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2023 Art Music Award winners

Media Published Tuesday 15 August 2023
Veronique Serret, Delmae Barton and William Barton - Photo Credit: Rhiannon Hopley

Winners include Paul Dean, Nat Bartsch and Omega Ensemble & Dr Lou Bennett AM

William Barton receives Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music

Presented by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre (AMC), the 2023 Art Music Awards winners have been announced in a ceremony at Carriageworks in Sydney, Gadigal land.

The winners and finalists of the 2023 Art Music Awards showcase the power of cross-cultural collaboration and the impact of music leadership and engagement with local communities around Australia, and the importance of supporting the creation of new work.

They include Omega Ensemble and Dr Lou Bennett AM, composer and clarinettist Paul Dean, the collaborators of The Cloud Maker, Iranian-Australian composer Shervin Mirzeinali, jazz musician and composer Nat Bartsch, Tasmania’s Alluvium, music educator and composer duo Laura Andrew and Elizabeth Jigalin for their work at Cobar High School and more.

The Awards recognise some of Australia’s finest established and emerging artists in art music and acknowledge the achievements of composers, performers, educators and leaders in contemporary classical music, jazz, improvisation, electronic and sound art and experimental practice.

“Many of this year’s finalists noted that their work was made possible from funding during the pandemic. The silver lining of that difficult period is now clear. It also affirms what we already know; give artists the time, space and resources to do great things, and they will,” said Dean Ormston, APRA AMCOS CEO and Catherine Haridy, Australian Music Centre CEO.

The winners of both performance categories demonstrated an active cross-cultural approach to music making. Performance of the Year – Notated Composition was awarded to Omega Ensemble and Dr Lou Bennett AM for their performance of Dr Lou Bennett AM’s work nyernur, nyarkur - to see, to hear, recognised for technical abundance, trust and meaningful reconciliation. Performance of the Year – Jazz/Improvised Music was awarded to Freya Schack-Arnott, Aviva Endean, Sunny Kim, Jasmin Wing-Yin Leung, Maria Moles, and Te Kahureremoa Taumata for their work The Cloud Maker, which blends a unique combination of instruments and represents a wide array of cultural and musical practices.

Work of the Year – Choral was presented to Heather Percy for Three Night Songs, performed by Sydney Chamber Choir and conducted by Sam Allchurch.

Shervin Mirzeinali received the award for Work of the Year – Dramatic for his work Panbe Zan, an imaginative theatrical work which explores the traditional Iranian craft of cotton beating.

First-time winner, composer and pianist Nat Bartsch received Work of the Year – Jazz for Busy/Quiet, which triumphantly evokes an individual voice whilst broadening the jazz tradition.

Paul Dean was named as the recipient of Work of the Year – Large Ensemble for his sonically colourful work, Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra.

Lachlan Skipworth’s Pine Chant was named Work of the Year – Chamber Ensemble, showcasing clever and thoughtful integration of electronic and live instruments while making sense of ecological issues unfolding around us.

Work of the Year – Electroacoustic/Sound Art was presented to Rebecca Bracewell, who produced an intricately complex work in Spirals, which uncovers the hidden world of hearing aid feedback.

Three Excellence Award categories were given to site-specific and community-based projects. Excellence in Experimental Practice was awarded to Eve Klein for City Symphony, a Brisbane sound walk revolutionising audiences’ engagement with urban environments, underpinned by an ethos of collaborative inclusivity and accessibility.

Music educator and composer duo Laura Andrew and Elizabeth Jigalin received the award for Excellence in Music Education for the Sound and Stories project at Cobar High School, engaging students with popular song, field recordings and oral local history.

Excellence in a Regional Area was awarded to Alluvium, the experimental duo of Paul Corfiatis and Aaron Hopper for the Paper on Skin soundtrack, a collaborative project that integrated with the fashion and paper-making industries of north-west Tasmania.

The Luminary Award for a National Individual was presented to Roland Peelman AM for sustained service to Australian music as a conductor, pianist, artistic director and mentor to composers, singers, and instrumentalists, notably through his work with The Song Company and the Canberra International Music Festival.

The Luminary Award for a National Organisation was presented to Moorambilla Voices for its long-term commitment to creating Australian art music with and for young people in regional NSW.

State and territory-based Luminary Awards were presented to individuals and organisations who made significant contributions for their local communities: AJ America (ACT), SIMA (NSW), MADE NOW MUSIC (QLD), Creative Original Music Adelaide (SA), Julius Schwing (TAS), Miranda Hill (VIC), and Tone List (WA).

The Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music was presented to William Barton, recognising his trailblazing contributions to Australian music, broadening horizons for the didgeridoo and the culture and landscape it represents.

The 2023 Art Music Awards were hosted by Monica Trapaga with guest presenters Nardi Simpson and Sonya Holowell. Live musical performances were curated by Barney McAll, which featured William Barton with Veronique Serret (violin), Sam Anning (bass), Matthew Hoy (cello) and Barton’s mother and frequent collaborator, Aunty Delmae Barton; Australian-American experimental art rock band Liars, saxophonist Tessie Overmyer with jazz quintet Omega Ensemble.

APRA AMCOS and the AMC congratulate all 2023 Art Music Award winners on their outstanding achievements and contributions.

View the full list of winners