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7 April 2011

Art Music Awards 2011 - finalists announced

Art Music Awards 2011 - finalists announced

Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and the Australian Music Centre (AMC) are proud to announce the finalists for the inaugural Art Music Awards to be held at Sydney Theatre, Walsh Bay on Tuesday, May 3rd. The Art Music Awards play a critical role in acknowledging the achievements of performers and composers in the genres of contemporary art music, jazz and experimental music.

The finalists across the nine categories are a distinguished list of both established and emerging artists, covering composition, performance, and outstanding contributions by individuals and organisations in Australian music, music education and music in a regional area.

CEO of the Australian Music Centre, John Davis said, 'The range of activity represented not only by these finalists, but also more broadly in the nominations lodged for the Art Music Awards, is truly astounding, and demonstrates the vibrancy and energy of contemporary Australian creative practice in music and sound.'

In the category of WORK OF THE YEAR: INSTRUMENTAL composer Damien Ricketson is a finalist for his beautifully crafted and remarkable work, Fractured Again, a striking mixture of live performance with conventional and non-conventional instruments, installation and video art. The work is also a finalist in the Experimental Music category. Also within this category is Paul Stanhope for his composition String Quartet No. 2 - written for the Pavel Haas String Quartet, as part of his activities as Musica Viva Australia's featured composer in 2010.

In the category of WORK OF THE YEAR: ORCHESTRAL, finalist Andrew Ford clearly demonstrates his compositional expertise in complementing the poetry of the text by Tim Winton in the piece A Dream of Drowning. The imaginative, major work Chronicles by West Australian composer James Ledger has been included in the finalists list with its excellent craftsmanship and finely balanced textures. Also included is Elena Kats-Chernin's work Golden Kitsch written especially for percussionist Claire Edwardes and inspired by the youthful energy of the Sydney Youth Orchestra who commissioned the work, and Christopher Gordon for his work Lightfall for horn and orchestra, a finely crafted work which explores the broad range of the horn.

In the category of WORK OF THE YEAR: VOCAL/CHORAL finalist Andrew Schultz has captured and developed the drama of Kenneth Slessor's great World War II poem 'Beach Burial' in his composition. Composer Paul Stanhope is a two-time finalist with his composition Deserts of Exile, an eerily beautiful piece with subtle lines, space and counterpoint. And the last finalist in this category is Helen Gifford with her moving chamber opera Iphigenia in Exile, setting a text by Richard Meredith. Unperformed for 25 years, this work was produced by ChamberMade Opera, Speak Percussion and Aphids in 2010 and released as perhaps the first iPad opera, made available through iTunes.

In the new category of WORK OF THE YEAR: JAZZ the composition Ashes to Ashes by West Australian composer Johannes Luebbers stands out as an intelligent work with a new sound and strong emotional content. Winner of the 2009 APRA Professional Development Award in Jazz is composer Sean Foran, going from strength to strength with his eerily beautiful composition That Which Is Not Fleeting. Composer Stuart Hunter is the last finalist in this category with The Gathering, a composition that makes an immediate statement and provides a strong foundation for each soloist.

In the category of PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR, finalists Clocked Out and Speak Percussion, with their performance of Anthony Pateras's Refractions, engaged in an experimental compositional style partnering uncompromising artistry within a compelling public presentation. The performance of From the Hungry Waiting Country (composer Elliott Gyger) by Halcyon was deemed a virtuoso performance with clarity and precision that reached out to the audience.

Jane Sheldon (soprano) and Ensemble Offspring with Roland Peelman (conductor) are finalists in this category for their performance of The Origin Cycle (by composers Elliott Gyger, Kate Neal, Barry Conyngham, Rosalind Page, Elena Kats-Chernin, Nicholas Vines, Paul Stanhope, Dan Walker). The Origin Cycle, organised to coincide with the bicentenary of Charles Darwin in 2009, featured commissions of eight compositions varying in styles and textures and creating suggestive connections between the evolution of species and the evolution of musical styles. The performance of Kalkadunga Man (by composers William Barton, Ross Edwards, Sarah Hopkins, Rosalind Page, Dan Walker) by The Song Company and William Barton (soloist) is an imaginative work that brings together these unlikely collaborators. It is a sonic and visual experience of the Australian landscape as seen through the eyes of William Barton.

The finalists for the AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE BY AN ORGANISATION OR AN INDIVIDUAL include Clocked Out for their 2009/10 Annual Programs and their exploration of many facets of contemporary music practice. Leading classical music ensemble, the Southern Cross Soloists is included for the successes of their 2009/10 programs. Jane Sheldon and Peter Godfrey-Smith are highlighted for the organisation of The Origin Cycle project across five major cities around the world. And Way Out West is highlighted for their development of Australian jazz through releasing innovative new work and touring nationally and internationally.

The finalists for the AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN MUSIC EDUCATION include the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre for their 2010 Composer-in-Focus program which featured composer Ross Edwards; the Australian Voices for the Young Composers' School, a program that displays a long-term and meaningful commitment to the development of Australian composers; the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic for commissioning a new work, Hide and Squeak by Damian Barbeler and their commitment to music education for young children with the 2010 Kids Proms concerts; and, finally, Cat Hope for her continuing contribution to music education in Western Australia.

The finalists for the AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN A REGIONAL AREA are Arts in the Valley for the 2009 Festival held in Kangaroo Valley, NSW, the Four Winds Festival for the 2010 Festival in Bermagui, NSW, Tura New Music for their 2009/10 Regional Program in W.A., and the Hunter Singers (NSW) for commissioning and performing Australian choral music in 2010.

And in the brand new category of the AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC the finalists are West Australia's Cat Hope for Decibel's 2009/10 Annual Programs, the Fractured Again Project (composer/concept by Damien Ricketson), and Melbourne artists Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey for Constellation: an exhibition with performance interruptions and epi-thet: a sound installation activated by the audience.

An additional category is awarded at the discretion of the Board of Directors of APRA and AMC for Distinguished Services to Australian Music. This will be announced at the Awards ceremony on 3 May.

Further links

Press release Art Music Awards finalists 2011 (pdf)
Art Music Awards - AMC Online
Art Music Awards - finalists (APRA)

The Australian Music Centre connects people around the world to Australian composers and sound artists. By facilitating the performance, awareness and appreciation of music by these creative artists, it aims to increase their profile and the sustainability of their art form. Established in 1974, the AMC is now the leading provider of information, resources, materials and products relating to Australian new music.


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