In 1981 lawyer Roland Gridiger, Trustee of the Mathy Estate, approached the Music Board of the Australia Council for advice and assistance in regard to creating a competition and a scholarship honouring Mme Mathy. Two committees were formed: a General Advisory Committee to administer a competition for a scholarship and a Music Advisory Committee to determine rules and adjudication criteria.
The General Advisory Committee members included Sir Herman Black; the Music Advisory Committee included Dame Joan Sutherland. All Committee members donated and continue to donate their time and skills.
A framework for regulating the Marianne Mathy Scholarship was approved by the Equity Division of the Supreme Court of New South Wales on 26 February 1982, with the first competition being held and a scholarship awarded in June of that same year.
The original bequest of Marianne Mathy-Frisdane did not specify that a scholarship be awarded to a particular vocal type or genre (opera, classical, rock, pop, jazz, folk, country, etc). The inaugural 1982 Marianne Mathy Scholarship Competition saw entrants from a range of vocal types and musical genres. As Mme Mathy-Frisdane was herself an opera singer and teacher, it seemed appropriate that her namesake Scholarship be awarded to young opera and classical singers. At the same time, it was clear there was a popular demand for a competition in more contemporary styles of singing.
In 1983 the Music & Opera Singers Trust (MOST®), which administers the Mathy Estate, made the decision to promote the Marianne Mathy Scholarship as a competition for young opera and classical singers, and to establish a separate Contemporary Section for singers of other singing genres. Both sections were to come under the umbrella of the ‘Australian Singing Competition’.