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Music journalist Stephanie Eslake has been named the City of Hobart Australia Day 2017 Young Citizen of the Year for her contributions to classical music. A regular reviewer and contributor to Limelight over the past three years, Eslake is also the founder and editor of the online magazine, CutCommon, which showcases emerging classical musicians, composers and writers.
“I am both thrilled and humbled to receive this award," Eslake told Limelight. “I am especially grateful that the City of Hobart has used this award as a way to recognise the value in those of us forging our careers in the Australian arts industry.”
Limelight critic Stephanie Eslake, photo © Graziano di Martino
A classical saxophonist, Eslake has degrees in music and media, and works as a freelance journalist, music critic, film maker and blogger. She founded CutCommon in 2014 and the site was named Limelight’s Classical Music Site of the Month in November 2015. “I started CutCommon in 2014 as a way to build an online community for young classical musicians in Australia,” she said. “I could see the overwhelming amount of talent that existed across the country, but felt there was nothing out there that functioned as a way to bring everybody together and support their activities. In the years since, the publication has taken on a life of its own, thanks to the vision of our fantastic team of budding music writers.”
In 2015 CutCommon announced it was expanding beyond a magazine to include a Digital Music Store, exclusively selling works by new Australian composers. The site now also offers offers a Skype arts industry mentoring service, a Young Writer of the Year Competition coordinated by deputy editor Lucy Rash and an original line of environmentally conscious manuscript books designed and produced in Tasmania.
According to Lord Mayor Alderman Sue Hickey, Eslake’s award is in recognition of her “community contribution by creating an online promotional and educational network for young Australian classical musicians.” The award also acknowledges Eslake's work mentoring young writers as Co-Editor and Publications Mentor of Hobart City Council's youth arts and culture magazine Platform. Eslake will receive her award at a ceremony in Hobart on Australia Day.
“It is so important for us to nurture young musicians and writers, among others in the early stages of their arts careers,” said Eslake. “It's certainly a challenging time for those of us in this industry. But if we work together to support and promote the wonderful projects and people in our creative communities, we'll be all the better for it. I am proud that CutCommon is leading the way in showcasing new talent in classical music and journalism in Australia.”