2022 Freedman Jazz Fellow | The Music Trust

The Winner of the 2022 Freedman Jazz Fellowship is:

Tom Avgenicos, Trumpet

Sydney trumpeter, composer and innovator Tom Avgenicos was awarded the 2022 Freedman Jazz Fellowship in an exciting final playoff at the Sydney Opera House on Saturday 3 September. The sold-out crowd enjoyed the events return to the Studio, after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

The three finalists Flora Carbo, Holly Conner and Tom Avgenicos delivered distinctively different, highly impressive and creative performances.

James Valentine from ABC 702 and ABC Jazz compered the evening which also featured a superb duo set from pianist Mike Nock and saxophonist Julien Wilson whilst the judges made their final deliberation.

Tom Avgenicos has established himself as a creative force in the Australian jazz scene with his cutting-edge improvisational approach, that’s at the forefront of his project Delay 45. Tom’s compositions flow seamlessly through structure and spontaneity, creating an engrossing experience for the listener.

Tom intends to use the $21, 000 award to develop two multidisciplinary works for his long-standing quartet Delay 45, while collaborating with Ensemble Apex String Quartet, contemporary dancer/choreographer Reina Takeuchi and motion graphics artist Jordan East.

The distinguished judges for this year’s fellowship were Dr. Steve Barry (Associate Lecturer in Jazz. at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music), Virna Sanzone (Vocal Lecturer in the Jazz at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and Dr. Andrew Robson (Lecturer in Music Studies at Macquarie University). They summed up this year’s highly competitive final by stating:

“The three finalists each presented incredibly sophisticated programs of original music which they performed with conviction and creativity. Each finalist displayed a highly developed musical language that is pushing the music in new and exciting directions. Selecting a winner from such a rich pool of talent is always going to be difficult and we would like to extend our congratulations and thanks to all three musicians.” 

Dr Richard Letts from the Music Trust commented:

“Each Freedman finalist in very different ways produced interesting, complex music. All performed on traditional instruments but also included modern contributions from computer-generated music with live triggers. It was intriguing that each of the finalists chose to include other art forms – visual arts, dance, film, animation in their imaginative project proposals.” 


Tom Avgenicos is a well-known fixture in the Sydney jazz scene, both as an improviser and a composer. His refined and exploratory palette of sounds make him a sought-after musician across a range of creative projects in Australia. As a sideman, he has worked alongside celebrated Australian jazz musicians such as Mike Nock, Barney McAll, Matt McMahon and Ten Part Invention. In addition, Tom leads his own original projects including Delay 45, Tuckerbox (co-led with Melbourne trombonist Josh Bennier) and The Avgenicos Brothers (co-led with brother, Michael). Tom was a runner-up in the National Jazz Awards (brass).

In 2017, Avgenicos was Sydney Improvised Music Association’s (SIMA) Sonic Futures artist, and was a runner-up in the prestigious National Jazz Awards (Brass), held at the Wangaratta Jazz Festival.

In 2018, Avgenicos graduated with a first-class honours from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he studied under Phil Slater, Warwick Alder, Matt McMahon and Mike Rivett. He was the recipient of Sydney University’s ‘George and Margaret Henderson Scholarship’, a ‘Global Mobility Scholarship’ and was awarded ‘Outstanding Jazz Musician of the Year’ from the Sydney Conservatorium Association.

Avgenicos has led his own ensemble Delay 45 on an international tour of Europe, where the group performed in Cologne, Berlin, Amsterdam and Siena, and received mentorship from a selection of the world’s finest improvising musicians including Jonas Burgwinkel, Mike Majkowski, Ben Van Gelder, Reinier Baas, Ralph Alessi, Shane Endsley, Kenny Werner, Jeff Ballard and Matt Penman. This tour was significant in shaping Delay 45’s improvisational language.

In 2019, the ensemble released their debut album big ears. Delay 45 have been invited to perform at some of Australia’s leading festivals and programs including the Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Sydney Improvised Music Association’s (SIMA) Jazz:NOW Wired and Great Southern Nights. The group have quickly gained recognition among peers, critics and audiences as a unique emerging Australian jazz voice. Sydney Morning Herald described the group as a “bold new chapter in Australian jazz”. Delay 45 recently recorded their 2nd album Flux, set for release in 2021.

In May 2020, Avgenicos released his second album as leader with Tuckerbox, a collaborative project with Melbourne trombonist Josh Bennier. Their debut album Dasch features creative young Sydney and Melbourne musicians and explores the earthy textures available in a chord-less ensemble within the realm of contemporary jazz and improvisation.

In September 2020, Tom released Treading Water, the debut album from The Avgenicos Brothers, a project co-led with his older brother Michael. This debut embodies the brothers’ lifelong musical dialogue amongst a love of modern jazz, groove and electronic sound scapes.

To keep reading about the Freedman Fellowship Awards, Click Here.
To browse through all the incredible Freedman Jazz and Classical Fellows, Click Here.

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