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Founding Pianos Scholarship Recipients

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

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In 2016, Edith Cowan University received an unprecedented and historic gift – one of the worlds most important Keyboard Instrument collections. The collection offers a wide selection of exceptionally rare – in some instances, unique – stringed keyboard instruments dating from 1736 to 1874, including the very first piano to arrive in Australia. Known as the “First Fleet” piano, the English square piano arrived aboard HMS Sirius in 1788.

ECU plans to position WAAPA as a hub for collaboration and innovation around piano performance, education, conservation, restoration and maintenance. The Founding Pianos project leads our journey to make Perth the cross disciplinary centre for all things piano.

An important aspect of this project is the restoration of key instruments. The skills necessary to conserve and restore pianos are in growing demand. The advancing age of restorers is putting pressure on this diminishing industry, and the knowledge and skills of these Master Reporters are at risk of being lost.

Two important scholarships have been established to drive research into this field and rigorously document the conservation and restoration techniques of historical keyboard instruments for future generations to learn.


Feilman Foundation Phd
The Feilman Foundation First Fleet Restoration PhD Scholarship is awarded to a PhD applicant wishing to complete their research in the restoration of historic keyboards.

The inaugural Feilman Foundation Phd scholarship was recently awarded to Ms Elly Lanford. After completing a Bachelor of Music: Performance (Honours) at the University of Newcastle in 2017, Elly relocated to Melbourne at the beginning of 2018 to commence a Master of Music (Musicology/Ethnomusicology) at the University of Melbourne. She is now finalising her thesis and expects to arrive in Perth in late September 2019.

Elly is a music performer (pipe organ, piano, and harpsichord) and graduate researcher, and is extremely familiar with music scores and sources relating to the study of performance, musicology, and music history. As a graduate researcher specialising in Early Music, she has specialised knowledge of a range of instruments focusing not only on their historical significance and functional roles in our modern context, but also their restoration and maintenance.

We are very excited to welcome Elly to WAAPA commencing in Semester One 2020.


VC Founding Pianos Masters Scholarship
Awarded to a student looking to complete their Masters at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, this scholarship was selected at Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapmans discretion to support a  student in documenting the process of historic keyboard restoration.

The inaugural VC Founding Pianos Masters Scholarship has been awarded to Master Piano Technician and 2017 Churchill Fellow recipient, Paul Tunzi.

Paul is a familiar face at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, being used regularly as a Piano Technician and Tuner of historic instruments. He is a trusted name throughout the world in acoustic keyboard services, and is an appointed technician to many revered piano names including Fazioli, Paul McNulty, Steinway & Sons, Kawai and Yamaha. He has even worked with Buckingham Palace on historical conservation of keyboard instruments.

The VC Founding Pianos Masters Scholarship has taken Paul to the UK twice this year to work with Lucy Coad on documenting the restoration process of the First Fleet Piano, which commenced in March 2019. We are delighted to welcome such a high calibre scholarship recipient to the Founding Pianos project.


Thank you to our donors for making such a tremendous impact in supporting our students, and broadening the scope of arts education in Western Australia. Your gift extends far greater than just monetary support; you give our recipients the encouragement to achieve their dreams.

For further information on supporting scholarships or to enquire about donating to Edith Cowan University please contact us at development@ecu.edu.au.

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