Not a member yet? Join APRA AMCOS

Already started a Writer Member application? Continue

2023 Art Music Awards finalists announced

Media Published Wednesday 12 July 2023
Congrats to this year's finalists! Top row, L-R: The Cloud Maker, Omega Ensemble, Joe Twist. Middle: Meta Cohen, Paul Dean. Bottom: Mindy Meng Wang, Matthew Sheens, Liza Lim

APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre are thrilled to announce the finalists for the 2023 Art Music Awards, to be held on Tuesday 15 August at Carriageworks, Sydney, Gadigal land.

The Art Music Awards celebrates individuals, groups and organisations in the Australian music community, recognising excellence among Australia’s finest creators and performers in contemporary classical, jazz, experimental music and sound art.

Four finalists have been selected across eleven national categories, representing the excellence of Australian creators and practitioners as well as multi-dimensional, multi-cultural approaches and diverse perspectives within contemporary music making.

Cross-cultural exchange in music is a striking theme across the Awards finalists. Performed with Sydney-based Omega Ensemble, Dr Lou Bennett AM’s work nyernur, nyarkur – to see, to hear (Performance of the Year – Notated Composition) was developed as part of a close collaboration with Australian First Nations communities, while The Cloud Maker (Performance of the Year – Jazz/Improvised Music) – by Freya Schack-Arnott, Aviva Endean, Sunny Kim, Jasmin Wing-Yin Leung, Maria Moles and Te Kahureremoa Taumata – reflects contemporary Australian cross-cultural exchange through an experimental lens.

Multiple finalists also draw inspiration from international traditional and folk cultures. Both nominated for Performance of the Year – Jazz/Improvised Music, Christopher Hale and Woo Minyoung’s Ritual Diamonds draws from Korean rhythm and drumming style, while When by Daniel Janestch, Anita Quayle and Mindy Meng Wang combines ancient Chinese music improvisation and Western minimalism. Shervin Mirzeinali’s Paneb Zan pulls inspiration from traditional Iranian quilting processes, applying new perspectives on how sound is inscribed with culture.

Musical responses to access, pain and recovery are well-represented among the finalists this year. Both nominated for Work of the Year: Electronic/Sound Art, Rebecca Bracewell’s Spirals uncovers the hidden world of hearing aid feedback, while Zinia Chan’s Gaze Upon the Liquid Sky is a personal response to her own experience of spinal injury, paying homage to the Australian sky through field recordings of native fauna. Also responding to personal injury, Matthew SheensWritten in the Dark (Work of the Year – Jazz) places improvisation and performance approaches from the jazz tradition at the heart of the music.

Queer histories and experiences also play a thematic role in works among the finalists. Joe Twist’s Watershed: The Death of Dr Duncan (Work of the Year – Dramatic) is a moving commemoration of the drowning of the gay activist Dr Duncan, a collaboration with legendary theatre director Neil Armfield with libretto by Alana Valentine and Christos Tsiolkas. Meta Cohen’s Swerve (Work of the Year – Choral) presents a celebration of queerness, documenting the story of a Goulburn Valley Pride volunteer and LGBTQ+ Elder.

This year’s Awards features several creators nominated across numerous categories for multiple projects (Mindy Meng Wang, Paul Dean, Aviva Endean), and a number of first-time finalists. Creators including Emily-Rose Sarkova (Work of the Year – Jazz), Rebecca Bracewell, Liam Mulligan, Zinia Chan (Work of the Year – Electroacoustic/Sound Art), Kym Alexandra Dillon (Work of the Year – Large Ensemble) and many others represent an emerging cohort of outstanding Australian art music talent.

The 2023 Art Music Awards ceremony will also include the presentation of the Luminary Awards, recognising sustained contribution to Australian art music by individuals and organisations nationally and within each state or territory. There are no shortlists for these categories.

The Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music will also be presented, an honour determined by the APRA Board of Directors.