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22 July 2008

2008 Classical Music Awards - Winners

2008 Classical Music Awards - Winners

The 2008 Classical Music Awards

The Australian music industry tonight celebrated the success of this year’s most outstanding Australian classical music achievements at the 2008 Classical Music Awards. The Awards were presented by APRA and the Australian Music Centre, at The Playhouse, Sydney Opera House.

Australian jazz pioneer, Judy Bailey, received the award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music. This prestigious award recognises her enormous contribution to Australian new music through her role as a mentor, composer and educator. A brilliant musician and musical director, Judy has played an instrumental role in the development of contemporary jazz in Australia and the fusion of the classical and jazz genres.

A founding teacher in jazz studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music – where she still teaches today – and Musical Director of the Sydney Youth Jazz Ensemble, Judy is a passionate and active member of the Australian new music community. Judy Bailey’s Jazz Connection is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the provision of high quality education and training in jazz for youth, ensuring that the craft of musical improvisation is alive and well in a whole new generation of musicians. Honouring their mentor, Jazz Connection performed two of Judy’s compositions to close the Awards ceremony, held at the Playhouse Theatre of the Sydney Opera House.

Dick Letts’s distinguished career as an arts manager and advocate of Australian music was recognised with the presentation of the Long-Term Contribution to the Advancement of Australian Music. Founder of the Music Council of Australia, and current President of the International Music Council, Dick is also the former director of the Australian Music Centre.

Colin Bright picked up the award for Best Composition by an Australian Composer for his dramatic work The Last Whale; a topical piece that connects recorded whale sounds with live instrumental and vocal ensemble. Performed by The Song Company in 2007, the musical material ranges from liturgical Dies Irae choruses to contemporary beat-driven music. The lyrics combine scientific reports on whale extinction with liturgical text from the Requiem Mass.

While three of the finalists for Best Performance of an Australian Composition were in prestigious international concerts, the winners wove their magic on home soil. Clarinetist Catherine McCorkill and the Australia Ensemble took out this award for a performance of Nigel Westlake’s Rare Sugar. Westlake – who composed the piece specifically for McCorkill and the Ensemble – infused the work with playfulness and jazz-like qualities. The judges were particularly impressed by McCorkill’s virtuosic display in this technically demanding work.

New music in the West is thriving, thanks to the festival and touring program of Tura New Music, winner of the Outstanding Contribution by an Organisation Award. Over 17 great days, the 2007 Festival included 52 premieres of new music and 89 Australian works in 45 concerts. Concerts in remote communities were an important part of the festival, which also included a two day conference exploring the relationship between the sound and visual worlds.

Two of the three prestigious Work of the Year awards were ethereally inspired: Ross Edwards and Fred Watson for Symphony No. 4 ‘Star Chant’ won the vocal/choral award; and Stuart Greenbaum took out the orchestral award for 90 Minutes Circling the Earth, a work inspired by observations made by astronauts from various countries, on how the Earth looks from outer space.

The award for Instrumental Work of the Year went to jazz pianist and composer Mark Isaacs for Walk a Golden Mile, a work inspired by and recorded in another star-filled place – Hollywood!

Hosted by Australia's favourite ‘Mother of Ceremonies’ Julia Lester, presenter of Classic Drive on ABC Classic FM – the 2008 Awards also featured performances by Mark Isaacs, The Song Company and Windstrokes William Barton, Claire Edwardes, Iain Grandage and Mel Robinson. Eleven national and various state awards were presented by industry luminaries such as CEO of Sydney Opera House, Richard Evans, Prof. Emeritus Roger Covell, Kathy Keele and James Strong of the Australia Council, distinguished composer Barry Conyngham, President of SIMA Peter Rechniewski, as well as music entrepreneur and winner of the 2007 Distinguished Services to Australian Music award, Belinda Webster.


*2008 WINNERS*
Judged by a panel of leading composers, performers, musicologists, educators and critics, APRA and the Australian Music Centre proudly announce the following national winners for the 2008 Classical Music Awards:

Vocal or Choral Work of the Year
Title: Symphony No. 4 Star Chant
Composers: Ross Edwards and Fred Watson
Performed by: Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Richard Mills (conductor)
Adelaide Chamber Singers, Carl Crossin (director)
Adelaide Philharmonia Chorus, Timothy Seton (director)
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing MGB Australia on behalf of G Ricordi and Co (London) Ltd.

Orchestral Work of the Year,
Title: 90 Minutes Circling the Earth
Composer: Stuart Greenbaum
Performed by: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Brett Kelly (conductor)

Instrumental Work of the Year
Title: Walk a Golden Mile
Composer: Mark Isaacs
Performed by: Mark Isaacs (piano), James Muller (electric & acoustic guitars), Jay Anderson (acoustic bass), Vinni Colaiuta (drums), Bob Sheppard (soprano, alto & tenor saxophones)

Best Performance of an Australian Composition
Performer: The Australia Ensemble and soloist Catherine McCorkill (clarinetist)
Title: Rare Sugar
Composer: Nigel Westlake

Best Composition by an Australian Composer
Title: The Last Whale
Composer: Colin Bright

Outstanding Contribution to Australian Music in Education
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's Community Outreach program, ArtPlay and music theatre project the Hunger

Outstanding Contribution to Australian Music in a Regional Area
Australian Voices Festival in 2007 held in Kenilworth, Queensland

Outstanding Contribution by an Individual
Ian Munro for his contribution to Australian performance and composition in 2007

Outstanding Contribution by an Organisation
Tura New Music for its 2007 festival and touring program, and its advocacy and support in Western Australia.

Long-Term Contribution to the Advancement of Australian Music
Richard Letts

Distinguished Services to Australian Music
Judy Bailey


* The 2008 Classical Music Award State/Territory winners are:
Australian Capital Territory State Award
The ACT panel has selected Nicole Canham, Artistic Director, and Pro Musica Inc, for the 2007 Canberra International Music Festival. The panel would like to especially cite the Artistic Director in the award, recognising her role as the driving force in developing the Festival's vision and broadening its community of interest and participation, as well as promoting the performance of new repertoire and building a significant education program.

New South Wales State Award
The New South Wales panel has selected Damien Ricketson's, So We Begin Afresh. The work is indicative of the composer's enquiring mind. The piece is about imagination and this is achieved in an exciting way both intellectually and aurally. It employs an interesting underlying structural technique and overall illustrates the high quality of his compositional craft and confirms his individual creative voice.

Queensland State Awards
Stephen Leek’s work Cries and Whispers impressed the panel as an outstanding work as did his overall contribution and commitment to the community. It is well-crafted, especially suited to the peculiarities of the vocal medium, indicative of a vivid creative imagination and is a thoroughly engaging and professional rendering of the text. Stephen Leek has contributed a great deal to musical life in Queensland and this award not only recognises his ability as a composer, but also acknowledges this sustained commitment.

Victorian State Award
The Victorian panel has selected Mark Pollard for his Long-term contribution to the advancement of Australian music in Victoria over the past 27 years; as a musician, composer and educator. Mark’s compositional output has explored many different genres and he has worked across genres with other artists including film makers, actors, directors, choreographers, dancers and curators of community activities. His work as an educator spans two decades and he has contributed to curriculum development and promotion of composition as a lecturer, external adviser and committee member at a state and national level.

West Australian State Award
The West Australian panel has unanimously selected Tura New Music for the 2008 State Award. Tura New Music not only recognises and encourages the work of adventurous Australian composers and those from elsewhere, but also offers local musicians opportunities for performance that they might otherwise not have enjoyed. Tura New Music is organised most efficiently and with professional skill and enthusiasm.

• State/Territory Awards for SA and NT were not awarded this year.


Further links

The Australian Music Centre (www.amcoz.com.au) connects people around the world to Australian composers and sound artists. By facilitating the performance, awareness and appreciation of music by these creative artists, it aims to increase their profile and the sustainability of their art form. Established in 1974, the AMC is now the leading provider of information, resources, materials and products relating to Australian new music.


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