Courtenay Cleary recently graduated with a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School in New York where she studied with violin Professor Naoko Tanaka. During her time at Juilliard she was awarded the M. & E. Cohen Scholarship and the Charles H. Bechter Scholarship, and was a finalist in the 2020 violin concerto competition. She received her Bachelor of Music degree with first-class honours from the Royal Academy of Music in London where she studied with professor Maureen Smith. In 2017 Courtenay performed as a soloist for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and other distinguished guests at Westminster Abbey for the Royal Commonwealth Service. This was broadcast live on BBC television. In 2018 Courtenay again performed for the HM the Queen at Buckingham Palace for the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. During her time in London, she has performed as a soloist at prestigious venues including the Wigmore Hall, St James’ Piccadilly, the Regent Hall and Colston Hall. She recently performed Margaret Sutherland’s Violin Concerto with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Brisbane’s Corda Spiritus, gave the Australian premiere of David Lang’s Mystery Sonatas in Brisbane, as well as two solo recitals in the Queensland Performing Arts Centre Concert Hall. She is a Tait Memorial Trust and ABRSM scholar, and was recently awarded the Dame Joan Sutherland Award from the American Australian Association and the Guy Parsons Award from the Portland House and Australian Music Foundations. Courtenay was recently awarded a full tuition scholarship to undertake her Doctor of Philosophy in contemporary violin music at the University of Queensland. She is a member of the violin teaching faculty at both the University of Queensland and Griffith University’s Young Conservatorium Programme.
Courtenay was a member of the Patronus Quartet who in 2015 progressed to the semi-final of the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. She has performed at many international festivals including Tallinn Music Week, the Melbourne Festival, the Aldeburgh Festival, Prussia Cove and the Juilliard Chamber Music Festival. She has performed in masterclasses for esteemed artists including Julian Rachlin, Tasmin Little, Daniel Hope, the St Lawrence String Quartet, and the Borodin Quartet, from whom her own quartet received a letter of recommendation for the MICMC.
Courtenay studied at the Australian National Academy of Music from 2012-2014 with William Hennessy. During her time at the academy she played alongside many visiting artists including the Brodsky Quartet, Brett Dean, Michael Collins, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, The Aurora Orchestra, Anthony Marwood, Dale Barltrop and was concertmaster of the ANAM orchestra under the direction of Simone Young, James Judd and Nicholas Carter.
In 2011 Courtenay studied under the direction of Associate Professor Patricia Pollett at the University of Queensland. During this time she was concertmaster of the University of Queensland Chamber and Symphony Orchestras and was finalist in the university’s Bach Prize and The Howard and Gladys Sleath Prize for Strings. She was the recipient of the Sleath String Scholarship for outstanding students and was a winner of the Sid Paige & Musica Viva/4MBS Chamber Music Prize.
Courtenay Cleary’s appearance in the 2023 Brisbane Music Festival is supported by Lynne + Graeme Cannell.