2018 Freedman Classical Fellowship Concert
After a nation-wide search for the Australia’s best young classical musicians aged 30 and under, the three finalists – violinist Courtenay Cleary, percussionist Thea Rossen and clarinettist Oliver Shermacher – will compete live in concert for the title of 2018 Freedman Classical Fellow, and the career-changing $20,000 cash prize to undertake a proposed creative project. The winner will be announced by the panel of judges on the night.
Courtenay Cleary recently received her Bachelor of Music degree with first-class honours from the Royal Academy of Music in London where she studied with professor Maureen Smith. In 2017 Courtenay performed as a soloist for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and other distinguished guests at Westminster Abbey for the Royal Commonwealth Service. Courtenay is a core member of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and also plays casually with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria.
Thea Rossen is a percussionist, creator and educator based in Melbourne. She is director of the Ad Lib Collective, an ensemble focused on concert curation, commissioning new Australian works and community engagement. Her work with the group has recently taken her to a residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada where she developed a program of works dealing with the issues surrounding climate change.
Oliver Schermacher is a versatile performer who is gaining recognition as one of Australia’s finest young musicians. As a Grand Finalist in the 2018 Young Performers Award, Oliver was the winner of the Audience Choice and the Triffitt Bequest after performing the Weber Clarinet Concerto No.1 with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Oliver has performed solo recitals in Australia, New Zealand and Germany and has played in concert halls around Europe and China, including the Concertgebouw and the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing.
Whilst the judges deliberate, there will be a very special guest performance from former Freedman Fellow, didgeridoo player William Barton. William won the Freedman Classical Fellowship in 2003, and this is an extraordinary opportunity to see him perform.
This free concert is hosted and broadcast by ABC Classic FM. Your host, ABC Classic FM presenter and pianist Tamara Anna Cislowska is also a former Freedman Fellow.
The Freedman Fellowship Awards are among the most prestigious offered to Australian musicians. They are awarded annually to a classical music instrumentalist and a jazz musician. Distinguished musicians from around the country are invited to nominate candidates from amongst whom three finalists are selected.
The Freedman Classical Fellowship is managed by The Music Trust and administered and produced by Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA).
What: 2018 Freedman Classical Fellowship Concert
When: Saturday September 29 @ 7:30pm
Where: Eugene Goosens Hall ABC Sydney
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Courtenay Cleary would like to undertake a series of three concerts showcasing new and existing Australian solo and chamber works. The existing works she has chosen are by composers that have inspired her as an Australian artist and shaped her musical career thus far. In addition, new works will include compositions for string quartet, solo violin, and violin and piano by Benjamin Heim and Paul Stanhope that are on the cutting edge of contemporary, immersive Australian music. The concert series will result in a second collaborative EP with Heim, which Courtenay hopes to present to New Amsterdam records for future release.
Funds from the Freedman Music Fellowship would allow Thea Rossen to delve deep into a collaboration with the internationally renowned percussionist Maria Finkelmeier and her ensemble Masary Studios in Boston, Massachusetts. The project is a large scale immersive performance piece that speaks to the ideas surrounding climate change. The new work will feature seven percussionists from Masary Studios and the Ad Lib Collective with Thea performing as the soloist and Maria as the main composer. Lighting design and projection mapping will also be an integral part of the performance, designed and performed live by Sam Okerstrom Lang, member of Masary Studios.
Oliver Shermacher’s goal is to curate and perform a recital that will synthesise his extensive experience in theatre with his training as a classical musician. He will be commissioning composer Alice Chance in consultation with director Julia Robertson to write a 30-40 minute piece for Solo Clarinet involving audio-visual effects and spoken word, paired with a performance of Stockhausen’s Der Kleine Harlekin. This collaboration will be creating a unique paradigm of performance which will captivate audiences and allow him to develop his career in platforms outside of the concert hall. The Freedman Fellowship will allow him to realise this performance in a two week tour of intimate and immersive venues in Australia, New Zealand and Germany with a rehearsal and production period of two months.
Elaine Chia is CEO of the City Recital Hall and was formerly was the Director, International Signature Projects at the Australia Council for the Arts. She has worked on numerous international projects and led orchestral tours to Asia, Europe and South America.
Raf Wilson has a background routed in Australia’s orchestral and music sectors and spent six years as Director of Artistic Planning at Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, before taking up his current role as the Director of Artistic Planning for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Since joining Sydney Symphony Orchestra in late 2016, he has he produced numerous recordings, and innovative concert performances including Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Vaughan Williams’ Sinfonia Antartica, and Australia’s first opera, Don John of Austria, by Isaac Nathan.
Sonya Lifschitz is internationally recognised as one of Australia’s most innovative, fearless and fiercely creative musical voices. Her recent performance of the world premiere “Stalin’s Piano” by Robert Davidson at the Canberra International Music Festival received a 4.5 stars review in the Limelight Magazine, and a recent performance of Larry Sitsky’s piano trio, Sandakan, commissioned by her ensemble Press, Play, received the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Contemporary Masters Award for the best performance of new work.