Katie Yap, the Melbourne-based, Brisbane-born violist has been named winner of the much prized Music Trust’s $21,000 2022 Freedman Classical Fellowship. Yap succeeded in the finals against harpist Emily Granger and violist Henry Justo, with an outstanding performance before a live audience and esteemed judges in the Sydney Opera House on Saturday, July 30.
The three finalists were selected from 16 nominees after an extensive search, conducted by a panel of esteemed classical musicians, for Australia’s most creative musician aged 35 and under.
“The finalists selected are a wonderful reflection of the depth and diversity of music making in Australia today”, said the 2022 judges Professor Kim Cunio, Kirsty McCahon and Dr Stephen Mould in a combined statement. “Never before has Australian music had such an important role in helping to define who and what Australia is. With that in mind, these outstanding and highly creative young artists signal that the future of Australian classical music is in very good hands”.
Katie Yap’s love of music was felt deeply throughout her emotive finals performance. Her ability to grip the audience, and say so much in the silences of each composition was truly breathtaking. Her voice soared in synergy with the viola, naturally amplified by the stunning acoustics of the Utzon Room.
“I’m extremely grateful to all the people who’ve supported me over my musical life to get to this point, particularly my mentors Julia Fredersdorff and Genevieve Lacey and to the Freedman Fellowship for giving me the opportunity to dream bigger than I could have ever dared.” says Katie.
In her Freedman project Multitudes, Katie will create four new works through collaborative composition and improvisation with four collaborators: Emily Sheppard, Donald Nicolson, Bowerbird Collective, and Mindy Meng Wang. “As a violist, looking out from the middle of the sonic sandwich, my musical identity comes from my connections with others.” says Katie. “That’s why I’ve chosen the medium of collaborative composition to create the pieces in this project, and I’m so excited to work with each of my collaborators!”
Each of the works in Katie’s Multitudes project will be based on one of Judith Wright’s bird poems that Kate has chosen specifically for its evocation of a particular story or emotion that she associates with her collaborator, their instrument, and her connection to them. “My mother introduced me to these beautiful poems, along with a love of birds themselves”, says Katie. “Multitudes represents an exciting, scary step for me in my career—it gives me the opportunity to step into the role of a creator of music, not just a performer and curator. Each work will be created over a three-day workshop period, then we’ll film them with videographer Darren James, and finally we’ll present them in a residency of four concerts at Tempo Rubato, an intimate venue in Melbourne’s inner north.”
Katie Yap grew up in Brisbane and excelled in school music programs from an early age. She graduated from the University of Queensland with a University Medal, before studying at the Australian National Academy of Music. Since then, she has embarked on a career of chamber and orchestral engagements, playing with ensembles such as the Australian World Orchestra, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, and the Chrysalis Trio as well as community music volunteering and tertiary teaching.
ABOUT THE FREEDMAN CLASSICAL FELLOWSHIP
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. The Fellowship began in 2001, and has since helped to establish the careers of some of Australia’s most distinguished classical artists. 2021 saw Victorian violinist Kyla Matsuura-Miller secure the coveted Fellowship, joining ranks of the long and esteemed list of previous Fellows including Genevieve Lacey, William Barton, Joseph Tawadros, Claire Edwardes and Eugene Ughetti.