Enter your username and password

Forgotten your username or password?

Your Shopping Cart

There are no items in your shopping cart.

20 September 2022

2022 Art Music Awards: What the Judges Said

Sia Ahmad accepts her award for Work of the Year: Eletroacoustic/Sound Art Image: Sia Ahmad accepts her award for Work of the Year: Eletroacoustic/Sound Art  
© RC Stills

Behind the scenes of the Art Music Awards are the many hours of careful thought and rigorous discussions by our judging panels. Here, we acknowledge their work and the merits of each of the winners and finalists across all Art Music Awards categories with a summary of their judging commentary.

The AMC and APRA AMCOS gives our special thanks to Sia Ahmad and Peta Williams, who served as chair for this year's judging panels. We also acknowledge the following dedicated people who served in the panels: Hadley Agrez, Jodie Blackshaw, Kate Carr, Jenny Duck-Chong, Rhyan Clapham, Madeleine Cocolas, Robert Curgenven, Cheryl Durongpisitkul, Lawrence English, Nirmali Fenn, Phoebe Green, Jess Green, Tim Hansen, Jody Heald, Steven Hodgson, Emma Jayakumar, Stephanie Kabanyana Kanyandekwe, Johannes Luebbers, Kevin March, Alex Masso, Netalena Mizrahi, Nicole Murphy, Traianos Pakioufakis, Tristen Parr, Ian Parsons, Katherine Quigley, John Rotar, Heather Shannon, David Shaw, Jane Sheldon, Rishin Singh, Gian Slater, Bonnie Stewart, Emily Tulloch, Nicholas Williams, Flora Wong, Aaron Wyatt, and Kiri Zakinthinos.

Work of the Year: Choral

Overall comment

The panel noted that, after two years of oppressive COVID-related restrictions on the performance landscape, this year's nominations capture the excitement of bringing choral performance back into the public realm. Many of these works referred to the tragedies that were experienced and dealt with over this time and the panel applauded how the finalists reckoned with this in their work. In particular, the panel wanted to acknowledge the bravery of organisations such as Sydney Chamber Choir in commissioning large-scale works at this time, noting how powerfully positive and impactful this was, both directly and as a statement, post-COVID lockdowns.


Paul Stanhope for Requiem
Text by Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Neela Nath Das, Mary Elizabeth Frye, and Emily Dickinson
Performed by Sydney Chamber Choir

The panel recognised Requiem as an ambitious work that has been realised masterfully by an established composer at the height of their powers. A phenomenal and complex piece that is full of turns and emotional resonance, Stanhope has crafted something exquisite, making superb use of all voices in the choir, with vocal writing that would be a pleasure to sing. Requiem is a contemporary take on the form, and recontextualises the traditional Latin Mass against beautiful secular poetry, particularly the inclusion of text by indigenous Australian poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal. A gorgeous work of great substance that is recognisably Stanhope.


Joseph Twist for An Australian Song Cycle
Text by Henry Lawson, Michael Leunig, Les Murray, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, A.B. Patterson, Peter Skrzynecki, Jack Twist, Judith Wright
Performed by Sydney Chamber Choir

The panel applauded Twist for An Australian Song Cycle, an ambitious work that is highly effective in its use of musical materials and sophisticated in its treatment of text. Commissioned by Sydney Chamber Choir, it is clear that Twist understood the skills and joys of his collaborators, in parallel with an in-depth general knowledge of the choral palette and a developed sense for what choristers like to do. The work was scored for choir, piano and cello - its mixture of textures and levels of complexity make it accessible in whole or part to a wide range of choirs across the country. It is a highlight from Twist since his return to our shores from Hollywood and re-engagement with Australian stories.

Brenton Broadstock for Pandemic, mvt.6 of "Shadow and Hope - Cantata from Six Continents in the Age of Pandemic"
Performed by Theodor Schüz Ensemble and Quartet Berlin-Tokyo

The panel recognised in Pandemic an assured piece of writing by a composer who is unafraid to confront the heavier aspects from the last two years head-on in their work. It is brilliantly written for choir and string quartet, with varied instrumental textures and text setting that reflects the psychology of the subject matter. The work is fresh and exciting in a confronting way, a comment on the modern world in Broadstock's established language. Pandemic is a work of high distinction and technical skill that should become a part of the repertoire of choirs in Australian and overseas and deserves to be nominated as choral work of the year.

Anne Cawrse for A gathering
Text by Anne Cawrse and Paul Hetherington
Performed by Adelaide Chamber Singers

As with many of Cawrse's works, there is a strong sense of storytelling and journeying in A gathering, and the work reveals a mastery of the choral idiom. She demonstrates her impressive ability to set text - in this case, a poem by Canberra-based poet Paul Hetherington - with care and sensitivity, a great sense of harmonic direction, and beautiful interplay between the lines. This work could not have been written for any other instrumentation, turning the singers into something beautiful and artistic with this work. With its unique compositional voice and homegrown text, it will hopefully have a long life among other professional choirs.

Work of the Year: Dramatic

Overall comment

Following a number of years inflicted with lockdowns, it was great to see a breath of new works that explored the diverse inspirations and approach by our art music peers within the dramatic performance realm. It is heartening to see performers and ensembles commission new work and put them into the public sphere now that it is possible once again. The panel thought all nominations were of an exceptional quality and that the finalists in this category sat very closely together in their estimations.

Jane Sheldon and Aaron Wyatt
Jane Sheldon, winner, Work of the Year: Dramatic, with presenter Aaron Wyatt


Jane Sheldon for Poem for a Dried Up River
Text by Alice Oswald
Performed by Sydney Chamber Choir

A poignant and dramatic take on Alice Oswald's poem of the same name, Poem for a Dried Up River was an evocative theatrical work brimming with sonic colour and ambiance that draws the audience into the heart of the poetic fairytale. Jane Sheldon's composition was rich and restrained with sparse and highly original orchestration for a small ensemble of musicians. Her ability to create timbral differences alternating between the dry, dire and the flourishing was textually highly effective. Her vocal writing and performance were as exceptional as they always are and there was innovation in the design.


Ekrem Eli Phoenix for The Pulse
Performed by Aurora (Young Adelaide Voices) and Christie Anderson

Ekrem Eli Phoenix manages somehow to describe emergent, abstract and universal motifs that morph and transform along a single sinuous thread into rousing examples of existential awe. With sensitivity, he has managed to expertly fuse the voices of the Aurora Women's Vocal Ensemble with epic electronic elements to create a score that shows a keen sense of drama in conjunction with the action of the stage. Without this score and its dramatic thematics, The Pulse would not hang together and tell the coherent story that it does. Truly is a thrilling juxtaposition of sublime, beautifully textured choral music and breathtaking acrobatics.

Huw Belling for Fumeblind Oracle
Text by Pierce Wilcox
Performed by Jessica O'Donoghue and Jack Symonds

The panel applauded Huw Belling for creating a highly detailed and sophisticated score, with extremely well written vocal lines and compellingly realised text to be explored throughout the performance. Fumeblind Oracle is intricate and multi-layered, both musically and thematically. The work comments on the themes of Janacek's famous work, by recasting the role of the female protagonist, taking back the narrative and drawing attention to her objectification in the original work. The work was brought to life visually and dramatically by exceptional direction and lighting design, with some quite exquisite visual effects and dramatic sequences.

Deborah Cheetham AO for Parrwang Lifts The Sky
Performed by Victorian Opera

Unfortunately not presented as a live performance due to lockdown, this an important and charming children's opera that brings to the stage a beautiful story from the lands of the Wadawurrung people and the panel was glad it reached a wide audience through the digital medium. A stunning example of opera meeting a uniquely Australian story, Parrwang Lifts The Sky is charming and well written for all vocal fachs with vibrant orchestration. A well-earned place among the finalists in this category, the second ever Indigenous opera to be written.

Work of the Year: Jazz

Overall comment

The panel would like to applaud the incredibly strong field of nominees this year with their wide range of well-crafted works. This is testament to the high-quality music coming out of the Australian continent and highlighted how many works of similar quality were missed in the initial nominations round. This overall list represented the diversity in musical approaches within the Australian jazz scene well and the panel loved hearing a number of individual voices come through here, bringing together a good cross section of inspiration and innovation in the list of finalists.

Gian Slater and Emma Donovan
Gian Slater, winner, Work of the Year: Jazz, with presenter Emma Donovan


Gian Slater for Grey Is Ground
Performed by Gian Slater, Barney McAll, Simon Barker, Emefern and Phil Slater

With Grey Is Ground being some of the best work to date from one of Australia's most interesting, talented and creative musicians, Slater is a deserved winner in this category for a unique work that shines within her oeuvre. One of the most important musicians of her generation, she has allowed herself to shift directions from previous works with the musical juxtaposition of pure voice against intriguing electro-pop rhythms and other contemporary influences. This great gathering of elements lends itself to the poetic nature of the music and comes together as a moving piece that is sophisticated and intelligent.


Benjamin Shannon for See You Round The Traps
Performed by Milton Man Gogh

Beautifully crafted music with a great concept of what is desired to be achieved in its final outcome, Shannon has written a gorgeous work for Milton Man Gogh that is incredibly moving. See You Round The Traps is immediately engaging and a coherent band concept, using restraint and economy to present all its musical elements in a tasteful manner that is a delight for the listener. A wonderful insight into one of the most exciting, prolific and motivated young musicians in Australia today.

Reuben Lewis for Lost in Place
Performed by I Hold The Lion's Paw

The acclaimed follow-up to Lewis' 2018 album, Lost in Place continues his exploratory use of texture and groove within improvised performance and post-production. The resultant work is a wild and wacky sonic ride that takes his forward-thinking approach to create something equally familiar, otherworldly, and uniquely speaking with an Australian voice. The concept is strong and delivered with a powerful sound, taking the music to a new dimension through its use of recontextualisation and great use of voice that addresses the audience in a distinct and engaging way.

Daniel Wilfred, David Wilfred, Aviva Endean, Sunny Kim and Peter Knight for Hand to Earth
Performed by Australian Art Orchestra

After years of development, it's magical to hear Hand to Earth as a recorded work, captured in the studio over a number of years but working together as a strong narrative and without losing its immediacy. There is something wonderful in seeing a diversity of musical backgrounds and voices come together through this project, sharing a cross cultural shared language that pays respect to the history of the Wilfred brothers' traditional stories and songs. This is beautiful music that is incredibly important yet easy to engage with, with an emotional quality in hearing different cultures and approaches come together in a harmonious way.

Work of the Year: Large Ensemble

Overall comment

The panel thought it was great to see so much commissioning of new work and because of this, the high quality of nominations in the category. The overall field was strong with the top 10 sitting very close together. It was great to see the diversity of musical styles and representation of Australia come through in the category with so many voices sharing this space and further still, extraordinary to hear such different voices next to each other. A pleasure to celebrate the wide landscape we have here in this category.

Olivia Davies
Olivia Davies, winner, Work of the Year: Large Ensemble


Olivia Davies for Stratus
Performed by West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Asher Fisch, conductor

While Olivia Davies has previously explored her musical ideas with small-to-medium sized ensembles, Stratus was her first commission for large orchestral forces. Inspired by the concept of a sound mass, the work is a fresh and convincing exploration of orchestral textures and cleverly uses several different compositional techniques to perfectly balance stillness, transition and movement over its 11-minute duration. There is an overarching strength in the structure that takes the listener on a profound journey, one that is constantly changing and evocative. A brave, fresh and highly accomplished work.


Fiona Hill for Śūnyatā
Performed by Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Simon Reade, conductor

An extremely unique voice with purpose and intention, Fiona Hill's work is highly detailed, focusing on subtle timbres and idiomatic gestures across the orchestra. Through the use of numerous extended techniques the ensemble breathes and flows together like a single dynamic creature. Śūnyatā really is an entire new aural landscape, something that invites one to enter and experience the manipulation of sonics in the large ensemble format. There is a deep understanding of the orchestra throughout with a culminating rush towards the end, giving the work an artfully written energetic push and guiding the listener to a great climax.

Anne Cawrse for The Rest Is Silence
Performed by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Michael Pisani, cor anglais, and Nicholas Carter, conductor

An assured work by a highly accomplished composer, The Rest Is Silence demonstrates that Anne Cawrse is a composer who deserves a wide audience, and more orchestral commissions and performances. An intricate meld of soloist and orchestra that takes the listener on a journey of beauty and majesty, Anne was skilfully able to ensure that the soloist was front and centre throughout the entire work. The work beautifully and effectively combined line and texture, colour and shape, exploring silence and the spaces between the notes with elegance and ingenuity. It certainly is a work that deserves to be heard and reheard, here and further afield.

Paul Dean for Symphony No.1 "Black Summer"
Performed by Australian World Orchestra

Full of distinctive sound worlds and textures that are tautly organised, Symphony No.1 "Black Summer" is a rich and evocative work that has been idiomatically crafted for the orchestra. Written as a response to the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-2020, a relentless drive propels the first movement after an atmospheric opening. The 2nd movement is achingly beautiful with a shattering climax. The 3rd describes the terror of a firestorm, and the finale ends in devastation and desolation. Yet another outstanding work by a composer of note in the art music landscape.

Work of the Year: Chamber Music

Overall comment

The panel wished that everyone who was nominated in this category could be celebrated as the quality of nominations was outstanding across the board. It was noted that many of the works nominated were written at the start of the pandemic and their nominations were testament to the perseverance of creative spirit during a testing time. It is clear from this year's category that it would be good to see more long form works and that there deserves to be an injection of support for these commissions as we come out of lockdown.


Tristan Coelho for Hokusai Mixtape
Performed by Jonathan Henderson, James Wannam, Emily Granger, Tristan Coelho

Hokusai Mixtape is a beautiful, atmospheric work that masterfully blends instruments and electronics to elevate one another within the work. A homage to the flute, viola and harp works of Debussy and Takemitsu, it captures the sensibilities of these original pieces, while extending this into a unique sound world of its own. The panel thought the score to be well crafted and admired the complexity of the electro-acoustic arrangement, the blend of contemporary harmony with classical sounds well executed to sit all together as a balanced whole. Truly captivating.


Natalie Williams for Black Summer String Quartet (an Homage to Australia's Bushfire History)
Performed by the Australian String Quartet

This piece is an evocative and powerful take on an important issue, using strong gestural musical language. The piece uses the forces of the quartet to great effect and displays a nuanced understanding of string writing, employing texture to create some moments of great intensity. Black Summer is a fine example of a culturally significant work, strongly attuned to the environmental reality of our time, combined in an artistic and heartfelt homage to Australia's bushfire history.

Bree van Reyk for threaded in amongst the infinite threading
Performed by Genevieve Lacey and Marshall McGuire

A substantial, meditative and transcendental work for recorders and harp that feels like it makes time slow down for its eight-minute duration. Effective in its simplicity, the beautiful textural writing is cleverly communicated to the performers through fragments of score and written instructions. A great exploration of recorders and harp through its use of extended technique, the piece gradually transforms a single note opening into an increasingly complex swarm of sound.

Rishin Singh for mewls infans
Performed by Martin Sturm

Impressive and dramatic contrast between the very technical and dry instructions given to the performer and the otherworldly and epic sounds of the piece, mewl infans demonstrates what is possible when you have an intimate understanding of a specific instrument and its idiosyncrasies and imperfections. Almost industrial and electronic sounding at times, there is a rich, slowly evolving, microtonal sound world that draws the listener in. A conceptually artistic and imaginative approach to the organ that is well shaped in its form.

Work of the Year: Electroacoustic/Sound Art

Overall comment

The panel was delighted by the range and diversity of approaches to electroacoustic music and sound art. Panel members were also pleased to see the large number of highly competitive nominations to this category, only the third year since its inception into the Art Music Awards. Nonetheless, more nominations from recording labels in this area would be welcomed.

Panel members were impressed with the technical and intellectual complexity of the work, as well as the emotional resonance that shone through.


Sia Ahmad for Depth Disintegration Performed by Benjamin Anderson, 24 April 2021

The winner of the Homophonic! Pride Prize for 2021, Depth Disintegration, was created specifically for Benjamin Anderson and the world's only double-belled bass trombone during a period of COVID-19 lockdown. Panel members found this work both meditative, moving and unsettling, with manipulated playback blending seamlessly with the live double-belled bass trombone and five-channel sound to create an immersive work of power that demonstrated the depth of musical connection between composer and performer.


Tim Bruniges, Julian Day, and Matt McGuigan for VERY FAST & VERY FAR
Performed by Tim Bruniges, Julian Day, Matt McGuigan, 10 September 2021

Working together for the first time in this way, this trio of sound artists have created in VERY FAST & VERY FAR an electroacoustic work that was built up through a series of improvisations and performative manipulations. A work that journeys into an extra-terrestrial realm, this work was well executed, engaging and aesthetically interesting, and quite remarkable for three composers who had not worked together before. An other-worldly sonic narrative and initiative of great merit.

Fia Fiell (Carolyn Schofield) and Mindy Meng Wang for Undercurrent 暗涌
Performed by Fia Fiell and Mindy Meng Wang, released on the album Phoenix Rising on 24 September 2021

A cross-cultural collaborative work created by composer Fia Fielle (Carolyn Schofield) and Chinese-Australian guzheng artist, Mindy Meng Wang, Undercurrent blends their different sonic worlds and comes together through a shared intuitive, meditative and expressive language. A beautiful, deeply nuanced and beautifully crafted work of intertwining stories, with a rhythmic fluidity and a responsive melodic and harmonic interplay, transforming acoustic and electronic material into a work of beauty and wonder while also recognising vulnerability and suffering.

Erkki Veltheim for Effigy, for viola and electronics
Performed by Erkki Veltheim, 19 November 2021

Created under the auspices of the Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS) organisation, Erkki Veltheim's Effigy in an extraordinary fusion of his many musical interests - exploratory sonic materials, strict process-based composition, sound synthesis, processing of pre-recorded audio and the use of both live and acousmatic elements. Panel members found this work to be compelling, demonstrating a nuanced craft in dealing with new materials, aesthetically current and a work that holds your attention. A rich combination of musical ingredients resulting in a strong, sustained and mesmerising work.

Performance of the Year: Jazz/Improvised Music

Overall comment

The 2022 Awards brought a small but highly competitive field of high calibre artists, from emerging artists to artists well-established in this field. The panel was excited by the outstanding performances, production values and improvisatory skills seen in the performances of these quality works. Panel members were also pleased to see that some nominees were not known to them, with nominations coming from either outside the conventional jazz community, or from artists who are new to the community of jazz and/or improvised music.

That performances happened at all in 2021 after the first year of lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic is testament to the tenacity and creativity and determination of artists working in this field.

Panel members also noted that there is a merging of interests from musicians from the classical music work who are interested in improvisation, and jazz and improvising musicians interested in contemporary classical new music. A significant merging of this contemporary art music space can only be to the benefit of jazz and improvised music artists in the future.

The nominations presented performances from across the jazz and improvising music genre, each displaying a unique conceptual approach to exceptional performance standards, with distinctly individual voices in both large scale, intimate and cross-cultural work, showcasing the very best of what can be produced in Australia, despite the challenges of isolation and lockdown.

Chloe Kim and Jeremy Rose
Chloe Kim and Jeremy Rose, winners, Performance of the Year: Jazz/Improvised Music


Jeremy Rose & the Earshift Orchestra featuring Simon Barker and Chloe Kim for the performance of Disruption! The Voice of Drums
Composed by Jeremy Rose, Simon Barker and Chloe Kim

Performed 13 January 2021, Seymour Centre, Sydney

A multi-movement show-length work for two drumming soloists and six-piece electro-acoustic orchestra, the performance of 'Disruption' for the Sydney Festival in 2021 was a tour de force combining an original and unusual concept, beautifully blended aspects of improvisation and composition, creative collaboration, and an exceptional performance. Panel members also applauded the intergenerational mix of the performers involved.

The performance was so much more than the music notes; the creators have considered the entirety of what a performance and audience experience might be, leading to a powerful outcome. A very high-level composition, concept, and outstanding performance.


Vanessa Perica Orchestra & Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Northey for the performance of Love is a Temporary Madness, The Symphonic Suite
Composed by Vanessa Perica

Performed 10 February 2021, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne

'Love is a Temporary Madness, The Symphonic Suite' was the first collaboration between the Vanessa Perica Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Panel members found that the performance of this masterful work was outstanding, with first-rate performances by all the musicians on the stage, including significant improvisatory passages, demonstrating a true and integrated co-operation across both orchestras.

Panel members applauded the obvious rapport and mutual respect between the jazz and classical musicians, led so ably by conductor Benjamin Northey, resulting in an exceptional performance of what is a major new Australian jazz ensemble work.

Pat Jaffe, Callum Mintzis and ensemble for the performance of A Sanctuary of Quietude
Composed by Pat Jaffe and Callum Mintzis
Performed 26 June 2021, St John's Anglican Church, Camberwell, Victoria

'A life changing performance' was how one panel member described listening to the performance of this eloquent work by Melbourne composers Pat Jaffe and Callum Mintzis, a rich, beautiful, meditative work that blends jazz improvisation with chamber music.

Panel members were moved by the sensitivity and beauty of this performance, noting the sifting relationships between the composition and improvisation, and how beautifully this worked in performance, with both classical and jazz/improvising musicians working as one. A journey into stillness and contemplation in a performance of beauty that captures both spontaneity and soul, as well as joy.

ZÖJ for the performance of ZÖJ Live at Melbourne Recital Centre
Composed by Gelareh Pour and Brian O'Dwyer
Performed 12 July 2021, Melbourne Recital Hall

Panel members found the performance of this work by the celebrated Iranian-Australian musician Gelareh Pour and experimental drummer Brian O'Dwyer to be refreshing and a fine example of the seamless integration of composed and improvised music, and in this case, fusing Persian and Western motifs.

The panel found the relationship between composition and improvisation to be clear, well-expressed, and well-connected in this outstanding performance that balanced darkness and light. A work that takes the listener on an emotional journey of storytelling, this performance was awe-inspiring and of the highest quality, and a fine example of what a work involving extraordinary improvisation should and can be.

Performance of the Year: Notated Composition

Overall comment

It was a strong field with many nominations to highlight the fantastic quality of notated composition works that have had their performance premieres in the last twelve months, especially in light of the numerous lockdowns that had taken hold. So many of these nominations were hard to separate and all were very engaging.

What a chance to survey the incredible art music sector we have on this continent and acknowledge the luck of having something like the Art Music Awards to recognise this and discover new music at the same time.

There are so many incredible composers, performers and ensembles in the environment at present who are speaking to Australian music now, putting out great examples of our contemporary voices and speaking in many different ways to address our stories.

Paul Grabowsky AO
Paul Grabowsky AO, accepting the award for Performance of the Year: Notated Composition


Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australian Art Orchestra, Paul Grabowsky AO, Daniel Wilfred, David Wilfred, Conducted by Benjamin Northey for WATA
Composed by Paul Grabowsky AO, Daniel Wilfred and David Wilfred

A worthy winner with a work that embodies culture and life, not just the music made for the Wilfred brothers. It represents a way of being, knowing and doing and it is a privilege that we are able to witness this as performance. Wata is a work that points to genuinely new possibilities for the repertoire of the symphony orchestra. It empowers and celebrates Yolgnu song tradition by using the orchestra to lift up the songs and show them in a different light. We should all be proud of the work they are doing with Paul Grabowsky and the Australian Art Orchestra, noting that a genuine collaborative relationship that is built on respect fosters an outstanding outcome like this. It is truly a masterful work that has been 17 years in the making and we believe it will be seen as a major milestone in Australian music in years to come.


Rachael Dease and West Australian Symphony Orchestra with Voyces for Hymns for End Times
Composed by Rachael Dease

A strong and moving concept for a work that was responding to the times and what was happening immediately around the composer. Hymns for End Times speaks to current themes in the country's consciousness, addressing grief, uncertainty and precarity but not without addressing hopefulness as well. A visual treat with its stunning staging, this performance is a great example of how art music can use its power to connect with audiences about experiences at large. The work is a fine example of Rachael's hybrid artistic career as a composer, songwriter, sound designer and consummate performer, and it is great to see such a deserving mid-career new music artist being given this support and opportunity from both the Festival and WASO in WA.

Andrew Blanch and Ensemble Offspring for Tipping Point
Composed by Felicity Wilcox

An exquisite performance of this new commissioned work from Felicity Wilcox by a strong collection of musicians. Equally virtuosic and sensitive, the interplay between ensemble members was careful and nuanced in their interpretation. The feeling of loss and catastrophe within Tipping Point resonated with the panellists, something that was enhanced by the beautiful pairing of the stunning visual element. The delicate balance struck between all the elements in the performance was evidence that the work was ahead of the curve in its delivery.

Andrew Haveron and Simon Tedeschi for Machine Codes
Composed by Paul Stanhope

Highly technical and rhythmically captivating, Andrew Haveron and Simon Tedeschi's performance of this new work by Paul Stanhope was packed with deft virtuosity and dynamic control, from the opening peals of radio-signal semiquavers hammering out of the piano's top end, through the eerie harmonics of the second movement, and crunching back down to earth with chiming chords and quicksilver violin runs in the finale. An incredible, energetic performance by the duo, with a spotlight on their musical connection throughout the performance.

Excellence in Experimental Music

Overall comment

The panel remarked on the high quality of nominations in this year's category with not much separating the finalists here. Really great to see so many different projects and commissions take place and addressing relevant issues through the work made too. Having to look over a wide breadth of experimental practice within the nominations list was a good dilemma to have, even if it made it quite difficult to separate them at the end.


ADSR Zine for 2021 activities including exhibition, showcase and online catalogue of publications

ADSR Zine has created an invaluable and vital umbrella for contemporary practising artists to reflect, translate, interpret, critically respond and actively engage with exploratory and experimental practices. The work that ADSR Zine is doing certainly is important to help inform and support the careers of many artists at different stages of career, providing a platform with their ambitious, progressive vision of what it means to be "an artist' and engaging with the community through their own innovative ways.


Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey for ongoing project Witness Stand

Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey are the perfect example of quiet, understated achievers who have been working to a high standard throughout their career and with Witness Stand, reach a high watermark in their practice of sonic investigation and collaboration. In particular, this work highlights their gentle and respectful approach to community connection, working in consultation with Whadjuk Noongar custodians Barry McGuire and Kylie Bracknell (Kaarljilba Kaardn) and WA based musicians to create public outcomes specific to the land and environment.

Hand To Earth for Composition, recording, release, and performance of new music

This is truly 'experimental' music because it combines approaches and traditions never heard together and evolves them into something startling and unexpected through a process of improvisation and collaborative composition. Hand to Earth is a call to open ears: in a collaboration that spans continents and cultures, it pushes the boundaries of musical form and plays in the spaces between cultural practices. It is a rare example of cultural diversity within experimental music. Hand to Earth points to new ways forward where musical experimentalism is inclusive of western and non-western approaches.

MESS for Education, engagement, facilitation

MESS has created not only the greatest collection of synths in the southern hemisphere, it has created an access model that is the envy of everyone in the northern hemisphere. MESS's education programs are outstanding, and they are leading the way in how organisations can be inclusive, diverse, and encouraging of participation. They lead the way in providing women and GNC people workshops; and create a safe space for everyone to learn, experiment, and expand. MESS has really filled a vital role that was missing in Australia.

Excellence in Music Education

Overall comment

The panel found it great to see just how diverse the nominations were in this year's nomination list, noting the broad range of activities that were conducted within the programs. Artist facilitated projects from Honeybee Creative and Tim Nikolsky's work on the Australian Real Jazz Book are great examples of grassroots collectives and individuals holding their own against larger organisations. The music education is indeed vibrant, alive and well despite hardships over the last few years and prevalent attitudes towards Art Music in the public eye.


Honeybee Creative for teaching neurologically diverse people music skills, song writing and recording projects, in the Sunshine Coast and Gympie regions of Queensland, culminating in a number of major public performances.

A thoroughly deserved winner who has championed the creative development of people with disabilities in the Gympie, QLD region and beyond. Moved to working online as lockdowns, Honeybee Creative hosted their song writing and music creation sessions successfully through online mediums. The facilitation work by the faculty to take the creative thoughts, desires and actions of neurologically diverse people and lay it out in a form that everyone can understand is commendable. It is great to have this type of program operating within a regional area and the project outcomes demonstrate why art and music is so valuable for the community.


Musica Viva for Musica Viva in Schools

It is testament to Musica Viva's dedication that they were able to pivot to digital delivery of their performance program to schools around Australia during COVID, continue to use this method as a positive rejuvenation of the In Schools program and continue to deliver what they promise with this program. This new approach is high quality in its output and is a viable way for students to engage with the work. Their position as finalist is another chance to celebrate Musica Viva as a major music organisation that sits alone as one with a national footprint.

Speak Percussion for Sounds Unheard

Actively a program that breaks from the norms of music education stands, Sounds Unheard is quite a unique offering which offers its participants the opportunity to be part of a collaborative creative process, which is integral and important to their musical development. It's fantastic that Speak Percussion can continue to share this space to work and learn with innovative musical thinkers who are working in a contemporary field. A fantastic way to normalise art music for young musicians and help create awareness of this world, free from misconception.

Tim Nikolsky for Activity - leadership, connecting, contribution

The work that Nikolsky is doing shows his utmost dedication to creating an important collection of music for students that deserve to be played and heard across the continent if not further afield. He continues to expand the collection and continues to recognise what needs to be captured, and how he can use this resource as a platform for shining light on underrepresented voices in the Australian Jazz genre. The Australian Jazz Real Book is a great example of how composers need people like Nikolsky to compile these kinds of resources for the community at large to access.

Excellence in a Regional Area

Overall comment

The panelists noted the really inspiring and diverse nominations that came from across the whole continent for this category. This space has seen a lot of advocacy work be carried out by the nominees in a number of spaces including indigenous rights, inclusion and heritage awareness. It is a revelation to see how much is going on around the country and it has been a great honour to celebrate this in this year's awards.


Tura New Music and Marrugeku for Sonus3 Program and Tour

A well-deserved award for Tura New Music and Broome based intercultural performance company Marrageku for their work in regional WA, for regional audiences. Built over two years of ongoing work between the two organisations and with community consultation, the 2021 Sonus3 Tour brought a diverse and vibrant group of outstanding artists together in cross-artform collaboration to celebrate culture and place. The Tour made a significant contribution to the social, cultural, educational, and community lives of people living in regional centres and remote communities across the Kimberley through the community engagement program. From interactive school workshops to collaborations with local artists as well as cultural exchanges with Traditional Owners, this tour was very much a two-way process with touring artists being powerfully influenced by the people and places they met and experienced.


Camerata - Queensland's Chamber Orchestra for Camerata's 2021 Emerging Composer Commission in Winton

Great initiative by Camerata to engage John Rotar as an emerging composer to immerse themselves with the Winton lifestyle and the landscape that surrounds the town, creating a new work that captures this place and share it with others as part of the Camerata regional touring program, with its premiere at Winton's Australian Dinosaur Museum. Celebrated in performance by a group of highly qualified musicians, the quality of commission is very high and it's great to see a company so dedicated to bringing new Australian music to its regional areas. The quality and nature of work has a long life ahead of it with potential to become an important part of the Australian music landscape. This opportunity will give Rotar's career a boost to be shared with the whole nation in future.

Andrew Veivers for 2021 Recording and release of 'People Puppets Fire Volume 1'

With incredible ambition in his scope for the musical work as part of this closing event for the Woodford Folk Festival, Andrew Veivers has created something special in bringing together audience and performer with this meeting point founded on participation and inclusion. The quality of the compositions and the strength of integrity built into the process by which they are communicated have allowed for a strong recorded document that will remind those who were there of the joyous energy that permeated the whole event.

Dr Fred Cole for Composition for "O, How I Dreamt of Things Impossible" Dance Theatre work, Northern Rivers Performing Arts

An outstanding, accessible yet complex, emotive and responsive composition in this collaboration with Sprung!! Integrated Dance Theatre. The space in which Dr Fred Cole made this work was one of sensitivity and nuance, being a great example of a composer working responsively with another art form to bring out the best in the work as a whole and not detract from the important narratives and voices who authored and are represented in the performance itself. It was noted that the project faced many challenges in 2020 and that the ongoing collaboration during lockdown was something to be admired. It is rare these days that a composer and choreographer get to work for an extended period of time - especially for a full-length work - and Cole's commitment to the region and to Sprung!! and the dancers enabled this.

Luminary Awards

Overall comment

The Luminary Awards panel members were impressed with the high quality, vision and sustained contribution of many of the nominations to these Awards.

Panel members felt that the nominations reflected the breadth of activity across the sector, from commissioning and presentation activities through to educational, and socially and community-engaged activities. All three categories presented the panel with some exceptional nominees, who all displayed sustained contribution, significant national and/or State/Territory impact, championing of Australian repertoire, as well as visionary and inspirational leadership in their respective areas of work. This made the task of awarding the winner in each category a challenging one.

Liza Lim
Liza Lim, winner, Luminary Award: Individual

Luminary Award: Individual

Liza Lim for Music composition, Composing Women Program

Internationally renowned composer Liza Lim has been at the forefront of Australian new music for over thirty years. Currently the Sculthorpe Chair of Australian Music and Professor of Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Liza Lim has been an outstanding advocate, supporter and mentor to numerous composers over the years, and recently through the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's Composing Women Program, which she facilitated from 2018-2021. Through this program Liza Lim connected emerging female composers with several artistic organisations and industry support people, and, despite the major setbacks of COVID-19 on the performing arts through this period, ensured the composers and musicians involved in the planned projects were still able to work together, even if only over Zoom and modified concerts or workshops. This is a ground-breaking program that provided a powerful voice and inspiration for female composers. Lim's own compositional output never wanes. Her work has been recognised and performed both nationally and internationally, and she continues to be widely commissioned by some of the world's pre-eminent orchestras and ensembles.

Luminary Award: Organisation

Australian Art Orchestra for Sustained leadership and contribution as an organisation, recording, performing, commissioning, and facilitating opportunities for others

The Australian Art Orchestra has ably demonstrated a sustained contribution to Australian music since its formation in 1994 through a range of musical pathways, including commissioning, developing innovative new programming streams, touring, recording, and for its strong record of mentorship and cultural leadership. Its work with First Nations artists as well as cross-cultural, cross-generational and cross-genre work contributes to breaking down the barriers separating disciplines, forms and cultures. It presents multifaceted education and community building programs that foster excellence in the next generation of improvisers. Under founding director Paul Grabowsky and current leader Peter Knight, the Australian Art Orchestra has become a shining light of musical imagination and creativity that highlights the diversity of new music in Australia today, as it continues to create music that traverses the continuum between improvised and notated forms.

Peter Knight
Peter Knight (Australian Art Orchestra), accepting the Luminary Award for a National Organisation

Luminary Award: Australian Capital Territory

Canberra Symphony Orchestra for The Australian Series

Since 2017 The Canberra Symphony Orchestra (CSO) has made an innovative and sustained contribution to developing Australian art music through its Australian Series, which celebrates the best of Australian classical music and provides a critical forum for diverse voices, including emerging composers. The CSO's output over the last five years, including the last two complicated years of the COVID-19 pandemic, is clever, broad and important. Its commitment to championing Australian music and giving ongoing opportunities for people to hear and value Australian music in its own right has been fearless and demonstrates leadership in vision and programming across the orchestral world.

Luminary Award: New South Wales

Claire Edwardes for 2021 Activities

Percussionist Claire Edwardes OAM has been a leading voice in Australian new music for over 25 years. Moving between her roles as Artistic Director of Ensemble Offspring and her concerto performances with Australian, New Zealand and European orchestras, Claire also gives solo concerts, teaches at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and passionately advocates for equity in classical music. She also is committed to breaking down barriers between art music and audiences. Claire Edwardes is a trailblazer in the Australian music scene, and her sustained contribution over time is note-worthy. The amount of work she undertook and achieved in 2021, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Australian creative arts scene, was truly exceptional. A worthy winner of a Luminary Award.

Luminary Award: Queensland

Kieran Welch for Sustained contribution to the creative music culture of Brisbane as a performer and artistic director of Dots+Loops

Kieran Welch has fervently supported the performance, creation, and documentation of new Australian music as a violist and founding director of post-genre concert series Dots+Loops, which he formed in Brisbane in 2014. As a viola player, Kieran is dedicated to performing new works and supporting the music of his generation, having premiered many works written for him. Over the past eight years, Dots+Loops has created numerous powerful, supportive social experiences for artistic communities in Brisbane, forging connections and communities across Australia, and throughout the world. His work crosses boundaries and bridges communities; he is a visionary trailblazer in providing adventurous and compelling professional music experiences in unique, accessible spaces.

Luminary Award: South Australia

Mark Ferguson for Sustained contribution to the fields of Education, Jazz performance, and Composition

Mark Ferguson is highly regarded as a jazz educator, performer, composer, and arranger, noted for his incredible work ethic and commitment to education and student wellbeing. He has been teaching at the Elder Conservatorium since 1992 and became Head of Jazz in 2018. Beyond the jazz world his influence can be seen and heard through his many orchestral, choral and chamber works, the numerous high-quality recordings he has been involved with, and the many students he has inspired and taught throughout this career. A well-deserved Luminary Award that acknowledges his enormous impact, passion, enthusiasm, and longstanding contribution to music in South Australia and beyond.

Luminary Award: Tasmania

Simon Reade for Conducting

Simon Reade has been making a sustained and vital contribution to Tasmanian musical life in the fields of conducting, performing and composing for the last 25 years. His objective of bringing the music of contemporary Australian composers, and in particular Tasmanian composers, to the fore is evident in the body of work that he has taught, conducted and performed over many years. His clear commitment to the creation and performance of Australian repertoire with a range of individual performers and ensembles, combined with longevity and passion, makes Simon Reade a worthy luminary on the Australian music scene.

Luminary Award: Victoria

Andrea Keller for Projects, recordings and mentorship activities

Andrea Keller has made a substantial and sustained contribution to contemporary jazz and improvised music in Melbourne, nationally and internationally over the last two decades. There are many facets to her work as an artist - performer, band leader, composer, arranger, recording artist, researcher, teacher, mentor and curator. She has devised and produced a large and varied body of work, confirming her dedication to the performance, creation, and nurturing of contemporary jazz and improvised music. Steeped in both jazz and Western art music traditions, her projects celebrate the wealth and diversity of Australian musicians and are centred on the creation of new music with an emphasis on improvisation and collaboration. One of the great aspects of her work noted by the panel is her mentoring and nurturing of younger musicians. She is a real trailblazer, and the output of her work continues to be exceptional. A worthy Luminary indeed.

Luminary Award: Western Australia

Mace Francis for Work as artistic director, composer and band leader

Mace Francis has been making a significant and sustained contribution to jazz in Western Australia since 2005, evidenced over the past five years through his work as the artistic director of the Perth International Jazz Festival (PIJF), the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) and his own Mace Francis Orchestra (MFO), as well as his role as an educator in jazz arranging and composing at the WA academy of Performing Arts. Panel members highlighted in particular his work with WAYJO since 2008, and WAYJO's 'Pathways Program', which helps young musicians to see a clear pathway into music, including such programs as Young Women in Jazz. His remarkable output, passion and enthusiasm makes him an outstanding luminary in Western Australian, national, and international jazz music-making, composing and education.

Luminary Award: Northern Territory

Claire Kilgariff for Artistic Director of Arafura Music Collective

As a music educator, performer, music project manager and director, as well as board member on key Northern Territory music organisations and festivals, Claire Kilgariff has made an enormous contribution to the Northern Territory music scene over many years. Through her work as artistic director of the Arafura Music Collective, she demonstrates a tenacity and vision that underpins the strength of the Collective, which maintains its presence as a significant driving force behind the local classical music scene, connecting, people, ideas and the means for making events happen in this region. Claire has a real commitment to creating a sense of community connected through creativity, resulting in unique and intimate performances made for audiences in the Northern Territory, a testament to her inspiring artistic leadership.


Be the first to share add your thoughts and opinions in response to this article.

You must login to post a comment.