Three finalists have been selected for the prestigious Freedman Classical Fellowship this year, which awards an Australian classical instrumentalist aged 30 or under a $20,000 cash prize to undertake a career-enhancing creative project. Violist Katie Yap and double bassists Jonathan Heilbron and Rohan Dasika will compete live in concert at the Sydney Opera House’s Utzon Room on October 20. The winner will be selected by a panel comprising Roland Peelman, Director of the Canberra International Music Festival, Anna Melville, Artistic Administrator of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and pianist Sonya Lifschitz.

Katie Yap

“This year’s finalists modernise the way we think about classical music. The double bass and viola are not the first choice when we consider classical instruments, but these trail-blazing young musicians are bringing them out of the shadows and onto centre stage. While their paths are very different, our finalists draw on diversity and breadth of five centuries of music, while imagining a new future for classical music in Australia – on the vanguard, forging their own futures, on their own terms,” said Peelman.

If successful, violist Katie Yap intends to use the Fellowship money to undertake a tour of both Australia and Italy, culminating in a recording of the music she will perform to audiences both at home and abroad.

Jonathan Heilbron

Jonathan Heilbron hopes to use the cash prize to commission, perform and record a new concert-length piece for double bass, light and electronics by the Berlin-based American composer Catherine Lamb. He intends to perform the work in cities throughout Europe. He also hopes to use the prize money to produce a series of eight-hour, overnight performances, which he will record.

Rohan Dasika

Rohan Dasika meawhile intends to use the Fellowship to commission Sandy Evans and Adrian Sheriff to write Carnatic-inspired notated works for solo double bass. He plans to perform the pieces of music in Chennai, the centre of Carnatic music, as well as use the prize money to help fund the construction of a developed double bass by French luthier Patrick Charton.

Past Freedman Classical Fellows include Genevieve Lacy, William Barton, Joseph Tawadros and Claire Edwardes. Last year’s winner was clarinettist Oliver Shermacher.

The finalists’ concert will be held on October 20 at the Sydney Opera House’s Utzon Room