Ernest Empson Scholarship

Ernest Empson Scholarship for 2019 will not be opened.

The Executive of the Christchurch Civic Music Council have decided not to open the Scholarship in 2019 and  will be reviewed again early in 2020.

Scholarship criteria and information 

Applications are invited for the above award from students between the ages of 15 and 23 years on 31st May in the year in which they are applying, showing musical promise and who intend to use the award in the furtherance of their musical studies.

Applicants must have been resident in Christchurch for at least the past three academic years, but are still eligible to apply if they have left to continue their studies abroad since the end of last year.

This scholarship was endowed by a bequest from the late Mr Ernest Empson, and is open to applicants in all spheres of musical study.

Closing date for applications –  Sunday 31st May 2020

Please post applications: to The Secretary, Christchurch Civic Music Council, P O Box 7633, Sydenham, Christchurch 8240 or email to:

Please download the application form here – ErnestEmpsonApplicationForm1

Previous winners – Ernest Empson Scholarship

Ernest Empson Scholarship Winner 2018 is Lixin Zhang.  

Lixin is currently in his last year at Burnside High School.  Lixin’s current plans include participating in as many local, national and international competitions as possible in order to gain as much performing experience as he can.  Later in the year Lixin will be applying to musical institutions and universities and plans on completing a degree in music (most likely Piano performance) and move on to becoming a professional Pianist.

Lixin was also the 2017/2018 National Concerto Competition Runner-Up!  We wish him well with his future studies and his continued successful musical career!

Ernest Empson Scholarship Winner for 2017

We would like to congratulate Hamish Smith who has been awarded the Ernest Empson Scholarship for 2017.   Hamish is a bassist and has been recently selected for the 2017 JM Jazz World Orchestra (an international big band for the world’s best young jazz musicians aged 18-26 years of age).  This was held in Groznjan, Croatia.

For the future Hamish has  decided that he would like to be situated in a community that is in proximity to all of the action in the global epicentre of the Jazz industry, therefore the next step is for him to travel to New York City later this year for three months.

Being in New York will allow Hamish to take private lessons with some of the best bass players and musicians in the world, whom have been idols of his for the last ten years. Including the incomparable Matt Penman, Reuben Rogers & Ugonna Okegwo amongst others, as well as exploring and experience the New York jazz environment/scene.

Travelling to New York will also allow Hamish to make live presentations at the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music with the goal of being accepted into one of these schools to commence  full time studies in 2018.

Ernest Empson Scholarship Winner for 2016

Joe Gorman

We would like to congratulate Joe Gorman who has been awarded the Ernest Empson Scholarship for 2016.  Since 2015 Joe has been attending  the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington studying harpsichord and historical piano under Douglas Mews.  We wish him well for the remainder of his studies.

Ernest Empson Scholarship winner for 2015

Stephen Watson (Piano)

Stephen has had several offers to attend overseas universities in 2016 and he is currently deciding on his best option.  We wish him well with his choice and his continued successful musical career.

Ernest Empson Scholarship winner for 2014

Samuel Jones (Saxophone)

Samuel is currently in his 3rd year at the University of Canterbury pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Classical Saxophone performance.  He plans to travel and study in Europe in 2015.  We wish him all the best for his travel and studies next year!

Ernest Empson Scholarship Winner for 2013

Todd Gibson-Cornish

In September Todd will be studying at the Royal College of Music, London.  He will be entering into a second year Bachelor of Music (Honours) degree.  We wish him all the best with his studies and his musical career!

2012 Ernest Empson Scholarship

There were no recipients of the Ernest Empson Scholarship for 2012.

2011 Winner of the Ernest Empson Scholarship

Congratulations to Bryony Gibson-Cornish, the recipient of the 2011 Ernest Empson Scholarship.

Four other applicants, Bradley Wood, Arion Pons, Reuben Chin and Samuel Jones all applied.  They are to be commended for the high quality of their applications and their work to date.

2008 was Anna Maksymova (Piano)

2007 was David Muller Cajar (French Horn)