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We are proud to offer the annual Norman Miller Violin Award to deserving violin students 10 years or older or AMEB Grade 3 or above, who demonstrate both need and promise. The successful award applicant is loaned a violin made in 1990 by Norman Miller (a local violin and instrument maker, 1911 – 2005) for use during the school year; usually from the end of January until mid-December.

Previous awardees can apply again.


How to nominate a student

String teachers and community members can nominate students by completing a nomination form:

The closing date for applications is 5 pm on the last Monday of November. The violin will be presented at the student’s school in the first few weeks of term 1.

Previous awardees are eligible to apply again. Please note the full eligibility criteria and submission details are listed below and on the nomination form.


Selection criteria

To apply, students need to meet the following criteria:

  • The student must be AMEB Grade 3 or above or 10 years or older (if showing need and promise).
  • The student must be a resident of, or study violin with teachers or at educational institutions from within our Council area.
  • The student is a resident of, or is studying violin in, our Council area.
  • The student is regarded as 'deserving' - defined as a student who demonstrates potential performance ability and keenness and for whom the Award is likely to enhance their performance ability.

Selection process

Members of the Norman Miller Award committee will hear the applicants play, interview the applicants and may seek more information from their teachers.

  1. The applicant will perform two contrasting pieces of their own choice. The two pieces must be a maximum of 10 minutes in total and of comparable standard to Grade 3 AMEB or upward.
  2. The committee will then select the applicant deemed to be the most deserving based on the selection criteria. 

The decision of the committee will be final and binding and no correspondence regarding the decision will be entered into. The Norman Miller Award Committee reserves the right to withhold the award if the required standard is not obtained.


Recipient's responsibilities and obligations

The awardee will accept the following responsibilities and obligations.

  • The awardee will care for and maintain the instrument on a daily basis as outlined in the care and maintenance checklist provided at the time of presenting the violin.
  • The awardee will liaise with the Coordinator Exhibitions & Public Programs - Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery regarding any matters relating to the violin including the care and maintenance.
  • The awardee and his/her teacher will submit a written report regarding the progress of the awardee at the end of the award period.
  • Should damage to the instrument occur, the awardee will report such damage immediately to the Coordinator Exhibitions & Public Programs, so immediate repair can be organised.
  • Failure to comply with the above points will result in the instrument being recalled. 


Award history

The award was established in 1996 when local violin and instrument maker, Norman Miller, donated one of his finely crafted violins to the former Toowoomba City Council. The award has been presented to promising musicians since then and is continued in honour of the late Norman Miller.

Norman Miller (1911 – 2005) was a local violin and instrument maker. Self-taught, he began crafting violins in 1953, taking up the challenge to make modern violins of the quality of instruments produced by the old masters. Miller’s violins have been played by symphony orchestras and conservatoriums in Australia and overseas. His talent was internationally recognised when Miller was accorded the title Egregio Maestro Liutaio (master lute maker) from Associazone Nazionale Liuteria Artistica Italiana.

Current recipient

Lewis Lack was appraised by a panel of string specialists and was the winner of the 2019 Norman Miller Violin Award. Lewis will have use of the Norman Miller violin for the 2019 school year. 

Noman Miller award recipient - Lewis Lack

Image: Cr Joe Ramia and 2019 recipient of the Norman Miller violin, Lewis Lack / Photograph courtesy Harristown State High School.