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2024 Art Music Awards finalists announced

Media Published Thursday 11 July 2024
Clockwise from Top Left: Callum G’Froerer and Olivia Davies, Gemma Horbury, Linda May Han Oh and Zöe Barry

APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre (AMC) are thrilled to announce the finalists of the 2024 Art Music Awards, to be held on Wednesday 14 August at Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne/ Naarm.

The Art Music Awards is an annual celebration of the national art music community, recognising excellence among creators, performers, and community leaders in contemporary classical, jazz, experimental music and sound art.

Four finalists selected in eleven categories

From nominations submitted by peers and audience members, four finalists have been selected for each of the eleven categories spanning composition, performance, and community engagement and leadership. The finalists are celebrated as representing excellence at the frontiers of art music, including works of interdisciplinary collaborations, contemporary sonic language, rich storytelling of the power of nature and human endeavours.

A powerful undercurrent

Storytelling is a powerful undercurrent through the nominated works, with several paying homage to the Earth’s ecological wonders. Genevieve Lacey’s sound installation Breathing Space (nominated for Work of the Year: Electroacoustic/Sound Art) offers a collage of sounds revealing the calls and deep stirrings of Country. Gemma Horbury’s The Story of Here (nominated for Excellence in Experimental Practice) is a “game” for narrator and improvising ensemble exploring the planet’s evolutionary history. Staged with dramaturgy, Chamber Made’s The Nervous Atmosphere by Zoë Barry (nominated for Work of the Year: Dramatic) revisits three lived encounters with lightning, and Linda May Han Oh’s Ephemeral Echoes (nominated for Work of the Year: Jazz) evokes the transience of flickering fireflies and the Aurora Borealis among its eight movements.

Cutting edge technology

The application of cutting-edge technology in music continues to push boundaries in how we create and experience music. Finalists for Excellence in Music Education, The Sonicrats (Alon Ilsar, Ciaran Frame, and Erick Mitsak) used AirSticks technology to enable students to create music and sound through physical movement. Work of the Year: Electroacoustic/Sound Art finalist Ben Carey’s METASTABILITY was composed and performed on the 1975 La Trobe Serge ‘Paperface’, a colossal modular synthesiser that shapes human and non-human collaboration.

Ngulmiya and Maharshi Raval, performing at the Art Music Awards, 2023. Photo: Rhiannon Hopley

Finalists in multiple categories

Two works have earned finalist status in multiple categories. Mary Finsterer’s choral epic Stabat Mater – which features pre-recorded narration by actor Mel Gibson – is in the running to win Work of the Year: Choral and Performance of the Year: Notated Composition. Tura’s intercultural project The Journey Down is a finalist in the categories of Work of the Year: Dramatic, Performance of the Year: Jazz/Improvised Music and Award for Excellence in a Regional Area – showcasing a collaborative endeavour between Chris Griffiths, Andrew Daylight, Preben Ningarmarra, Mark Atkins, Aviva Endean, Vanessa Tomlinson and Tristen Parr.

Artists going from strength to strength

Notably, finalists also include artists who are going strength to strength since last year’s Awards. After her first Art Music Awards win in 2023, rising star Olivia Davies is a finalist in Work of the Year: Electroacoustic/Sound Art with collaborator Callum G’Froerer for Gradient. Mindy Meng Wang earns finalist status once again for the Award for Excellence in Experimental Practice and Performance of the Year: Jazz/Improvised Music for her collaboration with Paul Grabowsky AO. Joe Twist returns as a finalist for Work of the Year: Choral for Winchester Canticles.

Orchestral works shine

Orchestral works dominate the Performance of the Year: Notated Composition
category, with three of Australia’s major orchestras featuring among all four finalists. Art music veterans Brenton Broadstock, Maria Grenfell, Elliott Gyger, and Elena Kats-Chernin
also earn finalist accolades alongside emerging voices in Australian art music, with the inclusion of first-time finalists Helen Svoboda, John Rotar, Jack Frerer, Yunyu Ong earning their stripes.

Major honours

The 2024 Art Music Awards will also present the Luminary Awards, recognising sustained contribution to Australian art music by individuals and organisations nationally and within each state and territory. There are no shortlists for these categories. A major honour, the Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music will be presented to an individual determined by the APRA and AMC Boards of Directors.

Laura Andrew accepting the Award for Excellence in Music Education for Cobar High School's Sounds & Stories, Art Music Awards, 2023. Photo: Rhiannon Hopley