Tokyo-born Kyla Matsuura-Miller, 28, was one of four finalists, which included flutist Eliza Shephard, double bassist Will Hansen, and violist Molly Collier-O’Boyle.
The Freedman Fellowship Awards are offered annually to Australian musicians up to age 30. The award is received by a classical music instrumentalist and a jazz musician, who are nominated by distinguished musicians from around the nation.
The awards’ deciding concert was filmed in Sydney and Melbourne and livestreamed by the Australian Digital Concert Hall. The judging panel comprised Penny Lomax, Tamara-Anna Cislowska, and Véronique Serre.
“Tonight’s concert saw another outstanding display of innovative young classical artists who proved their commitment to new Australian work and dedication to their craft using a refreshing array of new ideas,” the judges stated.
“In the end, it was Kyla Matsuura-Miller whose inspired approach to her instrument and insight into her choice of repertoire spoke to each of us,” they continued. “We are enthusiastic to see new music used as a vehicle to illustrate untold stories. Kyla’s project will see a greater level of inclusivity represented in both artists and audiences.”
Kyla was an Australian Chamber Orchestra Emerging Artist in 2017 and graduated from the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) in 2018. The violinist and educator will also be receiving the 2022 Homophonic! Pride Prize.
As part of her project, she will collaborate with artists such as filmmaker Tobias Willis and composer Stéphanie Kabanyana Kandekwe to draw upon their personal experiences as non-white Australians in newly commissioned works for solo violin and optional electronics. The project will showcase via YouTube and a live performance for Play On.
“Thank you to the Freedman Foundation and The Music Trust for granting me the opportunity to shine a light on new compositions by Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) Australian composers,” Kyla expressed.
“It is a huge privilege and responsibility, and one that I do not take lightly. To be able to amplify new, unheard stories in classical music will hopefully leave a legacy for others to feel seen, heard and included in the Australian classical music scene.”
Past winners of the fellowship include Genevieve Lacey, William Barton, Richard Narroway, Joseph Tawadros, Claire Edwardes, and Eugene Ughetti.