2019 Art Music Awards
The 2019 Art Music Awards winners were announced at a ceremony held at the Great Hall of the University of Sydney on Monday 19 August 2019. Winners across 11 national and eight state categories included some of Australia’s most innovative artists and organisations with a long-term commitment to Australian art music.
The 2019 Award for Orchestral Work of the Year went to Carl Vine’s Implacable Gifts (Concerto for two pianos and orchestra) a sophisticated, strong work inspired by surrealist painting Arrival of Implacable Gifts by James Gleeson. ‘A work of great beauty and refinement’, commented the judges.
Mary Finsterer was recognised in the category of Instrumental Work of the Year for Ignis, a meticulously crafted duet for cello and the six-stringed viola d’amore. ‘Breathtakingly beautiful, surprising at every moment’, according to the judging panel.
Vocal/Choral Work of the Year was awarded to wordless opera The Howling Girls, composed by Damien Ricketson with direction from Adena Jacobs. A single soprano and a teenage chorus of howling girls create a sensory spectacle that communicates in a mode beyond the rational. Judges described this work as 'quite ahead of its time’.
The Jazz Work of the Year was Trombone Song Cycle, a collection of obscure love songs composed by Joshua Kyle and arranged by Andrew Murray for the unusual combination of trombone quartet and voice. The award for Excellence in Jazz went to composer and bass player Ross McHenry for the creation of major new works, international touring, residencies and commissions in 2018.
The Performance of the Year went to Speak Percussion and Jessica Aszodi for their performance of Liza Lim's Atlas of the Sky. ‘A wonderful example of a high-quality performance that realised the ambition of the composer’, commented the judges.
Zephyr Quartet received the award for Excellence by an Organisation in recognition of their 2018 program which defied genre, style and expectation, as well as their fearless championing of Australian work over 20 years. The winner of the award for Excellence by an Individual was Lyn Williams for her significant contribution to the creation and performance of choral music in Australia. Over 30 years, Lyn has transformed the choral landscape in Australia through the establishment of world-renowned children’s choirs including Sydney Children’s Choir and Gondwana Voices.
West Australian Symphony Orchestra was the recipient of the award for Excellence in Music Education for their Crescendo program. Inspired by the Venezuelan El Sistema, the program delivers free, ongoing and regular music education programs to West Australian schools. Illawarra-based Steel City Strings won the award for Excellence in a Regional Area for their performance activity in the last twelve months and continued commitment to new Australian music.
The award for Excellence in Experimental Music went to Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music for their ongoing event, described by the judges as ‘a courageous, stimulating and imaginative place for high quality experimental music’.
The newly-titled Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music (as determined by the APRA Board of Writer and Publisher Directors) was presented to experimental jazz trio The Necks, the first band to receive this honour. With a career spanning three decades, the trio have carved out a unique space in the music scene, walking the line between avant-garde, improvisation and minimalism while still paying respect to jazz.
The 9th annual Art Music Awards were hosted by Jonathan Biggins; presenters included Chief Executive Officer of the Australia Council for the Arts, Adrian Collette AM; Create NSW Executive Director of Investment & Engagement, Elizabeth W. Scott; ABC Classic's Content Manager Toby Chadd; Artistic Director for SIMA, Zoe Hauptmann; Philanthropist and Chair of the Copyright Agency, Kim Williams AM and Dr Simon Barker, Senior lecturer in Jazz Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Live performances curated by musical director Barney McAll featured composer Alice Chance; pianist Sonya Lifschitz performing a work by Robert Davidson; a duo improvisation by saxophonist Scott McConnachie and organist Amy Johansen; and a performance of Rhyan Clapham’s 'Talk To Me I’m Listening', performed by Ensemble Offspring’s Jason Noble and Emma Jardine joined by Benjamin Kopp, Sonya Holowell and Chloe Kim.
> For more information about all Art Music Awards finalists in 2019, please see this article on Resonate.
2019 Art Music Awards
Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music
Vocal / Choral Work of the Year
Title: The Howling Girls
Composer: Damien Ricketson; with Adena Jacobs (director)
Performer: Sydney Chamber Opera: Jane Sheldon (soprano); artists from The House That Dan Built (ensemble)
Jazz Work of the Year
Title: Trombone Song Cycle
Composer: Joshua Kyle and Andrew Murray
Performer: Joshua Kyle (voice), James Greening, James Macauley, Jordan Murray & Adrian Sherriff (trombones) with Andrew Murray (conductor)
Instrumental Work of the Year
Composer: Mary Finsterer
Performer: James Wannan (viola d'amore) and Christopher Pidcock (cello)
Orchestral Work of the Year
Title: Implacable Gifts (Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra)
Composer: Carl Vine
Performer: Kathryn Stott (piano), Piers Lane (piano), West Australian Symphony Orchestra with Rory Macdonald (conductor)
Publisher: Hal Leonard/Faber
Performance of the Year
Performer: Speak Percussion with Jessica Aszodi
Title: Atlas of the Sky
Composer: Liza Lim; texts by Bei Dao and Eliot Weinberger
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing MGB obo Ricordi Berlin
Award for Excellence by an Organisation
Zephyr Quartet for their 2018 activities and 20 years of sustained contribution to the local, national and international arts scene
Award for Excellence by an Individual
Lyn Williams for significant contribution to the creation and performance of choral music in Australia
Award for Excellence in Music Education
West Australian Symphony Orchestra for Crescendo, El Sistema-inspired free music education program
Award for Excellence in a Regional Area
Steel City Strings for activities in 2018 and commitment to new Australian music
Award for Excellence in Experimental Music
Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music for their ongoing contribution
Award for Excellence in Jazz
Ross McHenry for recording, international touring, residencies and commissions
2019 State and Territory Awards
Winners of State Awards are determined through a review process assessing all applications received for each state across all Award categories.
ACT Award for Excellence by an Organisation
Canberra International Music Festival for sustained creative excellence, exceptional growth and cultivation of Australian music
NSW Award for Excellence in Jazz
NT Award for Excellence in a Regional Area
Warren H. Williams, Michael Sollis and Barkly Arts for One Sky Many Stories, inspiring audiences as they explore their relationship to the night sky, Indigenous culture and the world around us
QLD Award for Excellence in Experimental Music
Leah Barclay for Listening Underwater, a large-scale experimental music and acoustic ecology project
SA Award for Excellence by an Individual
Gabriella Smart for activity in 2018
TAS Award for Excellence by an Individual
Brian Ritchie for sustained contribution to the Australian music sector as a performer, curator and mentor
VIC Award for Excellence by an Individual
Cat Hope for leadership in the composition, performance and education of new music in Australia
WA Jazz Work of the Year
Daniel Susnjar for Onward and Upward