Finalists Selected For the 2023 Freedman Classical Fellowship

Learn more about the finalists here!

By: Sep. 19, 2023
Finalists Selected For the 2023 Freedman Classical Fellowship

After an extensive search, three exceptional finalists have been selected to compete for the coveted 2023 Freedman Classical Fellowship, Courtenay Cleary (29, Queensland - Violin), Henry Justo (28, Queensland - Viola), and Jonty Coy (27, Western Australia - Flute).

Sydney can hear the next generation of musicians in classical music and support their artistic growth at the deciding final, a live concert before esteemed judges, on Sunday, October 15th, 3pm to 6pm, The Neilson, Pier 2/3 ACO.

The Fellowship invites the best musicians under 35 in Australia to dream big and envision projects of significant scale to the value of $21, 000. These visionary artists propose career-defining projects, ranging from multidisciplinary concerts and large ensemble commissions to international professional development and innovative recording projects.

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 esteemed 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).

According to the judges: “The finalists are incredibly varied and reflect the multi-faceted aspects of classical music. Each building on their classical musical foundations and collaborating with Australian composers and experimenters to expand the art form while respecting tradition.”

Since 2001, The Freedman Fellowship has successfully identified the future leaders of new music & contemporary classical music. Past Fellows include renowned names such as; Genevieve Lacey (2001), Karin Schaupp (2002), William Barton (2003), Claire Edwardes (2005), Joseph Tawadros (2006), Aviva Endean (2015), and Rohan Dasika (2019). In 2022, Melbourne-based Brisbane-born freelance violist Katie Yap secured the coveted Fellowship.


Courtenay Cleary is a leading Australian violinist with an impressive international footprint having lived and worked in New York and London. Since returning to Brisbane, she has swiftly forged a successful career performing in many major music festivals. Courtenay has developed a significant curatorial presence with her popular ‘Courtenay and Friends’ concert series. Impressively for one so young, she was recently appointed to the faculty of the University of Queensland.

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”. Additionally, she would 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.

Henry Justo was also a Freedman Classical Fellowship finalist in 2023. The viola player has a wide-ranging appetite for all kinds of music at a very high level of sophistication. He is “inspired by the infinite possibilities of human interaction with sound” and can execute creative multidisciplinary projects with flair and passion.

Henry's proposed Fellowship 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 wld.

Jonty Coy is an Australian flautist specialising in historical performance practice. He holds a master’s degree in Early Music from the Royal Conservatory in the Hague, and a Bachelor of Philosophy (Hons) from the UWA Conservatorium of Music in Perth, Western Australia. He has appeared as a soloist, orchestral and chamber musician with numerous prestigious ensembles and professional choirs in both Australia and the Netherlands.

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


The Freedman Classical Fellowship is funded by The Freedman Foundation, a philanthropic  foundation centred on assisting young Australians in music and visual arts, as well as providing support to medical and scientific programs - chaired by Laurence Freedman AM and Kathy  Freedman AM. The Fellowships are managed by The Music Trust and administered by the  SIMA, more information

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