Queensland Conservatorium doctoral candidate Cathy Milliken has won a prestigious Australia Council Fellowship, which will fund an international research project into participatory music-making.

The musician and composer nabbed the Australia Council’s major award, worth $80,000 over two years.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Doctoral candidate Cathy Milliken

The highly sought-after fellowship is awarded to artists who are recognised for excellence in their practice at a local and international level.

“I’m deeply grateful to the Australia Council for this wonderful opportunity,” Cathy said.

The fellowship will allow Cathy to pursue an international project which is the focus of her Doctor of Musical Arts at the Queensland Conservatorium. She will use the funding to bring together community choirs across Europe to create a new version of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy to mark the composer’s 250th birthday in 2020.

A remarkable career

Cathy completed her undergraduate studies at the Queensland Conservatorium, majoring in piano and oboe before settling in Berlin, where she helped found acclaimed contemporary group, Ensemble Modern. She has collaborated with the world’s top composers and conductors, including avant garde musical legends like Frank Zappa and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Cathy was also Director of the Education Program of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, before deciding to return to Australia to undertake a Doctor of Musical Arts, under the supervision of Professor Vanessa Tomlinson.

Coming full circle

“I did all of my undergraduate studies here, so it was natural to return,” she said.

“I think all of Australia looks to the Queensland Conservatorium as this amazing place that continues to go from strength to strength.

“I know I felt so well prepared for a career in music after graduating from the Con.”

Worthy winners

Professor Gemma Carey

Queensland Conservatorium Adjunct Research Fellow Dr Erik Grisworld and alumnus Peter Knight also picked up Australia Council grants for a major new performance work and solo album.

Queensland Conservatorium Acting Director Gemma Carey congratulated all of the recipients on their outstanding achievements.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it is fantastic to see our lecturers, students and alumni receive recognition on the national stage,” she said.