Memorial fund honours gifted student

annac319A new program will support talented students to study music at Monash University’s Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music.

The Anna Chmiel Memorial Fund honours Anna Chmiel, a gifted clarinet student who died tragically in 2012, aged 19. Anna’s parents established the fund as a tribute to her life and her passion for music.

The fund supports the first clarinet scholarship established at Monash University. The scholarship will be awarded to eligible students based on a combination of an audition/interview and academic achievement.

Anna’s mother the Hon. Pamela Jenkins (BJuris 1978, LLB (Hons) 1979) said Anna’s early fascination with the clarinet was most extraordinary.

“She started playing with the instrument herself and by seven years of age she had worked out how to play the national anthem and happy birthday,” she said.

According to her music teacher, Grania Burke, Anna had an exceptional talent.

“In all the years I have taught she would probably be one of the best primary aged students,” Ms Burke said.

“It was not just her technical skill, but her desire to embrace the music and understand it as a whole.”

One of Anna’s proudest moments was when she received her acceptance letter to study clarinet at Monash. She loved the vibrancy, professionalism and enthusiasm of the faculty staff and the focus upon broadening a music student’s horizons beyond performance to explore composition, arranging and conducting.

The Anna Chmiel Memorial Fund will support a number of initiatives including the Anna Chmiel Clarinet Scholarship, the Anna Chmiel Travel Scholarship, performance awards for students, the Clarinet Mega Day and other specialist music workshops.

The Anna Chmiel Travel Scholarship is aimed at supporting young students to experience the jazz and classical music program in Prato, Italy and the jazz program in New York.

The Clarinet Mega Day is a program that aims to expose young people in country Victoria to music and in particular the clarinet. These types of specialist workshops engage young students who may otherwise not have the opportunity to experience this type of music or a music education.

The inaugural recipient of the Anna Chmiel Clarinet Scholarship is Reid Furlanetto. Reid received the scholarship at the School’s Awards Ceremony on 27 February 2013.

“I am incredibly pleased to have received this scholarship. It has allowed me to pursue my dreams at a wonderful institution,” said Reid. “Scholarships have an enormous impact on people’s lives — providing a springboard for them to launch their careers and fulfil their dreams.”

The fund aims to expose young people to the powerful and creative influence of music, whether that results in longer term participation as performers or a lifelong love and appreciation of music.

The opportunity to become involved in musical performance at a young age enhances so many skills that help a young person’s development such as discipline, organisation and cooperation as well as creativity.

Head of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Mr Rob Burke, feels that scholarships and prizes promote competition, excellence and give students opportunities to achieve high standards without the extra burden of working to meet the ever increasing costs of living.

Anna’s family has established this fund as a lasting tribute to their daughter and to recognise the significant contribution music plays in the lives of young people.

“The kinds of opportunities that the fund is seeking to support have been genuinely inspired by the profoundly positive impact that music performance and appreciation had upon Anna,” said Judge Jenkins.

It is hoped that the Anna Chmiel Memorial Fund may be seen as a suitable vehicle through which the music-loving public can support young people in their music education. In memory of Anna and in support of these exciting programs, please make a donation.