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by Thibault Le Viavant
posted 20/02/2016

Rafael Karlen awarded Churchill Fellowship

Composer and saxophonist Rafael Karlen is one of Australia’s bright emerging performers and composers, and his passion for contemporary music is taking him international.

Brisbane based Rafael Karlen is one of 109 people across Australia who has been announced as a recipient of a Churchill Fellowship, awarded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, who are now celebrating their 50th Year.

Composer and saxophonist Rafael Karlen is one of Australia’s bright emerging performers and composers, and his passion for contemporary music is taking him international.

Brisbane based Rafael Karlen is one of 109 people across Australia who has been announced as a recipient of a Churchill Fellowship, awarded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, who are now celebrating their 50th Year.

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Rafael Karlen

As a Churchill Fellow, Rafael hopes to gain valuable insights through private study with many of Europe and America’s leading musicians in contemporary composition, ensemble direction and advanced saxophone performance by researching abroad.

Rafael will be travelling to America, Holland, Germany, England, Denmark and Norway, with the ultimate aim to research how some of the world’s leading ensembles, composers and performers work and to bring these insights back to the Australian cultural community.

My goal is to seek out people and ensembles that I admire and respect that are producing some of the most exciting music in their field at a high international level. I will spend time with people and ensembles including The Metropole Orkest and Vince Mendoza in Holland, The WDR Big Band, and Florian Ross in Germany, The Danish Radio Big Band, Tord Gustavsen in Norway, and Darcy James Argue in New York. These are people who are at the top of their game and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to interact and learn from these acclaimed musicians.” Rafael Karlen said.

“I am very active as a performer, composer and lead several ensembles here in Brisbane so I am excited to bring insights and inspiration back with me and channel this through my creative outlets here in Australia. 2016 is shaping up to be a very creative year for me with performances and writing projects with ensembles ranging from large and small jazz bands, chamber orchestra, string quartet, world music ensembles and several recording projects.”

“Directly following the return from my research trip I will be premiering several new works for Chamber Orchestra as part of QSO Current Festival by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.” Rafael Karlen said.

Karen’s most recent releases include Hope in My Pocket, a collaboration with singer Kristin Bernardi and pianist Sean Foran and Karlen’s album The Sweetness of Things Half Remembered featuring pianist Steve Newcomb and the Rosenberg String Quartet.

In addition to performing and composing, Rafael is also heavily involved with music education as a lecturer at several music institutions in Brisbane, as the Director of the Queensland Youth Orchestra Big Band and recently as the Director of the MOST Big Band at the Creative Generation Excellence Awards in Instrumental Music.

After graduating from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 2004 Rafael Karlen has received and been nominated for many national awards and commissions, and was previously awarded the Lord Mayor’s Fellowshipfor Young and Emerging Artists to undertake postgraduate at the University of York in England.

Mr. Paul Tys CEO of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust said that the Fellowship will let Rafael access support not available in Australia that will lead to overall societal gain.

“The Churchill Fellowships were established to enable emerging specialists to bring knowledge back to Australia in order to benefit the wider community – and Rafael’s project is the epitome of this,” said Paul Tys CEO of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and the Churchill Fellowships were established after Sir Winston Churchill’s death in 1965, allowing Fellows to become his living legacy and inspire extraordinary thinking.

Since its inception 50 years ago, the Churchill Trust has supported more than 4,000 Australians in identifying projects where overseas research will allow them to bring back vital networks and skills.

To learn more about Rafael Karlen go visit his website here!

About Hope in my pocket and the Band, here!

And for more information about the Churchill Trust, including the work of Fellows, click here! 

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