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Art Music Awards

The Art Music Awards are presented each year by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and the Australian Music Centre to recognise achievement in the composition, performance, education and presentation of Australian music. The Art Music Awards consist of eleven national awards and various State Awards across categories covering composition, performance, and outstanding contributions by individuals and organisations in Australian music (now two separate Awards), in music education, experimental music, jazz and regional music.


2014 Art Music Awards

26 August 2014. Winners of this year's Art Music Awards have been announced at a gala event, held on Tuesday night in Melbourne. This year’s diverse list of winners features some of Australia’s finest artists. For details about all Award finalists, please see the news article on Resonate.

James Ledger received the Work of the Year: Orchestral Award for his violin concerto Golden Years (2013), commissioned and premiered by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, with Otto Tausk conducting and Margaret Blades as soloist.

Golden Years won the judges over with its inventive structure, instrumental colours and Ledger’s impressive writing for orchestra as well as for solo violin.

The award for Work of the Year: Vocal/Choral was presented to Andrew Ford for Last Words (2013) for soprano and piano trio. The work, premiered by Jane Sheldon and the Seraphim Trio, utilises last poems and deathbed utterances by writers and historical figures to create a beautiful and moving piece.

Mary Finsterer, received the Work of the Year: Instrumental Award for her large-scale piece Aerea (2013), commissioned by the Monash Art Ensemble and acclaimed by the judges as being ambitious and highly engaging.

Finsterer, like Andrew Ford, was a finalist in two separate Work of the year categories this year.

Paul Grabowsky was awarded in the Work of the Year: Jazz category for his work Tall Tales (2009) - a journey through three different types of musical language. The first movement of this work is inspired by the 'manikay' songforms of the Yolngu people of Northern Australia.

According to the judges, Tall Tales is a fine example of a sophisticated approach to large ensemble writing by an established jazz composer.

The Performance of the Year category was awarded to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, for Brett Dean and Graeme Ellis's The Last Days of Socrates (2012). This complex 55-minute piece was conducted by Simone Young with soloist Peter Coleman-Wright and featured large choirs, impressive percussive elements and offstage musicians and singers. The MSO Chorus Master Jonathan Grieves-Smith accepted the Award.

The Australian Art Orchestra took home the Award for Excellence by an Organisation, with their standout achievements in 2013, including diverse programs, cross-cultural collaborations and community engagement. This award was accepted via a recorded message from overseas by the AAO's Artistic Director Peter Knight.

Dr Catherine Crock’s series of CDs, the Hush Collection, brought her the Award for Excellence by an Individual. Music from the Hush collection is used in 12 children's hospitals and wards around Australia to support young patients and their families.

In 2013, the 13th volume in the collection featured the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra playing new orchestral works by twelve Australian composers, conducted by Benjamin Northey.

Soprano and experienced voice teacher Cathy Aggett won this year’s Award for Excellence in Music Education for her project to encourage Australian composers to write new repertoire for low voice. This initiative resulted in 21 new works, performed in concert at the XIX National ASME Conference in September 2013 and later published.

Fore more details about Aggett's project, see the two Anthologies: vol. 1 and vol. 2 (AMC Online).

Jazz pianists Alister Spence and Myra Melford (US) were recognised as winners of the Award for Excellence in Jazz for their series of piano duo improvisations Everything Here is Possible, recorded by the ABC in late 2012 during Melford's Australian tour.

The recipient of the Award for Excellence in Experimental Musicwas Perth composer Cat Hope, curator of the Drawn From Sound exhibition, showcasing Australian contemporary graphic notation practice. (Read Hope's article about creating her own graphic score on Resonate.)

The Award for Excellence in a Regional Area went to Goulburn Regional Conservatorium for The Goulburn Oratorio, a multi-layered composition by Stephen Leek incorporating the work of local poets, and involving a large choir and orchestra.

As announced earlier, conductor and music educator Richard Gill OAM was honoured as the 2014 recipient of the Distinguished Services to Australian Music Award. The award recognises his long and varied career spanning over 50 years.

Read a news article on Resonate for more details about this Award.

The Queensland State Award was awarded to Camerata of St John’s, for their perfomance as part of Natalie Weir and Expressions Dance Company's When Time Stops, to music by Iain Grandage. Artistic director Brendan Joyce (pictured left) accepted the award for his ensemble.

The Western Australian State Award went to Tura New Music for their outstanding 2013 program in the category of Excellence by an Organisation.

Judith Clingan AM won the ACT State Award in the category Excellence by an Individual for 'So Good A Thing' Festival, celebrating 50 years of music making in Canberra (read flutist Sally Walker's article on Resonate blog about the event), while the New South Wales State Award went to Kim Waldock from Sydney Symphony Orchestra in the category Excellence in Music Education.

Arts Centre Melbourne received the Victorian State Award for composer development project 5x5x5 in the Excellence by an Organisation category (for an article about this year's instalment of 5x5x5, read this article on Resonate). The South Australian State Award was taken out by Jason Sweeney for 'Stereopublic: Crowdsourcing the Quiet' in the category of Excellence in Experimental Music.

The Tasmanian State Award was given to Michael Kieran Harvey for his performance of Elliott Gyger’s solo piano work Inferno in the Performance of the Year category. Gyger's work was also one of the finalists in the Work of the Year: Instrumental Music category.

The evening's music program was curated by recorder virtuoso and artistic director Genevieve Lacey and included performances by the Australian National Academy of Music Orchestra accompanying Nigel Westlake & Lior (pictured left) in an extract from their work Compassion - a finalist in the Work of the Year: Orchestral. Paul Grabowsky teamed up with Gian Slater and the Invenio Singers, and Speak Percussion performed a dynamic rendition of Matthew Shlomowitz’s Popular Contexts Vol 6.  Neil Kelly and Michael Hewes took to the stage prior to concert pianist Tamara Anna Cislowska’s moving tribute to the late Peter Sculthorpe.

APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre would like to congratulate all winners on their outstanding achievements.


2014 Art Music Awards - winners

Work of the Year: Instrumental

Title: Aerea
Composer: Mary Finsterer

Work of the Year: Orchestral

Title: Golden Years
Composer: James Ledger

Work of the Year: Vocal/Choral

Title: Last Words
Composer: Andrew Ford
Text: Tim Winton, Dorothy Porter, et al.

Work of the Year: Jazz

Title: Tall Tales
Composer:  Paul Grabowsky
Publisher: J Albert & Son Pty Ltd

Performance of the Year

Performer: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Simone Young, soloist Peter Coleman-Wright
Title: The Last Days of Socrates
Composer: Brett Dean with text by Graeme Ellis

Award for Excellence by an Organisation

Australian Art Orchestra for touring, community building, recording, creativity & leadership.

Award for Excellence by an Individual

Catherine Crock for The Hush Collection, Volumes 1-13

Award for Excellence in Music Education

Cathy Aggett for new Australian art songs for low voice

Award for Excellence in a Regional Area

Goulburn Regional Conservatorium for The Goulburn Oratorio

Award for Excellence in Experimental Music

Cat Hope for Drawn From Sound exhibition

Award for Excellence in Jazz

Alister Spence and Myra Melford for Everything Here Is Possible

Distinguished Services to Australian Music

Richard Gill OAM

State Awards

Queensland State Award
Performer: Camerata of St John’s with Natalie Weir and Expressions Dance Company
Title: When Time Stops
Composer: Iain Grandage
Category: Performance Of The Year

Victorian State Award
Arts Centre Melbourne for 5x5x5
Category: Excellence by an Organisation

West Australian State Award
Tura New Music for 2013 Program
Category: Excellence by an Organisation

ACT State Award
Judith Clingan AM for 'So Good A Thing' Festival, celebrating 50 Years of music making in Canberra
Category: Excellence By an Individual

New South Wales State Award
Kim Waldock from Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Category: Excellence In Music Education

South Australian State Award
Jason Sweeney for Stereopublic: Crowdsourcing the Quiet
Category: Excellence In Experimental Music

Tasmanian State Award
Performer: Michael Kieran Harvey
Title: Inferno
Composer: Elliott Gyger
Category: Performance Of The Year


About the Awards

The yearly Art Music Awards consist of eleven national Awards and a varying number of State Awards. The national awards are presented in categories covering, among others, composition (four Work of the Year awards), performance, music education, regional music, experimental music and jazz. Nominations are accepted by APRA and AMC members.

> Rules and guidelines (2014 Art Music Awards)


National Awards

Eleven national Art Music Awards are open for nominations from members of the Australian Music Centre and APRA, as well as industry organisations and companies such as educational institutions, broadcasters, retail outlets, recording studios and promoters: Work of the Year (orchestral; instrumental; vocal; jazz), Performance of the Year, Award for Excellence by an Individual, Award for Excellence by an Organisation, Award for Excellence in Music Education, Award for Excellence in a Regional Area, Award for Excellence in Experimental Music (for works, people or events) and award for Excellence in Jazz (for works, people or events). An additional category is awarded at the discretion of the Board of Directors of APRA and AMC for Distinguished Services to Australian Music.


State/Territory Awards

For each State or Territory, one Award is given from one of the following categories: Work of the Year (orchestral; instrumental; vocal; jazz), Performance of the Year, Award for Excellence by an Individual, Award for Excellence by an Organisation, Award for Excellence in Music Education, Award for Excellence in a Regional Area, Award for Excellence in Experimental Music (for works, people or events), award for Excellence in Jazz (for works, people or events).