2020 Art Music Awards finalists announced

Tuesday, 11 Aug 2020

 A record number of nominations results in a vibrant showcase of Australian music.

APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre are excited to announce the 2020 Art Music Awards finalists: without question the most vibrant and surprising line-up of shortlisted artists, works and performances in the history of the Awards.
The Art Music Awards - an annual event celebrating achievements in the fields of composition, performance, education and presentation of Australian art music –returns with a new edge and new momentum after a reworking of categories and a simplified nomination process. 
This year’s Awards are streaming as a virtual event, premiering on APRA AMCOS’ YouTube channel on Tuesday 8 September, 7:00pm AEST.  
A record 278 nominations were received across 13 national categories, despite the pandemic locking states down just as the entries were about to close. It is the works and artists within the categories and on the shortlists, however, that reveal the sheer breadth of expression and creative vision in the art music community today.
A significant number of emerging composers from all over the country are making their mark in this year’s list of finalists. There’s also a powerful demonstration of the dedicated work beyond the largest metropolitan centres, and outside the professional organisations, in nurturing new Australian music and works.
The shortlisted compositions for the Work of the Year – Large Ensemble category are a case in point. Maria Grenfell’s Flinders and Trim, and Harry Sdraulig’s Icarus were both premiered by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra; James Ledger’s Viola Concerto was written for the West Australian Symphony Orchestra; and Kate Moore’s piano concerto Beatrice was commissioned by the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, a community orchestra from North Sydney. 
The Work of the Year – Choral category includes four works seemingly light-years apart: Julian Day’s A Civic Space was brought to life by community musicians from the Barossa, and on this shortlist they rub shoulders with choristers from the prestigious Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, who premiered Ross Edwards’s Singing the Love. The shortlist also includes Gordon Hamilton’s Requiem Recomposed, premiered by The Australian Voices and the Omega Ensemble, and Paul Stanhope and Steven Hawke’s I am Martuwarra, premiered by five youth choirs from all over Australia as part of the Gondwana World Choral Festival last year. 
The Work of the Year – Jazz shortlist in 2020 is a showcase of emerging and experienced artists from all over Australia, with works by Perth-based bassist Linda May Han Oh (Aventurine), Melbourne-based saxophonist Josh Kelly (Displacement), South Australian multi-instrumentalist and composer Adam Page (The Colours of Grief), and the Freedman-winning pianist with an international career, Aaron Choulai (Umi No Uzu).  
Compositions shortlisted in the new Work of the Year – Dramatic category remind us that 2019 was an incredible year for Australian opera. Luke Styles and Peter Goldsworthy’s Ned Kelly; Elliott Gyger and Pierce Wilcox’s Oscar and Lucinda; and Cat Hope’s Speechless are accompanied by Ekrem Eli Phoenix’s sonic composition for theatre/circus production Out Of Chaos by Gravity & Other Myths.­
Shortlisted for Work of the Year – Chamber Music are Natasha Anderson’s experimental ensemble work Cleave for 12 players (the maximum for this category); a large-scale solo piano work passing bells: day by Chris Dench; Brett Dean’s String Quartet No. 3: Hidden Agendas; and John Pax’s work Where The Quiet Rests for clarinet, trombone, tuba, violin, viola, cello, and 12-channel electronics.
A new category Work of the Year – Electroacoustic/Sound Art received a large number of competitive nominations. The shortlist comprises of four strong works, by Amanda Cole (Coronal Mass); Robin Fox and Erkki Veltheim in a Chamber Made Production (Diaspora); Fiona Hill (Imago); and Matthias Schack-Arnott (Everywhen).
There are two Performance of the Year categories in 2020. The shortlist for Performance of the Year Jazz – Improvised Music includes the Australian Art Orchestra’s performance of Peter Knight’s work The Plains; Joseph Franklin’s performance of his work Amen; Phil Slater Quintet’s performance of Slater’s The Cordeaux Mirror; and Sandy Evans’s Bridge of Dreams project as realised by Evans, Shubha Mudgal, Aneesh Pradhan and the Sirens Big Band.

The Performance of the Year  – Notated Composition shortlist consists of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Cathy Milliken’s Weave; percussionist Louise Devenish’s ‘Sheets of Sound’ program; Sydney Chamber Opera’s production of Gyger & Wilcox’s opera Oscar and Lucinda; and Zubin Kanga’s performance of Tristan Coelho’s Rhythm City

Finalists for the Award for Excellence in Music Education highlight the quality of work done around the country, with Australian Art Orchestra’s Creative Music Intensive residency program in Tasmania; Speak Percussion’s ‘Sounds Unheard’ education program, enabling young musicians to work with leading professional musicians; Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s Australian Composers’ School; and Netanela Mizrahi & Guwanbal Gurruwiwi’s the Djari Project. A double finalist in 2020, the Djari project draws on the traditional knowledge and songlines from the Galpu community of Galiwinku/Elcho Island, NT.
The Djari Project also made it to the Excellence in Regional Area shortlist, with other finalists the Bangalow Music Festival (NSW); Gillian Howell and Tura New Music’s Fitzroy Valley New Music Project; and Rae Howell’s Bee-Sharp Honeybee.
Excellence in Experimental Music finalists are Persian-Australian artist Gelareh Pour for her Garden Quartet project; The Music Box Project for ‘Shallow Listening’ which combined new compositions by emerging composers with earlier Australian work; Nat Grant’s advocacy and performance project FEED; and Zubin Kanga for his performances of Jon Rose’s Ballast, a work combining keyboard virtuosity with absurdist theatrical elements.
The 2020 Art Music Awards ceremony on 8 September will also include numerous new Luminary Awards, recognising sustained contributions by individuals and organisations. There are no shortlists in these categories. The Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music, as determined by the APRA Board of Directors, will also be presented.

Full list of finalists

Work of the Year- Choral
Title:                            A Civic Space
Composer:                  Julian Day
Performer:                   Musicians from the Barossa region
Title:                            I am Martuwarra
Composer:                  Paul Stanhope, text by Steve Hawke
Performer:                  Gondwana Choirs, Luminescence Chamber Singers, Valla Voices,
                                     Hunter Singers, and Resonance and Lyn Williams, conductor
Title:                            Requiem-Recomposed
Composer:                  Gordon Hamilton
Performer:                   Omega Ensemble and The Australian Voices
                                     and Gordon Hamilton, conductor
Title:                            Singing the Love
Composer:                  Ross Edwards
Performer:                   Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
                                     and Daniel Hyde, conductor
Publisher:                    BMG AM 
Work of the Year- Dramatic
Title:                            Ned Kelly
Composer:                  Luke Styles, librettist Peter Goldsworthy
Performer:                   Lost and Found Opera and Chris van Tuinen, conductor
Publisher:                    G Schirmer Australia
Title:                            Oscar and Lucinda
Composer:                  Elliott Gyger, librettist Pierce Wilcox
Performer:                   Sydney Chamber Opera and Jack Symonds, conductor
Title:                            Out of Chaos 
Composer:                  Ekrem Eli Phoenix 
Performer:                   Gravity and Other Myths 
Title:                            Speechless
Composer:                  Cat Hope
Performer:                  Judith Dodsworth, Karina Utomo, Tara Tiba, Sage Pbbbt (soloists),
                                     Australian Bass Orchestra, Decibel New Music Ensemble
                                     and Aaron Wyatt, conductor
Work of the Year - Jazz
Title:                             Aventurine       
Composer:                   Linda May Han Oh        
Performer:                    Linda May Han Oh, Greg Ward, Matt Mitchell, Ches Smith,
                                      Fung Chern Hwei, Sara Caswell, Benni von Gutzeit,
                                      Jeremy Harman, Invenio with Gian Slater, director
Title:                             Displacement
Composer:                   Josh Kelly                     
Performer:                    Josh Kelly, Niran Dasika, Aviva Endean, Mary Rapp,
                                      Jacques Emery and Maria Moles
Title:                             The Colours of Grief                
Composer:                   Adam Page                   
Performer:                   The Adam Page Ensemble        
Title:                             Umi No Uzu
Composer:                   Aaron Choulai               
Performer:                   Australian Art Orchestra, Aaron Choulai, Miyama McQueen-Tokita and Kojoe
Work of the Year – Large Ensemble
Title:                             Beatrice           
Composer:                   Kate Moore       
Performer:                   Vivian Choi, piano, Willoughby Symphony, and Fabian Russell, conductor
Publisher:                     Donemus Publishing BV
Title:                             Flinders and Trim
Composer:                   Maria Grenfell   
Performer:                   Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra,
                                      and Eivind Aadland, conductor
Title:                             Icarus
Composer:                   Harry Sdraulig   
Performer:                    Lloyd Hudson, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra,
                                       and Elena Schwarz, conductor
Title:                             Viola Concerto
Composer:                   James Ledger
Performer:                    Brett Dean, West Australian Symphony Orchestra
                                      and Fabien Gabel, conductor
Work of the Year- Chamber Music
Title:                             Cleave
Composer:                   Natasha Anderson        
Performer:                    Ensemble Offspring, International Contemporary Ensemble
                                       and Ensemble Adapter
Title:                             passing bells: day
Composer:                   Chris Dench
Performer:                    Alex Raineri
Title:                             String Quartet  no. 3: Hidden Agendas
Composer:                   Brett Dean        
Performer:                    Doric String Quartet
Publisher:                     Hal Leonard/Boosey & Hawkes Group
Title:                             Where The Quiet Rests           
Composer:                   John Pax          
Performer:                    WasteLAnd
Work of the Year- Electroacoustic/Sound Art
Title:                            Coronal Mass  
Composer:                  Amanda Cole  with lead artist Michaela Gleave,programmer Warren Armstrong, sound engineer Bob Scott and scientists Martin Connors and Ian Schofield
Title:                            Diaspora
Composer:                  Robin Fox and Erkki Veltheim in a Chamber Made Production  
Performer:                   Robin Fox, Erkki Veltheim, Madeleine Flynn, Georgie Darvidis, Tamara Saulwick (co-direction/dramaturgy) and Nick Roux (video artist)
Title:                            Everywhen
Composer:                  Matthias Schack-Arnott
Performer:                   Matthias Schack-Arnott
Title:                            Imago
Composer:                  Fiona Hill          
Performer:                   Lamorna Nightingale, Jane Sheldon and Fiona Hill
Performance of the Year – Jazz/Improvised Music
Performer:                   Australian Art Orchestra         
Title:                            The Plains 
Composer:                  Peter Knight
Performer:                   Joseph Franklin
Title:                             Amen 
Composer:                  Joseph Franklin
Performer:                   Phil Slater Quintet
Title:                            The Cordeaux Mirror
Composer:                  Phil Slater
Performer:                  Sandy Evans, Shubha Mudgal, Aneesh Pradhan
                                     and Sirens Big Band

Title:                            Bridge of Dreams 
Composer:                  Sandy Evans, Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan
Performance of the Year – Notated Composition
Performer:                   Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Douglas Boyd, conductor
Title:                             Weave
Composer:                   Cathy Milliken
Performer:                   Louise Devenish          
Title:                             ‘Sheets of Sound’
Composers:                 Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh, Matthias Schack-Arnott,
                                      Louise Devenish and Stuart James
Performer:                   Sydney Chamber Opera and Jack Symonds, conductor
Title:                             Oscar and Lucinda
Composer:                   Elliott Gyger, librettist Pierce Wilcox
Performer:                   Zubin Kanga    
Title:                             Rhythm City
Composer:                  Tristan Coelho  
Award for Excellence in Music Education 

  • Australian Art Orchestra for its Creative Music Intensive 
  • Netanela Mizrahi and Guwanbal Gurruwiwi for the Djari Project
  • Speak Percussion for Sounds Unheard Education Program
  • Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra for the Australian Composers’ School

Award for Excellence in a Regional Area

  • Bangalow Music Festival for its 2019 festival
  • Gillian Howell and Tura New Music for the Fitzroy Valley New Music Project
  • Netanela Mizrahi and Guwanbal Gurruwiwi for the Djari Project
  • Rae Howell for Bee-Sharp Honeybee

Award for Excellence in Experimental Music 

  • Gelareh Pour for Garden Quartet 
  • The Music Box Project for Shallow Listening 
  • Nat Grant for FEED
  • Zubin Kanga for 2019 Performances of Ballast by Jon Rose 

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