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2017 Professional Development Awards Recipients

Story Published Friday 28 July 2017
2017 Professional Development Award recipients

Classical: Clovis McEvoy

“Clovis McEvoy is a man with a mission, a zealous and daring young artist with his finger on the pulse of the sonic art zeitgeist. His solid track record and future plans, especially in the burgeoning world of virtual reality, tick all the boxes of the Professional Development Award with a flourish.”

Clovis is a 29 year old composer from Auckland, who specialises in sound design for film and gaming, and live electronics, as well as being particularly interested in integrating virtual reality environments and electroacoustic art.

A lecturer at the Auckland University School of Music, Clovis has many fascinating projects and awards in his CV. He has been commissioned to write works for the APO, NZ Trio, a variety of theatre and fringe festival works, and several of his electro-acoustic works have been presented internationally, including at festivals in New York and Switzerland.

Clovis will be using the PDA to help him travel to Paris, France for the annual Manifeste Academy at IRCAM (Institute for Research and Coordination of Acoustics and Music), and to Nagoya, Japan for the EMS (Electronic Music Network) Conference.

Each conference will help him with three major musical works he is currently developing:

- An unorthodox piece for the NZ Trio, which will have the performers shifting within the space of Silo6, while audience members also move around and experience the piece from different acoustic angles.

- An audio-visual installation which will create an immersive 360-degree world of music, utilising virtual reality technology. Sonic elements will also have physical forms, which the audience can interact with, and the theme of the piece will be based around the looming threat of ecological devastation from climate change. This will be exhibited at the Gus Fisher Gallery in Auckland and be part of the New Zealand Festival in Wellington.

- A sound sculpture which addresses the issues of memory, memory loss, aging, and the treatment of the elderly, which is based on a collection of memories and stories which Clovis will glean by carrying out interviews at retirement villages.

“This year is an extremely significant one for me as a composer and researcher. By the end of 2017 I will have represented New Zealand at highly regarded institutions in both Paris and Nagoya. The Manifeste Academy at IRCAM has allowed me to work with internationally renowned composers and educators during a practically focused masterclass on composing for acoustic instruments and live electronics.

“At the EMS Conference I will be presenting my research into virtual reality environments and electro-acoustic art music in front of a panel of international scholars. Their feedback and insights will be invaluable to my further work in this rapidly developing field.

“As the only New Zealander in attendance at either event I am honoured to receive the support of APRA through their Professional Development Award. This grant will allow me to make two trips to opposite sides of the globe in an extremely tight timeframe, something I simply would not have been able to fund myself. The cutting-edge knowledge and experience I will bring back with me will be critical in informing my artistic practice in the future.”

Pop Contemporary: Chelsea Metcalf

“The panel feels that Chelsea is on the precipice of great things. She appears to be moving from being solely a writer/performer to a writer who can also write successfully for others. She has a great knack for hooks and a playful way with words. We wish her mega success!”

Originally from Auckland, 28 year old pop artist Chelsea Metcalf has been performing and releasing music since 2007, in various incarnations including Teacups (folk trio), and art school dream-pop project Watercolours.

She now goes under the moniker Chelsea Jade, and has moved to Los Angeles to further pursue a full time career in songwriting, both for herself and for others, exploring the world of top-lining, and working with different collaborators and producers.

Chelsea has had plenty of success working independently, with various songs synchronised for ad campaigns, an impressive list of EPs released, winning the Critics Choice Award in 2012, and earning herself a place at the prestigious Red Bull Academy in Tokyo in 2014.

The contacts she made through these various endeavours with producers and songwriters like Fred Gibson and Dre Skull led to a pitch for a song on Rihanna’s record. It also brought her to the attention of Canadian EDM producer Attlas, for whom she has written two very popular singles (more than 6 million Spotify streams each).

She has also been co-writing with a long list of other artists, working with management groups Young & Vicious and Pulse Music Group, and making the most of the connections she made during the 2017 APRA Songhubs program in Auckland.

Chelsea plans to use the PDA to pursue various collaborative and educational opportunities, including travelling to New York for writing sessions and meetings with Emily Warren, Dre Skull, Soren Bryce, and Republic Records, writing sessions with Brad Hale and KC Dalager in Minnesota, and attending the Banff Musicians in residence program in Canada in November.

“Running solely on my own impetus within the song-writing industry in Los Angeles has helped to accelerate my writing to a prolific point, allowing me the confidence to write not only for my own project, but for other developing artists.

“With the PDA grant I will be enabled to expand upon the foundations I have laid over the past year by facilitating my attendance at song-writing camps around the world over the coming year.”

Film and Television: Claire Cowan

“Claire's work stands out for its originality and consistent high quality, and her professional trajectory for the last many years has been conspicuous for the energy and dedication that she brings to it. She moves effortlessly between seemingly disparate musical worlds. Clare is a musical wonder, a gem - a oncer. She thoroughly deserves this award.”

Excelling as both a multi-instrumentalist and composer, 33 year old Aucklander Claire Cowan has been playing piano and cello since childhood, and discovered her love of writing soundtracks at the age of 13, falling in love with the idea of combining storytelling and composing, a radical orchestral project designed to connect new audiences and draw a bridge between contemporary and classical music.

Cowan has collaborated on scores for Red Leap Theatre, Auckland Theatre Company, Touch Compass, and Thread Theatre’s production The Keepers where her composition was nominated for a Chapman Tripp award for best original music.

Her TV scoring credits include Waitangi, Billy, The Women’s Vote, and Hillary. And she has also written commercial music for clients such as Sealord, Air New Zealand, Tower Insurance and Nautilus Estate. Her film music has been heard in the NZIFF and many international festivals, her piece ‘Subtle Dances’ co-commissioned by NZ Trio remains their most performed commission, and as an orchestral arranger Claire has worked with many of NZ’s leading pop talent including Julia Deans, Anna Coddington, Anika Moa, Dave Dobbyn, The Modern Maori Quartet, Tama Waipara, The Adults, Jon Toogood, Ria Hall, and Bic Runga.

She is currently working on a short film soundtrack for Mark Prebble, several string arrangements for the artist This Pale Fire and beginning to score a telemovie for TVNZ titled Kiwi. She is also planning a tribute concert for November with Blackbird Ensemble celebrating Björk.

The PDA will allow Claire to travel to Europe and attend the annual Soundtrack Cologne conference for music in film. The conference has a professional angle, and a competitive element, which Claire plans to enter. The conference focuses on workshop talks and masterclasses on the topics of composing for Games, Film and TV, all held by well-experienced and established composers.

The award will also allow her to travel to Los Angeles and Berlin, to meet with composers and mentors including Mark Petrie and Christian Biegai.

“I’m looking forward to embarking on exciting travels to Europe to attend SoundTrack Cologne, the premiere European film-scoring event. There I will have opportunities to attend masterclasseswith the world's best film composers and meet other composers from around the world.

“I will then spend some time in Europe receiving mentorship from film composers based there. Later on I also plan to visit LA for further study and mentorship in the Hollywood scene. This PDA award will allow me to spend time refining and strengthening my craft by putting me in a place to be able to meet and learnfrom the best in the industry.”