Three finalists will showcase career-defining projects for the chance to win the AUD21,000 prize


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Following an extensive search across Australia, three finalists have been selected to compete for the 2023 Freedman Classical Fellowship. The fellowship invites the musicians under 35 in Australia to dream big and envision projects of significant scale to the value of AUD21,000. The artists propose career-defining projects, ranging from multidisciplinary concerts and large ensemble commissions to international professional development and innovative recording projects.

The finalists are violinist Courtenay Cleary (29, Queensland), violist Henry Justo (28, Queensland), and flautist Jonty Coy (27, Western Australia).

The deciding final will comprise a live concert before the judging panel, which will be held on Sunday 15 October from 3pm to 6pm, The Neilson, Pier 2/3 ACO, Sydney.

The 2023 finalists were nominated by prominent classical musicians; Alex Raineri, Ashley Smith, and Jack Symonds, for their outstanding artistic excellence and innovation. This year’s judging panel consists of professor Kim Cunio (Head of ANU School of Music), Lamorna Nightingale (member of one of Australia’s leading ensembles, Ensemble Offspring), and Simon Tedeschi (pianist and author). 

’The finalists are incredibly varied and reflect the multi-faceted aspects of classical music,’ the judges said in a statement. ’Each building on their classical musical foundations and collaborating with Australian composers and experimenters to expand the art form while respecting tradition.’

Cleary’s fellowship project proposal showcases Australian music for violin both locally and overseas. ’It has long been a dream of mine to premiere a full programme of new Australian compositions internationally,’ said the violinist, who enjoyed a career in both London and New York before returning to Australia. Additionally, she plans to inspire young instrumentalists and composers to explore contemporary styles of classic through workshops and masterclasses at The Royal Academy of Music, Juilliard, and local schools in Brisbane.

A former finalist in 2022, Justo’s proposed fellowship project Connect is a curated installation piece reflecting on ’how each connect with place and ourselves.’ Working with composer Cathy Milliken and media artist Mike Daly in a collaborative process, they will together explore the human need for connection to where we are in the world.

Coy’s proposed fellowship project The Warder Flute is a new commission for renaissance flute and electronics also by the Australian composer Kate Milligan. He proposes to present and tour this new work at multiple venues across Australia and in the Netherlands, alongside a programme of historically appropriate repertoire. 

Since 2001, The Freedman Fellowship has successfully identified the future leaders of new music & contemporary classical music. The 2022 fellowship was won by violist Katie Yap.

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