'New' alumnus wins prestigious Fulbright postgraduate award
Former New Collegian Leah Curtis has won a 2005 Fulbright Postgraduate Student Award, she joins the ranks of nineteen distinguished Australians to become a Fulbright Scholar this year. Leah Curtis was a resident at New College from 1996 to 1997. While a student she studied a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Education graduating in 1999.
[The Fulbright Scholarship] will be an active professional experience that will allow the further advancing of my skills as a composer and musician, and enable incredible creative collaborations as well as mentoring from leaders of the profession”, Leah said. Leah will take up the position of Visiting Researcher in Music at the University of Southern California Los Angeles (USC) studying music composition. Leah also holds a Graduate Diploma in Film and Television Scoring from the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). An established composer, Leah has worked on many commissions including an orchestral work for the Australia Council for the Arts, as well as many concert works, drama, animation and documentary film. Leah’s research will focus on music composition, orchestration, conducting as well as composing for cinema, allowing a comparison in styles, techniques and processes of the two countries. The Fulbright Award will also enable her to advance and extend her composition skills into new styles and formats through the Masters of Arts Honours Program at the Australian Film Television and Radio School and as Visiting Researcher at USC. The skills that Leah learns at USC will form part of her MA (Hons) at AFTRS. Upon returning to Australia, Leah will impart her knowledge and experiences through guest lecturing at a Universities, and through the development of music scores. She will also incorporate selected U.S. scoring techniques into her concert and film works, recording sessions and performances. Leah hopes her study will positively contribute to Australia’s music culture. She intends to expose American audiences to Australian music and therefore encourage intercultural collaborations between Australia and the U.S. Leah’s achievements include the Queens Trust Award, the Reg Waite Award for Young Australian Achievers, winning the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Composer Dialogue Competition, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Film Scoring Workshop and the BMI & UCLA Jerry Goldsmith Film Scoring Scholarship. Leah’s debut Symphony premiered in 2004 at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. Her symphony also formed the soundtrack for the Australian landscape photography book Australia: Facing the South, confirming Leah’s potential as a leading Australian composer. The Fulbright scholarship was created by Senator J. William Fulbright and the U.S. Government in 1946. Aimed at promoting mutual understanding through educational exchange, it operates between the U.S. and 150 other nations. To find out more visit the Australian-American Fulbright Commission website.