11 August 2015
2015 Art Music Awards - winners
© APRA AMCOS / Tony Mott
[Updated 13 August - panelists] An outstanding group of individuals and organisations have been announced as winners of the 2015 Art Music Awards at a ceremony held at Sydney's City Recital Hall on Tuesday evening. The yearly gala event, organised once more by the Australian Music Centre and APRA AMCOS, celebrated the achievement and creative success of composers, performers and practitioners in the genres of contemporary art music, jazz and experimental music. (For details of shortlisted artists and works, see this article.)
The list of winners includes both emerging and established names, with Brett Dean again taking home one of the coveted Work of the Year Awards. His masterly trumpet concerto Dramatis Personae was selected by the judging panel as the winner of the Orchestral Work of the Year category. 'This imaginative masterpiece grips the listener's attention throughout. The far-reaching expressive range, stretching the virtuoso soloist, and magnificent orchestration demonstrating the composer's continually evolving technique and command of form, make this an exciting and moving experience', was the judges' verdict.
The award for Vocal/Choral Work of the Year went to Iain Grandage for The Riders - an opera by Grandage and librettist Alison Croggon, based on Tim Winton's novel. 'Utterly moving and beautifully written for the voice. The orchestration is clean and clear and the use of electronic sounds is notable for its absence of cliché', commented the judging panel about this work.
Damien Ricketson received the award for Instrumental Work of the Year for the imaginative composition The Secret Noise - 'a fascinating work of imagination and superlative craft'. (Read an interview on Resonate about Ricketson's work.)
Mace Francis's work Music for Average Photography won the Jazz Work of the Year category. 'This exciting work compels the listener with its strong, excellent writing for big band. It is clever, creative and consistently interesting', commented the panel.
Soloist Ashley William Smith and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, with conductor Baldur Brönnimann, were acknowledged in the Performance of the Year category for their exceptional performance of Lachlan Skipworth's Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra.
Gondwana Choirs took home the Award for Excellence by an Organisation for their 2014 artistic program, and their significant contribution to Australian music since 1989. Award for Excellence by an Individual went to a composer this year, as Ross Edwards was acknowledged for his contribution to Australian chamber music over almost five decades.
Lorraine Milne was presented the Award for Excellence in Music Education for her sustained contribution over five decades as teacher, author, composer, arranger and musical director.
The Award for Excellence in a Regional Area went to the New England Conservatorium of Music for New England Sings!, an extraordinary program which includes choristers of all ages accompanied by local orchestras and ensembles.
Julien Wilson was recognised as the winner of the Award for Excellence in Jazz for recording and touring associated with the establishment of Lionsharecords. His untiring efforts to build the label and associated activities have fostered important bonds between disparate sectors of the jazz community.
The recipient of the Award for Excellence in Experimental Music was Richard Johnson for his promotion of improvising musicians, particularly through the SoundOut Festival of Experimental and Improvised Music.
As announced last week, composer, pianist and music educator Larry Sitsky was honoured for his enduring contribution to Australian music as the 2015 recipient of the Distinguished Services to Australian Music Award.
Six winners of State Awards were also announced during the evening - for all details of State winners, please see below.
The Art Music Awards ceremony was hosted by Fenella Kernebone, with high-profile guest presenters Julian Burnside QC, Lieven Bertels, Tony Grybowski, Robyn Holmes, Barney McAll and Kim Williams. Recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey curated some exceptional performances, including an excerpt from Iain Grandage and Alison Croggon's opera The Riders as well as a performance of Damian Barbeler's composition Shadow Box. The Sydney Children's Choir were joined on stage by conductor Matthew Winnel and pianist Sally Whitwell to perform Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall's, Our Song, (arranged by composer Dan Walker) and Art Music Awards finalist Joseph Twist's work Rain Dream. Multi award-winning Australian trumpeter and composer Phil Slater was joined onstage by Simon Barker and Carl Dewhurst to perform his composition The Cutting and The Shrine. Directed by Patrick Nolan, the performance featured artist Kathryn Puie and video design by Andrew Wholley.
The AMC and APRA AMCOS would like to thank the following people for their time in judging the nominations for this year's Art Music Awards: Diana Blom, Vanessa Chalker, Harriet Cunningham, Carl Crossin, David Forrest, Tony Gould, Maria Grenfell, Elliott Gyger, Michael Hooper, Cat Hope, Linda Kouvaras, James Ledger, Stephen Leek, Alex Masso, Tim Matthies, Ros McMillan, Kate Neal, James Nightingale, Victoria Owens, Jo Parkes, Sarah Penicka-Smith, Ben Northey, John Shand, Nick Shimmin, Gian Slater, Jula Szuster, Liz Terracini, Julie Warn, Nigel Westlake, Peta Williams, Toby Wren, Jonathan Zwartz. A special thank you goes to Siobhan Lenihan for chairing the Awards panels.
2015 Art Music Awards - winners
Distinguished Services to Australian Music: Larry Sitsky
Performance of the Year: Ashley William Smith soloist, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Baldur Brönnimann conductor for the performances of Lachlan Skipworth's Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra
Work of the Year: Vocal/Choral: The Riders, composed by Iain Grandage, libretto by Alison Croggon, based on the novel by Tim Winton, performed by Victorian Opera
Jazz Work of the Year: Music for Average Photography, composed by Mace Francis, performed by Mace Francis Orchestra
Instrumental Work of the Year: The Secret Noise composed
by Damien Ricketson, performed by Ensemble Offspring
Orchestral Work of the Year: Dramatis Personae - Music for Trumpet and Orchestra composed by Brett Dean, performed by Håkan Hardenberger, soloist, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Brett Dean conductor (publishers: Hal Leonard/Boosey & Hawkes Group obo Bote Bock Der Boosey Hawkes Bote Bock Gm)
Award for Excellence by an Organisation: Gondwana Choirs for the 2014 artistic program, and significant contribution to Australian music since 1989
Award for Excellence by an Individual: Ross Edwards for his contribution to Australian chamber music
Award for Excellence in Music Education: Lorraine Milne for sustained contribution to music education
Award for Excellence in a Regional Area: New England Conservatorium of Music for New England Sings!
Award for Excellence in Experimental Music: Richard Johnson for the SoundOut Festival of Experimental and Improvised Music
Award for Excellence in Jazz: Julien Wilson for recording and touring associated with the establishment of Lionsharecords
2015 State Awards
In the category of Excellence in Experimental Music: Richard Johnson, for SoundOut Festival of Experimental and Improvised Music
In the category of Excellence in Music Education: Moorambilla Voices, for education work in North West NSW
In the category in Excellence in Music Education: Topology, for Top Up music education program
In the category of Excellence by an Organisation: Adelaide Festival, for 2014 Tectonics Adelaide
In the category of Excellence by an Organisation: Speak Percussion, for 2014 international touring
In the category of Excellence in a Regional Area: West Australian Symphony Orchestra, for WASO on the Road Touring, and Onslow Kids Music Education (OK Me!) in West Pilbara
© Australian Music Centre (2015) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
Add your thoughts to other users' discussion of this article.
You must login to post a comment.
Given the available choices...
Given the poverty that was on offer (i.e. the list of finalists), this is pretty much the best result among the choices available - Ricketson and Dean in particular. Others remain inexplicable to me (e.g. why single out Ross Edwards for an award in the field of chamber music when other composers have given at least as much?).
A footnote: I read the interview with Damien Ricketson, and was struck by how similar his experimental methodology is to my own. With respect to his "whirling cups", they seem to be an evolutionary step upon Sarah Hopkins' "Whirlies".