

Louise performed on Episode 1 of this season. Her finale performance will be of Syzmanowski’s Nocturne and Tarantella.

Cellist Ceridwen McCooey

Cellist Ceridwen McCooey

Ceridwen began learning the cello when she was nine years old. She began writing for cello whilst attending the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School where she investigated the practice of improvisation in cello repertoire. She was lucky enough to be selected for the Melbourne Recital Centres’ three year scholarship program Accelerando, an opportunity Ceridwen feels shaped her love of contemporary music performance. In 2018 Ceridwen was given a scholarship to study a Bachelor of Music Performance at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. In 2019, Ceridwen was awarded the Kate Flowers Memorial Scholarship through the University, for a performance demonstrating the relationship between cello and electronic looping pedal. In 2019 she was awarded the Allan Zavod Performers award for her performance of an original composition also for solo cello and looper called The Conference of the Birds. This work was recently released as Ceridwen’s debut album with New York based label Rhodium. Last year, Ceridwen was commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne to write a work as part of Memory: 5x5x5 2020.

This year she has participated in mentoring sessions with the Australian Art Orchestra and Ensemble Offspring. Her composition was chosen for the Flinders Quartet’s Emerging Composers program. Ceridwen is currently completing her Honours in music performance at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music for which she has received the Corinna D’Hage Mayer String Scholarship and is currently looking into a masters in performance/composition abroad.

Ceridwen performed on Episode 4 of this season. Her finale performance will be of her own compositions; A Starless, Fatherless Sky, and When you are ready for words.


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