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Paul Lowin Prize 2016


Lachlan Skipworth and Brett Dean
© Andrew Ford

The winning composers and works of the 2016 Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize and the Paul Lowin Song Cycle Prize have been announced in Sydney on Tuesday evening 6 December 2016.

A first-time Lowin finalist, the Western Australian composer Lachlan Skipworth took home the $25,000 Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize for his Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (2014). Fellow finalists James Ledger and Cathy Milliken received a special commendation and the sum of $400 each.

Brett Dean was announced as the winner of the $15,000 Song Cycle Prize for his String Quartet No. 2 ‘And once I played Ophelia’ (2013) for soprano and string quartet. The two commended finalists ($400) in this category were Andrew Ford and Andrew Schultz.

Lachlan Skipworth (b. 1982) is one of several strong composers to emerge from Western Australia in recent years. After training initially as a clarinettist, Skipworth spent three years in Japan immersed in the study of the shakuhachi. On returning to Australia, he continued to develop and refine his original compositional language. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Western Australia, where he studied with Roger Smalley, and a Master of Music (Composition) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he studied with Anne Boyd. The performance of his Lowin-winning work by clarinettist Ashley William Smith and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra won the Performance of the Year category in the 2015 Art Music Awards.

The Lowin Prize jury said of Skipworth’s Concerto: Highly accomplished, evocative work with virtuosic writing for the clarinet... An idiosyncratic work with the very individual voice of the composer coming through.

Brett Dean (b. 1961) is a leading Australian composer of his generation, with major works commissioned and performed by numerous international orchestras. His many awards include the coveted international Grawemeyer Award (2009), Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize (2006) and Song Cycle Prize (2001), and many Art Music Awards and Classical Music Awards, among others.

Dean studied in Brisbane before moving to Germany in 1984 where he was a permanent member of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, as a violist, for over 15 years. Dean began composing in 1988, initially working on film, radio and improvisatory projects. Today he is also known as a conductor and champion of his fellow composers’ work.

The Lowin Prize jury said of Dean’s winning work: This intensely dramatic work was a standout for the judges... A compelling and exciting work, it pins the listener to the wall from the outset with its extraordinary high tessitura, virtuosic vocal line and demanding string writing.

The 2016 Paul Lowin Prizes attracted the largest number of entries in the competition’s history, with 67 entries for the Orchestral category, and 59 for the Song Cycle category. Previous winners include Nigel Westlake, Elliott Gyger, Mary Finsterer, Andrew Schultz, Brett Dean, Rosalind Page, Nigel Butterley, Julian Yu, Georges Lentz, Brenton Broadstock, Martin Wesley-Smith, Michael Smetanin, Raffæle Marcellino, Liza Lim and Andrew Ford.

Jury members in 2016 were Liz Terracini (Chair), Clive Birch, Jessica Cottis, Rowena Cowley, Elliott Gyger, Graeme Jennings, Glenda Keam, Merlyn Quaife and Ronald Vermeulen.

The Paul Lowin Prizes are managed by Perpetual and presented in collaboration with the Australian Music Centre.


Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize ($25,000)

Winner: Lachlan Skipworth: Concerto for clarinet and orchestra
Highly commended: James Ledger: Golden years; Cathy Milliken: Earth Plays I-IV

Paul Lowin Song Cycle Prize ($15,000)

Winner: Brett Dean: String Quartet No. 2 ‘And once I played Ophelia’ for soprano and string quartet
Highly commended: Andrew Ford: Last Words; Andrew Schultz: Paradise

See also 'Shortlisted works for the 2016 Paul Lowin Prizes' - an article on Resonate (14 November 2016)


Perpetual logo with text Funded by the Paul Lowin Trust, managed by Perpetual