2006 Winners

Popular Contemporary - Amira Pyliotis

Alice Springs based singer/songwriter Amira Pyliotis draws inspiration from the dramatic landscape of the Northern Territory for her unique musical style. Amira's influences are diverse, ranging from contemporary roots, to jazz and traditional Middle Eastern music. She has trained in classical singing at the Australian Guild of Music and Jazz Theory, and studied composition and guitar under Maestro Jo Papparone, at the Melbourne Music Academy.

Amira's 2005 impressive debut EP 'City Folk' became a favourite of community and alternative radio stations. Together with Ben Lee, she was one of only two Australian acts selected to play at Berlin's prestigious Popkomm festival. In what became a whirlwind tour of Europe, Amira was also selected to perform in The Famous Spiegeltent at the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe Festival."

Amira has already commenced recording the follow-up to her 'City Folk' with plans to license and distribute in the Australian, French and UK markets. She also plans to take time out from the studio to tour Australia and overseas.

The APRA Professional Development Award will help Amira further her career in the European market. Amira intends to use the cash component to travel to London and Europe to develop her composition skills, establish contacts within the industry and build her overall understanding of the European market.

Popular Contemporary - Damian Crosbie

Damian Crosbie's ambition is to become a self sufficient full time artist. In 2004, as founding member of The Panda Band, he wrote, recorded, produced and performed all the songs on their independent single 'Eyelashes'. 'Eyelashes' was nominated for the Indie Pop/Rock category of WAMI Song of The Year in 2004 and was placed on rotation at Triple J.

The Panda Band was one of the main acts at the 2005 WAMI Festival Concert at The Capitol in Perth. Damian and the band have also been invited to perform at the inaugural Brighton England Festival later this year and The Great Escape Festival, Sydney, in April.

In 2005 "Sleepy Little Death Toll Town" placed in Triple J's Hottest 100 and is featured on Triple J's Hottest 100 Volume 10 CD. Rolling Stone magazine named him as one of the "Top 10 artists to watch out for in 2005".

Damian intends to use his APRA Professional Development Award to collaborate with, compose and write for, other performers and recording artists. He is interested in soundtrack, remix and production work. In addition he hopes to network with TV stations to increase the profile of Australian artists.

Film & TV - Ashley Klose

Film and TV music composer, Ashley Klose, has an impressive portfolio of compositions including: 50 short films, 48 television commercials (24 international), plus documentaries for SBS, ABC, Channel 7, NWS 9 and numerous computer games (including titles for Sony Playstation 2).

In 2002, Ashley received a Best Feature Film Score nomination at Australian Guild of Screen Composer's Awards for his first feature film score. He won an APRA / AGSC Screen Music Award in 2003 for the South Australian Film Corporation 30 Year Anniversary Cinema Trailer and was nominated again in 2004 for the South Australian Film Corporation 'Oceans To Outback" DVD.

Ashley was also recognised at the 2004 Tropfest International Film Festival as the winner of Best Music Score Award in addition for two AFI Award nominations for his compositions 'Fritz Gets Rich' and 'Azadi'.

Ashley is in his final stages of completing his Masters Degree in Music Composition at The Elder Conservatorium at the University of Adelaide. He intends to use his APRA Professional Development Award to travel overseas to attend and participate in film & television music seminars and workshops.

Classical - Natalie Williams

Natalie Williams, a Melbourne based composer, recently completed a Masters Degree in Composition at the University of Melbourne following a Bachelor of Music at the University of Adelaide. She is also a Musicology First Class Honours graduate from the Elder Conservatorium. Natalie has studied under Brenton Broadstock, Graeme Koehne, and John Polglase.

In 2005 Natalie was commissioned by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for their Metropolis series which premiered to critical acclaim. She also composed a new Viola Concerto, commissioned by Arts Musica Australis, for the Australian Youth Orchestra's 2005 Young Symphonists Program. In addition, Natalie is the commissioned composer for the 2006 Lyrebird Commission from the British Music Society in Melbourne.

Natalie intends to use her APRA Professional Development Award to undertake doctoral level postgraduate study in music theory and composition offered at several overseas universities. She is also pursuing research opportunities and training courses through Harvard and Yale to expand and develop her existing skills as a composer and music theory specialist.

Jazz - Johannes Luebbers

Johannes Luebbers began playing the piano at the age of 10 and studied classical piano for 8 years before taking up jazz studies. With a passion for composition, in 2002 he took part in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's (MSO) Young Composers program and his composition, Green Lantern, was recorded by the MSO.

In 2004 Johannes was commissioned by WAYJO to write a piece for the orchestra's 2006 trip to New York to play at the International Association for Jazz Educators annual conference. He is also the composer for the new dance teaching syllabus WAPAM, and has also been working closely with the band Bojeme, having written the music for upcoming performances for the Rugby.

Johannes majored in Jazz Composition at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and was the recipient of the Toyota Melville Scholarship. He is now completing his Honours year, majoring in composition with Graeme Lyall and Cat Hope. As part of this program he will go on exchange to the University of Miami.

Country - Tom Curtain

A trip to the Northern Territory in 2001 inspired Tom Curtain to start writing his own songs about life in the bush. In June the following year, Tom won the Best Male Vocal category at the Adelaide River Country Music Festival and gained entry to the CMAA College of Country Music course in Tamworth. At the college, Tom met renowned country musician Garth Porter and went on to record an album of twelve original songs.

At the 2006 Tamworth Country Music Festival, Tom made gave several performances including the Fanfest series of concerts, the Tiara Awards Concert, the Buttercup Concert, The Vault, the Territory Night and his own very successful show with Martin Oakes.

In the months ahead Tom intends to start recording his next album, in between horse breaking commitments! He intends to use his APRA Professional development award to expand his experience and skills in song writing and performing.

Jessica Michalik Music Endowment - Sarah Kelly

Sarah Kelly always knew she wanted to play music. As a child she sang in choirs and played the piano. At 14 Sarah discovered the guitar and instead of learning to play other people's songs she immediately began writing her own.

Influenced by prominent female musicians such as PJ Harvey, Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Kim Deal (the Pixies), Adalita (Magic Dirt) and Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star). Sarah spent most of her late teens writing and demo-ing songs that would eventually make up the debut album for her three piece, theredsunband.

Recorded with the help of Magic Dirt's Dean Turner, theredsunband's Peapod, was released in 2004 to rave reviews. This critical success was backed up by two years of touring nationally with bands like Gersey, End of Fashion, Little Birdy, and Love Outside Andromeda, as well as a spot at the 2005 Sydney Big Day Out.

With the Jessica Michalik endowment, Sarah plans to write more material for theredsunband and to also develop and expand her skills through co-writing with other Australian songwriters such as Adalita, and the Brisbane folk collective The Gin Club - all of which will no doubt confirm her place as a creative force in the Australian music industry.

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