In February, cellist Mee Na Lojewski and violist Katie Yap commenced as the inaugural Ian Potter Emerging Performers Fellows.

The Fellowships are a joint initiative of The Ian Potter Cultural Trust and the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) to support ANAM alumni in pursuing performance careers outside the traditional full-time orchestral teaching pathways. The Ian Potter Emerging Performers Fellowship Program will award two Fellowships annually until 2028 (a total of 10 Fellowships).

Each Fellowship provides $100,000 and mentoring support over two years—an investment in the Fellow's career development as an independent performance practitioner. 

Woman playing viola.

Fellow Katie Yap. Image: Grant Leslie.

Fellow Katie Yap is a violist, curator, and composer based in Nipaluna/Hobart whose performance practice spans modern classical, contemporary, and historically informed baroque music. Yap is a core member of several chamber music groups, including Van Diemen's Band, Wattleseed Ensemble, Croissants & Whiskey, and the Gryphon Baryton Trio.

Yap shared that the Fellowship is supporting her to embrace new opportunities, saying, "In February, I moved to Hobart to work more closely with Van Diemen's Band, both in playing and in my role as Artistic Coordinator. I am excited to be dipping my toes into assisting with the curation of some programs! I have also joined Van Diemen's Fiddles, and we are working on a large conceptual project that hasn't yet been announced, so watch this space!"

She is also using the Fellowship to continue honing her craft on the viola and viola-adjacent instruments.

"I want to step sideways from standard classical viola playing, exploring open tunings (alternate tunings), which can provide rich harmonic possibilities and a great deal of resonance. I have commissioned the Swedish luthier Olle Plahn to make me an octave nyckelharpa, which is a Swedish keyed fiddle at cello range, with sympathetic strings that make it a very striking-sounding instrument."

Through the Fellowship, Yap is being mentored by Michaela Coventry, a creative producer whose experience spans 25 years and all art forms.

"With her, I hope to gain insight and skills in crafting a sustainable rhythm and direction for my career, knowing when to say yes and when to say no, and developing advocacy and communication skills."

Woman playing cello.

Fellow Mee Na Lojewski. Image: Alfredo Casarola.

Fellow Mee Na Lojewski is a cellist and the Founder and Director of Affinity Quartet, an acclaimed string quartet based in Melbourne.  

Supported by the Fellowship, Lojewski is working to increase her professional opportunities through the Affinity Quartet and to expand recognition of Australian chamber music internationally and locally.

"The fellowship enables me to throw myself into the daily work of developing Affinity Quartet's programs as its artistic leader and performing cellist."

"My dream is to build a successful professional string quartet that sustains a long and rewarding career. My practice involves developing the quartet's programs, advocating for its future, and researching to better understand the chamber music ecosystem around me in Australia. I hope to contribute to the history of string quartet playing in Australia and to cultivate a wider appreciation for this art form."

Through the Fellowship, Lojewski is being mentored by Megan Steller, a UK-based Australian arts agent and writer.

"In chamber music, and especially for a string quartet, Australia's relationship to the international community needs to stay informed, relevant and well-represented so that we can shape something enduring and inspiring as Australian musicians. Musicians rely on skilled managers and administrators, and we often take their work for granted. A string quartet's success relies at least 50% on what happens before and beyond the concerts themselves. Megan gives me valuable feedback and insights on many aspects of my creative endeavour."