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21 August 2015

APRA's Art Music Fund to commission new works by Australian and NZ composers

APRA's Art Music Fund to commission new works by Australian and NZ composers

Three new funding opportunities have been launched by APRA AMCOS to provide much-needed support for classical, jazz and experimental composers. The largest of these is the APRA AMCOS Art Music Fund, with an ambitious objective of commissioning up to eight new Australian or New Zealand major classical works. The fund will invest $100,000 in its first year, with an intention to expand as partners come on board with matched funding.

The initiative has been under discussion for some time, said Nigel Westlake, composer, APRA Writer Board Member and chair of the Australian Music Centre Board of Directors.

'The APRA board has long recognised the influence of the Australian art music sector toward the creation of innovative and vibrant works, and acknowledges the need to nurture and embrace this contribution toward a healthy ecosystem, thereby promoting a diverse and fertile foundation for musical practice in Australia.'

'By working with a variety of institutions and individuals to leverage this contribution into a much greater pool of money, APRA AMCOS hopes to be able to make a significant difference to the output of new Australian art music in all its diversity. It is our objective to see new works created from this fund disseminated as widely as possible amongst audiences in Australia and around the world'.

Westlake quoted a recent speech, given at the 2015 Art Music Awards ceremony by composer Larry Sitsky AM: 'In the words of Professor Larry Sitsky "Music is a defining cultural emblem of a nation, but it needs nurturing if it is to develop, and not become a museum art".'

An Art Music Fund advisory group will be established in the coming months to create guidelines for the commissioning process, and 2016 will see the development of multiple compositions and the ensuing performances.

Also announced today was a partnership with Sounds Australia assisting Australian artists attending Classical: NEXT in the Netherlands in 2016, as part of APRA's commitment to exploring new market opportunities internationally.

The third in the new series of initiatives is financial support to a national artist residency program, the Prelude Project. For the last 20 years, many Australian composers have benefited from the philanthropy of the late composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks and the Paddington house she bequeathed as a 'composers' haven.' Gallop House in Western Australia will join the program in mid-2016 and, by 2020, the Prelude Project, backed by APRA AMCOS and others, aims to have an artist residence in each state and territory. International exchanges with other composer houses and links with adjacent education institutions are also slated for the Prelude Project.

> A news article on the APRA homepage.


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