05 May 2021

This content is tagged as Multi-Artform .


Creative New Zealand celebrates 2021 music scholars

Following a year of COVID-19 impacts and funding suspensions, Creative New Zealand is pleased to acknowledge the 2021 Music Scholarships recipients.

Creative New Zealand is thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity in 2021 to give much needed support to New Zealand musicians so that they can pursue international professional development opportunities”, said Creative New Zealand Senior Manager Arts Development Services, Cath Cardiff. “COVID has proved challenging for the arts but it also proved how invaluable they are during a crisis, particularly music. The Edwin Carr scholarship is particularly important as it is one of only a few that provides support specifically to composers.

Arts Practice Director Music & Opera, Hayley Dingwall reflected on scholarship recipients, The scholarship panel had a tough job this year with a very impressive batch of candidates and it was heartening to see so many students from Aotearoa finding advanced learning opportunities here and around the world. Congratulations to the recipients —we look forward to hearing the fruits of their mahi in years to come.” 

Carr family member, Tony Carr said  “Throughout his years in music, my brother Edwin mentored many young New Zealanders wishing to pursue a career in composition. I know he would be very pleased indeed to learn that Kirsten Strom and Reuben Jelleyman are the recipients of scholarships from the Edwin Carr Foundation this year. Their achievements to date are impressive and we are delighted that Kirsten will be able to continue Master of Music in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London and that Reuben will be able to complete his second year of a Masters in Composition at the Conservatoire de Paris.

Members of the Carr family send congratulations and will watch their progress with much interest.”

Creative New Zealand was fortunate to ask Edwin Carr Scholarship winners, Kirsten Strom and Reuben Jellyman a few questions about their careers and receiving these scholarships.

Kirsten Strom

$25,000 towards a Master of Music in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, London

Kirsten (currently based in Auckland) will be starting her second year of study for a Master of Music in London. Kirsten was the Young Composer-in-Residence with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra for 2018 and also represented New Zealand in the Asian Composers League Festival that year. Her music has featured at festivals such as Risuonanze Festival in Italy, and Etchings Festival in France in 2019.  

How do you feel receiving the scholarship?

Amazing! It was amazing news!! It was the kind of thing where you nervously pray before opening the email, and the result blew me away! A real godsend, a real answer to prayer, especially in these uncertain times. Composers are often excluded from music scholarships, so having one like the Edwin Carr is very special. Many thanks for selecting me!

What do you hope to achieve with the scholarship?

The scholarship enables me to continue on my second year of a Master of Music with the Royal Academy, which is super exciting. The Masters provides so many opportunities to work with brilliant performers and test your ideas as you write. Their quality is crazy and it definitely spurs you on to do your best. I'm especially excited to create my own external collaborations and explore multimedia partnerships in a big way. London is a great environment, bursting at the seams with all kinds of artists and disciplines. I'd love to launch projects in film, dance, electronics and musical theatre. The Academy in particular has an amazing musical theatre department, preparing the likes of Christina Allado (Hamilton, Prince of Egypt). Super excited to roll my sleeves up and make some art!

Who would you consider has had an impact on your career to date?

I definitely want to give a shout out to my amazing lecturers at the University of Auckland. Leonie Holmes has such an amazing gift with tone, texture and melodic craft that continues to inspire me. Eve de Castro-Robinson is an intrepid sonic explorer who explodes your notion of what art is. John Coulter has been an incredible mentor in the electroacoustic realm, and encouraged me to become a well-rounded artist, giving attention to the psychology of space, image, sound, trajectory and emotive impact. He hugely inspired me to go multimedia. I'm also in love with the music of my current teacher at the Academy, Edmund Finnis, who writes such stunning, fragile, interwoven textures, often drawn from early music. And last but not least, my God has been endlessly inspiring to me - His designs in nature, heart for the broken and beautiful depth in scripture make their way into all my music. I pray through every piece I write, so all my success is due to Him. Bit of a modern-day Bach I guess - my creed is Soli Deo Gloria! (Glory to God alone!)

What are your plans for the future?

As an artist I have some crazy big dreams like staging a West End musical, working with the Royal Ballet and writing for the BBC Proms. In the short-term, I intend to make the most of my environs, work with as many people as possible, and apply to anything I can, keeping an eye out for residencies and competitions. I have a few commissions in the works at the moment with New Zealand ensembles, which is very exciting! Alongside composing, I'd love to keep conducting and develop my songwriting craft, returning to my worship roots. And of course, keep singing!

Reuben Jellyman 

$18,202 towards the second year of a Master's in Composition at the Conservatoire de Paris, France. 

Reuben (currently based in Paris) will be completing his second year for a Master’s in Composition in Paris, currently studying under Gérard Pesson at CNSMDP. His works have been played by ensembles such as Ensemble Intercontemporain, (France), Avanti! (Finland), Ensemble Fractales (Belgium), Stroma (NZ), NZTrio, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and the NZSO National Youth Orchestra, and numerous soloists, including featured portrait concerts dedicated to his music in Vienna, Auckland, and Wellington.

Firstly, congratulations on your second year of study at the institution. Could you tell us how it has been to live and study overseas during this difficult time?

Tēnā rawa atu koe!  I am honoured to be selected for the Edwin Carr Foundation Scholarship this year, it is going to be crucial for seeing me through the last leg of my studies.  Despite the numerous lockdowns and various on-going curfew measures, studies at the Conservatoire de Paris have never actually stopped.  Our concert projects have been transformed into recording projects, and although my research trips around Europe had to be cancelled, I’ve still been able to see a lot of my research through.

Over the last year, with various funding sources and projects cancelled, I was under a big financial stress.  Very fortunately, the conservatoire mobilised some emergency funds that I was able to receive, along with the NZ W.B.L. Owen Scholarship.  I also have my parents to thank for helping me through, and the APRA Professional Development Award for the funding in my first year.

 The most difficult thing of all though, would be that I’ve been stranded.  I had intended to be back in New Zealand recently, so I’ve been away for over two years now, and that’s had its consequences.

To date who have been some key influences in your career?

Foremost, my aunt and uncle, Dorothy Ker and Jeroen Speak; being a composer was never an impossibility from my perspective as a child.  They have supported me each step of the way.  I even based myself at their place in London for a few months, learning French frantically before moving to Paris!  There are many other New Zealander composers who continue to help me along the way, including all my teachers at Te Kōkī NZSM, but all my connections really started with my family.

I would also have to say that some of those really key influences for me at the moment are my friends here in Paris – those creating personal projects with the courage to move in bold directions, those who are deeply invested in their research, and who are not afraid of the huge efforts it takes to do it.  They’re also producing some of the most startlingly original music, and that's very exciting for me.

What do you hope to create in the future – will you continue to compose, write, research.  What is your long-term goal?

I will always foster an artistic imagination in my life, that’s for certain.  I’m a scientist as well though – and that's not so different from being an artist!  I’m interested in the world in all sorts of ways, and I’d like to stay away from too many definitions.  

The long-term goal is really to continue my personal musical project – that is to say, as a composer I want to continue to discover forms of music that are yet again different.  Every time that we arrive at an answer of what music is, the imagination of something beyond is still there.  I’ve always held that I would like to work on a "large-scale" project at some point in my life; I can’t say exactly what that might be or when, but that’s a long-term goal.  I would also like to continue to be invested in the New Zealand contemporary music scene, and to foster the connections I have between NZ and Europe.

Kirsten and Reuben were two of six music scholar recipients this year. 

2021 Music recipients are:

EDWIN CARR FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP for composers to further their music studies overseas.

Kirsten Strom - $25,000 towards a Master of Music in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, London

Reuben Jelleyman - $18,202 towards a second year of a Master's in Composition at the Conservatoire de Paris, France

NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA MUISC SCHOLARSHIP for musicians to further their music studies overseas.

Claudia Tarrant-Matthews - $8,000 towards a Professional Diploma in Violin Performance at the Royal Academy of Music, London

Claudia graduated with a Bachelor of Music in violin and piano performance from the New Zealand School of Music in 2018. She spent the beginning of 2019 working with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra before moving to London in September to begin her Master of Arts in violin performance at the Royal Academy of Music, studying with Professor György Pauk. She will be graduating with a Master’s degree in July 2021, and in September, plans to begin her Professional Diploma in violin performance. Claudia was a 2020 recipient of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Wellington Arts Excellence Award and a Semi Finalist in the ROSL Annual Music Competition – Calathea String Quartet first violin in 2021.

Dominic Jacquemard– $8,000 towards Master of Music in Percussion at Het Conservatorium van Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Dominic Jacquemard (currently based in New Plymouth) is a percussionist and timpanist. He studied his Bachelor’s Degree at Tē Kōki New Zealand School of Music in Wellington under the tutelage of New Zealand Symphony Orchestra principals Leonard Sakofsky and Laurence Reese. During this time, he performed regularly with Orchestra Wellington, and has been Section Principal Timpani with Orchestra Wellington since March 2020. As part of Orchestra Wellington, he has also performed in productions of NZ Ballet and NZ Opera. Dominic has also been a member of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra and performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Festival Opera.

JACK MCGILL MUSIC SCHOLARSHIPS for musicians to further their music studies overseas.

Chun-An (Amy) Hsu - $8,000 towards a Master of Arts in Musical Direction & Coaching at the Royal Academy of Music, London

Amy (currently based in Auckland) holds a Bachelor of Music (Honours) from the University of Auckland under the tutelage of Stephen de Pledge and David Guerin. Upon the completion of her studies in early 2018, Amy has been performing internationally and exploring a variety of musical styles onboard Holland America Line cruise ships, collaborating with artists all over the world such as Brazilian pianist/conductor Rogerio Tutti, Irish Musician of the Year Jonathan Johnston, Australian singer-songwriter Chantelle Delaney and Eurovision semi-finalists Emperors of Soul. Her most recent musical theatre experience is playing keyboard in Jersey Boys and Parade.

Matthias Balzat - $6,000 towards a Master of Music in Cello at Robert Schumann Hochschule für Musik, Düsseldorf

Matthias (currently based in Düsseldorf) graduated from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Music Degree with Honours in 2017. He began his Master’s degree in 2019 at Robert Schumann Hochschule für Musik, Düsseldorf under the tutelage of world renowned cellist, Pieter Wispelwey.  In 2019 he was the Soloist for the “Zhong” Cello Concerto World Premiere, which was composed by the award-winning Chinese Composer, Xu Tang, and won first prize in the Sieghardt-Rometsch Instrumental Concerto Competition.

Photo Credits: Kirsten Strom - Hope Strom; Reuben Jellyman image provided by the artist.