2023 Freedman Jazz Fellow | The Music Trust

The Winner of the 2023 Freedman Jazz Fellowship is:


Phillippa Murphy-Haste_2023 Freedman Awards

Phillippa Murphy-Haste at the 2023 Freedman Jazz Awards – Credit: Shane Rozario

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The prestigious 2023 Freedman Jazz Fellowship, along with its esteemed $21,000 prize, was awarded to Sydney-based multi-instrumentalist, clarinet-specialist, and composer Phillippa Murphy-Haste in a thrilling playoff at the ACO’s new concert venue, The Neilson, at Pier 2/3 Walsh Bay on Saturday, September 2nd. This award marks a significant milestone in her promising career, recognizing her exceptional talent and innovative approach to jazz.

The competition featured three outstanding finalists, Theo Carbo, Sam Gill, and Phillippa Murphy-Haste, who each delivered distinctive and creative performances that left the audience in awe. The evening, compered by Michelle Hannah, also featured a superb trio set by 2021 Jazz Fellow and guitarist Hilary Geddes, alongside the great Jonathan Zwartz and Chloe Kim, while the judges deliberated.

Judges Chris Cody and Laurence Pike, commented, “It really is an amazing event, and opportunity for young musicians to present their vision in circumstances where commercial interests are removed entirely – it’s only the music that matters. this art form is one of the most uniquely human and expressive.”

Phillippa Murphy-Haste’s artistic practice encompasses an impressive range of musical contexts, including jazz, classical, experimental, improvised music, theatre, inter-arts, and cross-cultural collaborations. Her captivating 25-minute performance showcased lush intertwining harmonies and thought-provoking melodic counterpoints, taking the audience on a musical journey. Her ensemble, featuring accomplished musicians Paul Cutlan, fellow finalist Sam Gill, Nick Calligeros, Novak Manojlovic, Jacques Emery, and Chloe Kim, displayed exceptional chemistry and artistry.

LTR: Novak Manojlovic (piano), Nick Calligeros (trumpet), Sam Gill (alto saxophone), Phillippa Murphy-Haste (clarinet), Paul Cutlan (bass clarinet), Chloe Kim (drums), Jacques Emery (bass)Credit: Shane Rozario

LTR: Novak Manojlovic (piano), Nick Calligeros (trumpet), Sam Gill (alto saxophone), Phillippa Murphy-Haste (clarinet), Paul Cutlan (bass clarinet), Chloe Kim (drums), Jacques Emery (bass) Credit: Shane Rozario

With the Freedman Fellowship, Phillippa Murphy-Haste plans to undertake an improvising and composing mentorship with Swedish clarinet specialist Per ‘Texas’ Johansson, as well as the creation of a long-form work titled Kairos. This project will involve composed music interwoven with improvisations and will culminate in a cross-continental album recording featuring Phillippa, Per Texas Johansson, Paul Cutlan, and the band Microfiche.

Kairos is an Ancient Greek concept which refers to a notion of time as opportune, the right time, the time which should be seized.

Dr. Richard Letts, Director of the Music Trust and the Fellowships, praised Phillippa’s exceptional technical ability, noting that “Phillippa’s music and career achievements are already extraordinarily diverse. She has a great technical ability but even more importantly, is very expressive in her music invention and shows fine judgement of instrumental balance and coloration in her ensemble. She wasn’t the first composer to send the band off to the outside corridor to finish a piece but she certainly did it with wit.”

As mentioned by Michelle Hanna on the night, “you’ll hear from a few musicians on stage for several performances tonight. What strikes me about the jazz community is the collaboration and collegiality”, continuing to quote Mike Nock “He said it’s not what you play, but the way that you play it… Jazz is an attitude”.

The 2023 judges Laurence Pike, Ellen Kirkwood, Chris Cody noted “Theo, Sam and Phillippa all possess seriously impressive musicianship, creativity and demonstrated attention to detail in their projects.”

These three finalists represent the vanguard of leading improvisors in the new generation of jazz artists.

LTR: Chris Cody, Dr. Richard Letts, Laurence Pike, Phillippa Murphy-Haste, Theo Carbo, Sam Gill
Credit: Shane Rozario

The Freedman Fellowships began in 2001 and have contributed to the careers of many of Australia’s most distinguished jazz artists. Past Fellows include luminaries such as Andrea Keller, Julien Wilson, James Muller, Matt Keegan, Phil Slater, Kristin Berardi, Novak Manojlovic, Hilary Geddes and 2022 fellow Tom Avgenicos.

The Fellowship starts with nine acclaimed jazz masters, from around Australia each nominating emerging stars aged 35 or less whom they truly believe to be the best in the country. Each of the sixteen nominees submits a recording, and pitches a project they intend to carry out with the prize money, should they win. Three esteemed judges evaluate the submissions and choose three finalists to compete live in concert.

The Freedman Fellowships were conceived by Laurence Freedman AM and Dr Richard Letts AM, are managed by The Music Trust, administered and produced by SIMA. They’re funded by the Freedman Foundation which was founded by Laurence Freedman AM and Kathy Freedman AM. The Freedman Fellowships are a life-changing award offered annually to Australian classical & jazz musicians aged up to 35 years.

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