It is a great
pleasure for me
and for IFAC
to be the primary sponsor of
this prestigious singing competition.
I have derived enormous satisfaction
in enabling the young singers to perform with
major orchestras under the baton
of world class conductors.
To know that
I am instrumental
in helping these young artists
achieve their aims and realise their potential is,
for me, a genuine thrill and most satisfying.
I am delighted
to be continuing
on this path.
Dr Haruhisa Handa
for Art and Culture (IFAC)
About IFAC Australian singing competition
IFAC Australian Singing Competition evolved from the Marianne Mathy Scholarship, established through a bequest made by Marianne Mathy-Frisdane, a distinguished teacher of opera and classical singing. The competition is now entering its third decade discovering, rewarding and providing career opportunities to emerging Australasian opera and classical singers under the age of twenty-six.
Discovering and rewarding talent since 1982
Our first competition took place in 1982 with the awarding of one Scholarship — the $30,000 Marianne Mathy Scholarship, an unprecedented amount at that time.
Many prominent individuals have given generously of their time and professional advice, including the late Dame Joan Sutherland, who was part of the inaugural Music Advisory Committee. Dame Joan was a longstanding supporter of the competition. She launched the 1984 competition and presented The Mathy to baritone Duncan Rock in 2006. Richard Bonynge AC AO CBE conducted the orchestra for the Finals Concerts from 2005 to 2007.
The first Competition was formally launched by His Excellency The Right Honourable Sir Zelman Cowen, then Governor-General of Australia. Since then the competition has enjoyed the patronage of five Governors-General of Australia.
More opportunities than ever
In 2010 singers competed for prizes that exceeded $200,000 in value, making the competition the richest and most prestigious singing competition for opera and classical singers in Australia.
Though many prizes and career opportunities now make up the IFAC Australian Singing Competition, the Marianne Mathy Scholarship remains the premier award in the competition. The recipient of The Mathy (after its namesake bronze statuette) receives the $30,000 Marianne Mathy Scholarship plus a selected suite of prizes and opportunities, making the total value in excess of $40,000.
Over 2,000 young singers have participated in the competition and have had the benefit of being interviewed and heard by eminent professionals from the Australian and international singing and music fraternity. Many competition participants have gone on to pursue successful careers in Australia and overseas.
The generous support of our principal sponsor, the International Foundation for Arts & Culture (IFAC) and Dr Haruhisa Handa (Chairman) has allowed our Finalists the opportunity to perform in front of an audience with a full orchestra — 'a dream come true' for young singers.
In 1998, the competition was privileged to receive sponsorship from Haruhisa Handa, Chairman of IFAC. This was no ordinary sponsorship, as in addition to funds, Mr Handa under his stage name of Toshu Fukami honoured the competition with his own talent. The fortunate Finalists in the 2000 competition were also invited to perform in Japan where they were treated royally and had an unforgettable experience. In 2010 IFAC also offered the inaugural Handa Prize.
IFAC and Dr Handa have sponsored the competition for an incredible fourteen years. We are indeed indebted not only for this generosity, but also for the time, interest and personal consideration.
2011 — Our 30th birthday
In 2011, the competition celebrated its 30th year. We look forward to your participation.