2019 Art Music Awards Finalists Announced

Tuesday, 16 Jul 2019

Art music community celebrates their best and brightest, with a record number of nominations in the history of Art Music Awards

APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre are delighted to announce the 2019 Art Music Awards finalists. 
The finalists celebrate achievements in Australian contemporary classical, jazz and experimental music. The quantity, the quality and the variety of projects and works included makes a powerful statement about the rich range of talent and the sheer volume of creative work by today’s Australian art music practitioners.
Of particular importance in 2019 is the presence of several emerging names among the finalists; and the very healthy number of nominations for categories recognising achievement by organisations, educators and excellence in regional areas. This reinforces the importance of the annual Art Music Awards as the only event in Australia that specifically acknowledges achievements in the fields of composition, performance, education and presentation of Australian art music.
In an area where it has been challenging for female composers to secure commissions and performances, the finalists in the Orchestral Work of the Year category are Elena Kats-Chernin’s Piano Concerto no. 3 Lebewohl; Melody Eötvös’s Ruler of the Hive, Cathy Milliken’s DACCORD; and Carl Vine’s concerto for two pianos and orchestra, Implacable Gifts.
In the category of Vocal / Choral Work of the Year, Rachel Bruerville is on the finalists list with her work In Due Season – a fine achievement from the SA-based emerging composer. Alice Chance’s The Audience Choir, an exciting work involving participation by the audience wielding mobile phones; Andrew Ford’s orchestral song cycle The Drowners; and Damien Ricketson’s unconventional opera The Howling Girls complete the list.
The Instrumental Work of the Year finalists include Robert Davidson’s Stalin’s Piano; Mary Finsterer’s duet for viola d'amore and cello, Ignis; Andrew Ford’s String Quartet no.6; and Piano Sonata by Elizabeth Younan – a young NSW-based composer and an alumna of  Sydney Conservatorium's ’Composing Women’ program. 
Jazz Work of the Year finalists are Gratitude and Grief – a collaborative project by Katie Noonan, Zac Hurren, Stephen Magnusson and Michael Leunig, featuring spoken word, vocals, improvisation, and live drawing; young SA-based composer-pianist Brenton Foster’s cycle of modern jazz songs Love, As We Know ItJoshua Kyle and Andrew Murray’s Trombone Song Cycle (featuring four trombonists); and bassist-composer Ross McHenry’s Nothing Remains Unchanged.
Performance of the Year finalists in 2019 include the team behind Victorian Opera’s feminist retelling of the Lorelei legend; Taikoz, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and soloists for their performance of Lachlan Skipworth’s work Breath of Thunder; Speak Percussion and Jessica Aszodi for their performance of Liza Lim’s Atlas of the Sky; and Ray Chen and Julien Quentin for their performances of Matthew Hindson’s Violin Sonata no. 1 Dark Matteras part of their Musica Viva tour.
Categories recognising excellence by individuals, organisations and educators, excellence in the areas of experimental music and in jazz, and in regional areas, include a wide range of projects, from local to regional and national. 
The Art Music Awards winners in eleven national categories, as well as state or territory awards, will be announced on Monday 19 August at the Great Hall of the University of Sydney, with a live performance program curated by composer-pianist Barney McAll. MC extraordinaire Jonathan Biggins will return as the evening’s host. 
2019 Art Music Awards presented by 
APRA AMCOS and Australian Music Centre

Vocal / Choral Work of the Year
Title:                  In Due Season
Composer:       Rachel Bruerville; text by Valerie Volk
Performer:        Adelaide Chamber Singers
Title:                 The Audience Choir    
Composer:       Alice Chance
Performer:        Ensemble Offspring with audience participation
Title:                  The Drowners
Composer:        Andrew Ford; text by Tim Winton, George Barker, Georgiana Molloy, Bruce Dawe,
                           Stevie Smith and William Shakespeare
Performer:         Ruthless Jabiru, Morgan Pearse (baritone) & Kelly Lovelady (conductor) 
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:                   Gratitude and Grief
Composers:       Katie Noonan, Zac Hurren, Stephen Magnusson and Michael Leunig
Performers:        Elixir et al.
Title:                    Love, As We Know It
Composer:          Brenton Foster with Christopher Poindexter (lyricist)
Performers:         Brenton Foster, Gideon Brazil, Stephen Magnusson, Aaron McCollough
                              and Jordan Tarento
Title:                     Nothing Remains Unchanged
Composer:           Ross McHenry
Performer:            Ross McHenry Quartet feat. Eric Harland, Matthew Sheens and Ben Wendel
Title:                     Trombone Song Cycle
Composers:         Joshua Kyle and Andrew Murray
Performers:          Joshua Kyle (voice), James Greening, James Macauley, Jordan Murray &
                              Adrian Sherriff (trombones) and Andrew Murray (conductor)                        
Instrumental Work of the Year
Title:                       Ignis    
Composer:             Mary Finsterer  
Performers:            James Wannan (viola d’amore) and Christopher Pidcock (cello)
Title:                         Piano Sonata
Composer:              Elizabeth Younan         
Performer:               Joyce Yang
Title:                         Stalin’s Piano  
Composer:               Robert Davidson           
Performer:                Sonya Lifschitz
Title:                         String Quartet No. 6
Composer:               Andrew Ford     
Performer:                Flinders Quartet
Orchestral Work of the Year
Title:                         DACCORD: A diary of discourse
Composer:               Cathy Milliken   
Performers:             Jessica Aszodi, Vladimir Gorbach, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
                                  and Benjamin Northey (conductor)
Title:                         Implacable Gifts (Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra)    
Composer:               Carl Vine          
Performers:              Kathryn Stott (piano), Piers Lane (piano), West Australian Symphony Orchestra
                                  and Rory Macdonald (conductor)
Publisher:                 Hal Leonard/Faber
Title:                         Lebewohl (Piano Concerto No. 3)        
Composer:               Elena Kats-Chernin      
Performers:             Tamara-Anna Cislowska (piano), Queensland Symphony Orchestra
                                  and Alondra de la Parra (conductor)
Publisher:                 Hal Leonard/Boosey & Hawkes Group
Title:                         Ruler of the Hive         
Composer:               Melody Eötvös  
Performers:              Pamela Rabe (narrator),Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
                                   and Marko Letonja (conductor)
Performance of the Year
Performer:                Ali McGregor, Antoinette Halloran, Dimity Shepherd
                                  and the Victorian Opera Chamber Orchestra, Phoebe Briggs (musical director)
                                  and Sarah Giles (director)

Title:                          Lorelei
Composers:              Julian Langdon, Casey Bennetto & Gillian Cosgriff; librettists Bennetto and Cosgriff;
                                   concept by Ali McGregor
Performers:               Ray Chen & Julien Quentin
Title:                           Violin Sonata No. 1: Dark Matter
Composer:                 Matthew Hindson
Publisher:                  Hal Leonard/Faber
Performers:               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
Performers:                Taikoz, Riley Lee, Kaoru Watanabe, Sydney Symphony Orchestra
                                     and Gerard Salonga, conductor

Title:                            Breath of Thunder
Composer:                  Lachlan Skipworth
 Award for Excellence by an Organisation 

  • Canberra International Music Festival for sustained creative excellence, exceptional growth and cultivation of Australian music 
  • City Recital Hall for Extended Play Festival of New Music
  • Plexus for sustained and creative contribution to Australian music culture
  • 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

  • Brian Ritchie for sustained contribution to the Australian music sector as a performer, curator and mentor
  • Cat Hope for leadership in the composition, performance and education of new music in Australia
  • Lyn Williams for significant contribution to the creation and performance of choral music in Australia
  • Michelle Leonard for 25 years championing Australian Art music

Award for Excellence in Music Education 

  • Musica Viva Australia for Musica Viva In Schools long-term music residency program
  • Speak Percussion for the Sounds Unheard education program
  • Topology for Top Up music education program
  • West Australian Symphony Orchestra for Crescendo, El Sistema-inspired free music education program

Award for Excellence in a Regional Area

  • Moorambilla Voices for 2018 activities and ongoing commitment to cultural competency and the creation of art music for youth from remote and rural NSW
  • Queensland Symphony Orchestra for Gladstone Enrichment through Music program
  • Steel City Strings for activities in 2018 and commitment to new Australian music
  • 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.

 Award for Excellence in Experimental Music 

  • Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music for their ongoing contribution
  • Leah Barclay for Listening Underwater, a large-scale experimental music and acoustic ecology project
  • Speak Percussion for Polar Force, an investigation of wind, water and ice through sound
  • Thembi Soddell for Held Down, Expanding, an exploration of states of trauma and mental distress, and how these may be imagined sonically

Award for Excellence in Jazz 

  • Andrea Keller for new works, projects, recordings and educational output 
  • Jeremy Rose for high artistic excellence, and contribution to the creation, presentation and promotion of Australian jazz 
  • Niko Schauble for recording activities at Pughouse Studio
  • Ross McHenry for recording, international touring, residencies and commissions

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