The Joel Abernethy Advantage

Joel Abernethy was a young man from NSW, who began playing electric guitar at 11 years old. As his mother, Wendy, said recently “Music was his solace, his passion and his creative outlet”. Joel passed away in 2010. The Joel Abernethy Advantage was established by the ACMF in February 2014, with a generous donation from Joel’s parents, Wendy Smyrk and John Abernethy, to honour their son’s memory.

A discretionary award is made each year to provide support and encouragement to a young ACMF music student who displays outstanding personal and musical attributes. If you would like to donate to the Joel Abernethy Advantage Fund, this will enable us to help more aspiring young musicians reach their goals.

Click here to find out more about Joel Abernethy.

Click here to find out more about the 2015 recipients.

Click here to find out more about the 2016 recipients.

Click here to find out more about the 2017 recipient.

Click here to find out more about the 2018 recipients.

Click here to find out more about the 2019 recipients.

Click here to find out more about the 2020 recipient.

Click here to read a memory of Joel written by John, his father and a video of Joel playing a song he wrote for his mother and grandmother.

ACO String Scholarships

ACO Large scale use

Between 2015 and 2017 the ACMF, in partnership with the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO), helped three children who had been part of an ACMF music program at their primary school, but had left year 6. Liam, Jessica and Andrea were all involved in the string program at the school and wanted to continue learning violin with their wonderful teacher, Leo Novikov, but they all needed some help.

Andrea and Jessica, both needed a violin they could call their own, and due to our instrument recycling scheme, we were able to provide them with one each! And due to generous support from the ACO, Liam and Jessica had financial support to enable them to continue weekly violin lessons.

From Liam’s mum…

“Liam visits Mr Leo every week, without exception. These visits have highs and lows, depending on Liam’s’ focus that week. Liam practices every afternoon, seven days a week (except when life gets in the way, occasional excess homework, or getting home very late!). As Liam began High School at South Sydney High School this year, we are juggling new routines, but violin has remained a constant. Another constant is the dedication Mr Leo has to his students, and every week Liam wants to try to fix any problems from the week before. Both Liam and I feel it keenly when Leo is not happy! Liam is currently working toward his first violin exam and says he will definitely fix his mistakes to get a good result – I know he will try his best!

Thank you to the ACMF and the ACO for helping Liam to keep playing.”

From Jessica’s mum…

“The ACMF and ACO have given my daughter Jessica a wonderful opportunity to be able to learn the violin. Through the ACMF music program at school, my daughter Jessica has had many opportunities in life opened up for her, and has given her teaching that she will carry on throughout life. The scholarship she has now been provided by the ACMF and the ACO to learn violin, has opened a gateway that many other children would never have.

I believe that the ACMF has not only helped my daughter learn music, but has inspired her to grow into a person who wants to one day inspire people herself.

The opportunities that the ACMF and ACO have given my daughter is tremendous, and I am enormously grateful that Jessica is able to continue learning the violin.”


SYDNEY OFFICE : Suite 305, 110 Pacific Highway, North Sydney NSW 2060

Phone: (02) 9929 0008  – Email:

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