Important changes to categories and nomination process for 2020 Art Music Awards

Thursday, 20 Feb 2020

Nominations extended to 25 March!

Art Music Specialist Cameron Lam shares the exciting changes ahead

The Art Music Awards aim to honour the music, the people, and the organisations that make up Australia's diverse and vibrant art music landscape. We celebrate our achievements as a community and applaud those who create, communicate, and inspire our shared practice.

Founded in 1988 as the Sounds Australian Awards, our annual celebration has evolved and changed over time to meet the needs of the art music sector and to reflect its constituents and their achievements accurately. New categories have been introduced for jazz and experimental music, and, over the years, we've also seen the retirement of various categories.

In 2020, the Art Music Awards evolve again to embrace broader categories for Work of the Year, to achieve a multi-genre approach to Performance of the Year and Excellence categories, and to introduce new sustained contribution Luminary Awards on both national and state levels.  

A more simplified nominations process is also being introduced, with a call-out to nominate a work, individual or organisation with a short statement in support. The nominated entities will then be notified by the awards committee and asked to submit the required information to be considered as a finalist. Further details at the end of the article.

Art Music Awards will be back in Melbourne in September 2020. Looking forward to it!

Work of the Year

The number of Work of Year categories has expanded to give a dedicated space for electronic works (under Electroacoustic/Sound Art), and to works for the theatre such as opera, music theatre, and ballet (under the Dramatic category). Vocal, instrumental and orchestral works will now be assessed based on number of forces with 1 to 12 players defined as Chamber Music, and larger works as Large Ensemble. Works for choir will remain as a separate category (Choral).

Previous  Art Music Awards 2020
Vocal/Choral Work of the Year Work of the Year: Choral
Instrumental Work of the Year Work of the Year: Chamber Music
Orchestral Work of the Year Work of the Year: Large Ensemble
N/A Work of the Year: Dramatic
N/A Work of the Year: Electroacoustic / Sound Art
Jazz Work of the Year Work of the Year: Jazz

As in previous years, a particular piece can only be considered in a single category so in the case of multiple options, such as a choral work with strong elements of jazz, the composer will elect in which category the work will be considered (Jazz or Choral).

In order to be eligible, the work must have been premiered (either in live performance, by broadcast, or digital dissemination) in 2019 only.

Performance of the Year, and Excellence Awards

Performance of the Year expands to two categories, noting the difference in realising a composer's intent (Performance of the Year: Notated Composition) and devising and creating new content (Performance of the Year: Jazz / Improvised Music).

The Awards for Excellence (Music EducationRegional and Experimental Music) remain structurally the same, but with an increased focus on inclusivity - these categories are for our jazz and experimental communities as well as our classical community and we welcome diverse nominations.

Previous Art Music Awards 2020
Performance of the Year Performance of the Year: Notated Composition
Excellence in Jazz Performance of the Year: Jazz / Improvised Music
Award for Excellence in Music Education Award for Excellence in Music Education
Award for Excellence in a Regional Area Award for Excellence in a Regional Area
Award for Excellence in Experimental Music Award for Excellence in Experimental Music

Luminary Awards (National & State)

Finally, the Awards for Excellence by an Individual, Organisation and the State Awards are being combined into a new group of awards: the Luminary Awards.

The Luminary Awards seek to honour individuals and organisations who through sustained contribution (demonstrated over a period of the last 3-5 years), have impacted their communities through visionary leadership, fearless trailblazing, and engagement with their Australian art music repertoire. The Awards will be presented on state level (State Awards) and nationally in the categories of National (Individual) and National (Organisation).

Unlike in previous years, State Awards will be specifically nominated for, focusing on the nominee's contribution to their local community. Due to the longer period assessed, winners of the Luminary Awards are ineligible in their category for the next three years. Only recipients for these awards will be announced, there are no finalists for these awards.

Previous Art Music Awards 2020
Award for Excellence by an Individual Luminary Awards – National (Individual)
Award for Excellence by an Organisation Luminary Awards – National (Organisation)
State Awards Luminary Awards – State Awards

Nomination Process

Nominations open Thursday 27 February and close 5pm AEDT, Wednesday 25 March 2020 - extended deadline!

How to Nominate:

Nominating is now simpler than ever!

STEP 1: To nominate you need to be either:

  • A member of APRA AMCOS (Composer, Author, or Publisher member)
  • A financial member of the Australian Music Centre (you can join here)

STEP 2: Provide essential information (Category, Name of nominee, etc.)

STEP 3: Write a short paragraph on why you’re nominating


Please note that you cannot self-nominate in any category

If you’ve been nominated:

We’ll be in touch via email shortly after nominations close.

STEP 1: Confirm you’d like to be nominated, or select which nomination if there are multiple options in a single category

STEP 2: Submit all requested Support Material (see the guidelines for the list of materials for each category).

STEP 3: Provide any Press Material (additional photos, videos, or biographical information) to be used if selected as a finalist.


Submissions must be received by 5pm AEDT, Friday 24 April 2020 

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