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Freedman Classical Fellowship Finalists Announced For 2021


This year, interstate travel permitting, the coveted $21,000 prize will be awarded on Friday, November 19.

Freedman Classical Fellowship Finalists Announced For 2021

After a competitive search for Australia's most creative classical musician under 30, The Music Trust's Freedman Classical Fellowship finalists have been announced for 2021.

NSW double bassist Will Hansen (24) has been named alongside the three Victorian artists; violist Molly Collier-O'Boyle (27), violinist Kyla Matsuura-Miller (28) and flautist Eliza Shephard (28) as the 2021 Freedman Classical Fellowship Award Finalists.

Again in 2021, ANAM (Australian National Academy of Music), continues to produce exceptional young musicians. The three Victorian finalists all graduated from the iconic professional performance training institute in Melbourne, which is one of few in the world. The NSW finalist studied at the prestigious Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

This year, interstate travel permitting, the coveted $21,000 prize will be awarded on Friday, November 19 at a deciding live concert before esteemed judges; Penny Lomax, Tamara Cislowska and Veronique Serret, at the Sydney Opera House.

The 2020 Fellowship was delivered via video conference, ahead of Melbourne cellist Richard Narroway (30) being named as the 2020 Freedman Classical Fellowship winner during a COVID year that prevented interstate travel.

Conceived by Laurence Freedman AM and Dr Richard Letts AM, the Freedman Classical Fellowship is a life-changing award offered annually to Australian classical musicians aged up to 30 years. Each nominee must submit recordings of their musical performance and a description of a career-building project which they will carry out with the support of the prize.

The finalists were selected from a pool of 16 candidates who were put forward by leading classical musicians and industry from around Australia. The 2021 judging panel Penny Lomax (one of the original driving force producers of RN's Music Show) Tamara Cislowska (acclaimed pianist and Classic FM presenter) and trailblazing in-demand violinist Veronique Serret were impressed by the imagination, skills and commitment of the nominees, with projects largely focused on the commissioning of new Australian work and support of home-grown artists and themes.

"We all agreed it is inspiring to see such creatively diverse and ambitious projects" said judge Penny Lomax, "Particularly as they were derived during the enormous difficulties posed by the COVD-19 pandemic. This has not appeared to dim the resourcefulness and originality of the participants. With this generation, Australia's musical future is in great hands!'

"Once again, the Freedman finalists look more to the future of classical music than its past", said Dr Richard Letts of the Music Trust. "It's not a requirement for this award, although we do encourage the candidates in a general way to be imaginative. But there are less risky paths for the imagination than commissioning new works for your live instrument and electronics, for instance. That's not something you hear very much in Hamer Hall or the Sydney Opera House."

The Freedman Classical Fellowships began in 2001, and has since helped to establish the careers of some of Australia's most distinguished classical artists. Past Fellows include luminaries Genevieve Lacey, William Barton, Joseph Tawadros, Claire Edwardes and Eugene Uhgetti.


Molly Collier-O'Boyle (27) is Acting Assistant Principal Viola with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as well as the violist in Rathdowne Quartet. Molly's project Ephemerality is a curated concept album which will feature ten new works. An immersive concert experience will launch the album in the Old Richmond Power Station, with a guest performer and live reactive visuals projected through the space.

Will Hansen (24) is a prodigious young double bass player whose enthusiasm for contemporary classical music is as ambitious as it is intoxicating. He has performed alongside Ensemble Offspring, Ensemble Apex and the Australian String Quartet. Will's project is to commission five new works for solo double bass by local composers

which will be released alongside unrecorded recent commissions and modern works for solo double bass. A bespoke concert and masterclass tour across Australia will be undertaken to support the album release.

Kyla Matsuura-Miller (28) was Tokyo-born and Melbourne-raised. She is a powerhouse violinist who is currently working with Inventi Ensemble, Trio Clara and Duo Pagio. In 2017 Kyla was an Emerging Artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. She has won numerous awards, and in 2022 will be the recipient of the Homophonic Pride Prize. "My project aims to express and evoke elements of the collective cultural memory of being raised non-white in Australia." says Kyla. Three composers will be commissioned to write new works for solo violin, with optional electronics which will culminate in a live performance co-presented by Play On via YouTube..

Eliza Shephard (28) is a Wagga Wagga-born Melbourne-based flautist who strives to push the boundaries of her instrument. She was selected for an ABC Young Performers Award semi-finalist in 2021. Eliza has toured nationally with Opera Australia's regional touring program. She proposes to commission five flute duets from Australian composers for her project, "Each duet will pay homage to the relationships and training that I received from teachers that I have studied with." says Eliza." A book will be released, along with a YouTube video and a performance."

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