Violist Katie Yap Wins Australia's Freedman Classical Fellowship

Yap will use the $21,000 grant for a collaborative composer-performer project featuring several other young Australian musicians

(Photo credit: Grant Leslie)


Brisbane violist Katie Yap is the winner of the 2022 Freedman Classical Fellowship. Run by Australian organization The Music Trust, the Freedman Fellowships are given annually to one classical musician and one jazz musician. They carry a value of $21,000 AUD.

Yap has decided to put her fellowship money towards a collaborative composing and improvisation project, titled Multitudes. The project will feature young Australian performers and composers such as Emily Sheppard, Donald Nicolson, Bowerbird Collective, and Mindy Meng Wang.

Multitudes is chiefly inspired by the Australian poet Judith Wright, who died in 2000. Wright was also a prominent environmentalist and advocate for Aboriginal land rights in Australia. Each of the works in the project will be based on one of Wright's bird poems.

Yap will use the funding to create a video recording of each work alongside videographer Darren James, and a residency at Melbourne's Tempo Rubato venue will also provide a setting for the works to be performed.

"As a violist, looking out from the middle of the sonic sandwich, my musical identity comes from my connections with others," Yap said. "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!"

"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," she added.

"The finalists selected are a wonderful reflection of the depth and diversity of music making in Australia today," said the jury, which, in 2022, comprised Kim Cunio, Kirsty McCahon, and Stephen Mould.

"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."

You can view an excerpt of Yap's finalist performance below. She plays a 2016 work, Aftermath, by the Australian composer Emily Sheppard.