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Australia’s Freedman Classical Fellowship 2023 Announces Finalists

Three finalists have been selected for the award, which offers $21,000 for a creative project and performances


The Freedman Fellowship Awards are awarded annually to Australian musicians aged 35 and under. The prize is received by a classical music instrumentalist and a jazz musician, who are nominated by nine distinguished musicians across the country. 

Three finalists for the Freedman Classical Fellowship are 29-year-old violinist Courtenay Cleary from Queensland; violist Henry Justo, 28, from Queensland; and 27-year-old flutist Jonty Coy from Western Australia.

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London and The Juilliard School, Cleary is currently completing her doctorate degree in contemporary music at the University of Queensland, where she also serves on the string faculty.

In her creative project proposal for the Fellowship, Cleary aims to perform and record newly commissioned works from Australian composers such as Chris Perren and Stephen Chin, and share them with international audiences, including in London and New York.

Justo is currently studying viola with Volker Jacobsen at Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover. He has also studied at the Australian National Academy of Music, Queensland Conservatorium, and Sydney Conservatorium. His mentors have included Caroline Henbest, Roger Benedict, Michele Walsh, and Hartmut Rohde in Berlin.

Alongside composer Cathy Milliken and media artist Mike Daly, Justo’s proposed project aims to combine new contemporary music and live performance with light installations and digital presentations, focusing on the theme of human connection.

Coy holds a master’s degree in Early Music from the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague and a bachelor’s degree from Perth’s UWA Conservatorium of Music. He has performed with the Apollo Ensemble, Luthers Bach Ensemble, Dordrechts Kamerorkest, Perth Symphony Orchestra, Fremantle Chamber Orchestra, and Philharmonia Australia. In 2020, he co-founded the Perth-based baroque ensemble HIP Company.

Inspired by the 16th-century transverse “Warder” flute, which was discovered at a shipwreck site in 2017 by marine archaeologists in Warder in North Holland, Coy’s proposed project is centered around a new work for renaissance flute and electronics by London-based Australian composer Kate Milligan. He aims to share his work with Australian audiences and those in the Netherlands.

The deciding final concert will be held from 3PM AEST on October 15, 2023, at the Neilson, Pier 2/3 ACO. To attend in person or view the livestream, click here.

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