07 Jul 2022
Three young New Zealanders have each received funding to support further study overseas. Luka Venter, Charlotte Naden and Siyu Sun are the recipients of two Creative New Zealand musical scholarships: the Edwin Carr Foundation Scholarship and the Jack McGill Music Scholarship. The financial support will help each musician complete study with highly regarded professionals within their field.
The Edwin Carr Foundation Scholarship was established in 2004, with support from the estate of the late New Zealand composer, Edwin Carr. Luka Venter is the 23rd New Zealand composer to receive the foundation’s scholarship. Luka will receive $20,000 towards his Master of Arts in Opera Making and Writing, which he is studying for at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
Luka says the scholarship enables him to work with the industry’s leading practitioners.
“My place on the course is one of only three, and so I’m deeply grateful for the support of the Edwin Carr Foundation Scholarship towards this incredible opportunity. I’ll be working closely with composers Julian Philips and Julian Anderson and staff from the Guildhall’s unparalleled opera programme. I’m also hugely looking forward to being mentored by resident and visiting practitioners in contemporary opera at the Royal Opera House – and of course I’m excited about staging a new chamber opera performance at the culmination of the course”.
Already based in London, Luka is a graduate of Te Kōkī, the New Zealand School of Music, where he studied composition, conducting, and voice. He has twice been a finalist in the NZSO Todd Corporation Young Composer Awards, and in 2018 was the Overall Winner for his orchestral work Primeval Light. His 2019 work, ts’onot, was premiered with the NZSM Orchestra under his own direction. His works have been performed and recorded by the NZSO, workshopped by the New Zealand String Quartet, and performed by ensembles including period ensemble The Night Watch, the SMP Ensemble, and the choir of the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.
Tony Carr, the late Edwin Carr’s brother, says Luka is very deserving of the scholarship.
“The Carr family is delighted that Luka Venter is the recipient of the 2022 Edwin Carr Foundation Scholarship. Luka is a very impressive individual with an astonishing CV and is certainly worthy of our support. We are pleased the Scholarship will enable him to undertake further study at the Guildhall School of Music in London and support the Foundation’s objective of taking New Zealand music to the world”.
Established in 1985 with a bequest from the estate of the late Jack Wynnegate McGill, the Jack McGill Music Scholarship enables young music practitioners, primarily pianists, to undertake advanced studies or investigations into music overseas. In 2022 Charlotte Naden and Siyu Sun have received scholarships.
Charlotte Naden receives $6,000 towards her Master of Music in bassoon, which she is currently studying towards at Malmö Academy of Music, Lund University in Malmö, Sweden. Charlotte gratefully acknowledges that the financial support means she can fully focus on her studies and that she’s equipped for her degree.
“This scholarship means I can afford my living costs, as well as materials and tools for making bassoon reeds (an essential skill for double reed players!),” says Charlotte.
“I am enjoying the rich musical culture and history of Sweden, and this financial support will give me more freedom to immerse myself in the community and culture. It is an honour to receive the recognition through this scholarship, and I look forward to bringing my new skills, experience and inspiration home to New Zealand in the future!”
Charlotte is studying at Malmö Academy of Music with Annika Fredriksson. She graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Music (Honours) in 2020, and a Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Science conjoint in 2019, where she studied with Ben Hoadley. She has played both bassoon and contrabassoon with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra and is a regular player with the Malmö Akademiska Kör och Orkester.
Prior to relocating, Charlotte played with a number of groups including Bach Musica, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Young Achievers programme, Manukau Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Youth Orchestra and NZSO National Youth Orchestra. As a soloist, Charlotte has performed concertos with the Devonport Chamber Orchestra and Wairua Sinfonietta.
Siyu Sun receives $6,000 towards her Artist Diploma in piano from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Siyu says the scholarship enables her to dedicate time solely towards her studies.
“I am tremendously grateful for Creative New Zealand's support. The Artist Diploma programme will provide invaluable weekly lessons on solo piano and chamber music, professional guidance, masterclasses, and the performance opportunities I seek to launch my performing career in the UK and New Zealand. This year I plan to enter a larger number of international competitions and performance recitals and the diploma gives me the practical experiences to refine my playing and performance skills – and to become a well-rounded, imaginative and captivating artist.”
Siyu Sun is studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Professors Ronan O'Hora and Carole Presland. She previously studied in New Zealand under the tutelage of Associate Professor Rae de Lisle. Siyu has appeared as soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Wellington Chamber Orchestra. She has won numerous competitions, including the 2021 Guildhall Romantic Prize in London, Auckland Chamber Music Society Prize, and National Concerto 50th Anniversary Competition performing Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Recent awards include the Tait Memorial Prize for outstanding Australian/New Zealand musician in the Royal Over-Seas League International Competition finals, second prize in the 2021 Bromsgrove International Piano Competition, Merit Prize in the Tunbridge Wells International Competition, second prize in the Wallace National Piano Competition, and fourth prize in the Lev Vlassenko International Competition.
More than 100 Kiwi composers and musicians have been supported by Creative New Zealand music scholarships over the past 30+ years to pursue international professional development opportunities. As well as music scholarships, Creative New Zealand supports a wide range of classical and contemporary music projects through arts grants, special projects and investment programmes. This support totalled $14.8 million in the 2020/21 financial year, 19% of our total investment by artform.