About our 2018 Finalists

Sebastian Hibbard

Sebastien is 15 years old and is currently in Year 11. He is a rising star student at the Sydney Conservatorium, learning with Susan Blake and has been the recipient of the William McIlrath Music scholarship for the last three years. He also receives a Music Scholarship at the CCGS since 2013.

Last year Sebastien received his LMUS in cello. In 2017, Sebastien performed the Vivaldi Double concerto with the L’Estro Armonico string Orchestra and the Bach’s Branderburg Concerto no 6 with Charmian Gadd’s International Chamber Music Festival in 2015.  In 2013 Sebastien performed solo Cello at the Opera House. He has been an active solo performer, chamber and orchestral musician and has worked with the Australian Chamber Orchestra Academy, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra project, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra project, Australian World orchestra project and Australian Youth Orchestra.

2018 finalists clockwise from top: Sebastian Hibbard, Kimberly Gilbert, Bradley Tham and Gareth Szakos.


Kimberly Gilbert 

Having been accepted into the Sydney Conservatorium of Music to study a Bachelor of Music (Performance) after graduating from Central Coast Grammar School in 2017, Kimberly is excited to be given the opportunity to perform Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto with Symphony Central Coast.

Whilst learning piano at the Central Coast Conservatorium (CCC) first with Rosemary Witcomb and then with Elisabeth Jacobs, Kimberly has been the recipient of many CCC scholarships such as the Irvine Family and the Citicoast Reality piano scholarships and in 2016 won the prestigious Allen Family scholarship. By following her passion for music and piano performance Kimberly is loving the opportunities and the experiences that studying music at a tertiary level can bring.

Gareth Szakos

Gareth Szakos was born in 1996 and began to play piano at age five. Besides his father, his most significant early teacher was Victor Makarov. Gareth performed as soloist in 2006 with Symphony Central Coast. He was awarded the Bruce A. Pontin Scholarship with his audition to Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2013. In 2016 he was runner-up in the Sydney Conservatorium’s Piano Unit Concerto Competition.

Gareth is currently studying privately with Illya Zozulya and about to complete a Bachelor of Music degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where his teachers have been Associate Professor Gerard Willems and Doctor Paul Rickard-Ford.

Bradley Tham

Brad is a Year 11 student from Gosford High School. He started learning violin with Suzanne Borrett at the age of 10 then with Karina Hollands and currently with Dr Evgeny Sorkin. He was also mentored by the renowned violinist, Charmian Gadd. He has been awarded various scholarships including the Allen Family Scholarship in 2015,  Youth In Performing Arts (YIPA) Scholarship in 2016 and was second place in Allen Family Scholarships in 2017. Brad was the Concertmaster at Central Coast Youth Orchestra and currently is an Associate Concertmaster with the Sydney Youth Orchestra Philharmonic.