The Australasian Performing Right Association has given eight promising young Australian musicians a leg-up with its biennial Professional Development Award. The winners were announced on March 14 at a ceremony in Sydney. Among these rising stars, selected from a record number of almost 2,500 entrants, were composer Alex Pozniakin the Classical category, whose award was presented by Nigel Westlake; Melbourne pianist Timothy Stevens(Jazz) and film composer Caitlin Yeo(Film and Television).

The winner in each category receives a substantial prize package valued at $25,000, comprising the opportunity to travel and study in their chosen field, recording session time and a digital distribution deal through ABC Music (Classical and Jazz) and MGM (Film and Television), as well as computer and music equipment from Apple and Roland and $12,000 cash – an enviable starter kit for any emerging artist.

A former student of Matthew Hindson and a composition graduate from the Sydney Conservatorium, Pozniak says he plans to use the funds to take part in prestigious composer summer schools overseas. “My story has been about being involved in workshops. The best way for a composer to learn is through other composers’ perspectives, feedback...