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Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Johnny Dennis Music Award

Media Published Friday 10 December 2021

Four talented composers have been chosen as the 2021 winners for the biennial Johnny Dennis Music Award, being awarded with $5,000 each.

They join a talented roll call of Australian composer recipients of the legacy left by the late Dennis John Mole, known as Johnny Dennis, over the past three decades the awards have been held.


Cash awards of $5,000 each will be bestowed on APRA AMCOS members Kate Lucas, Robbie Melville, Chiara Cimilio and David Megarrity. These composers work across diverse areas of music composition and performance and have used the time over the past 2 years to develop their composing work while performances, tours and creative collaborations have been put on hold.

AGSC President, Antony Partos said of the winners: “I am thrilled to learn about the four composers selected for this years’ Johnny Dennis Music Awards. I wish the winners every success for their projects and look forward to hear the final results and how their work is shared with the wider community."

APRA AMCOS member Kate Lucas, a Victorian-based composer and songwriter, plans to use her award prize money to promote a new album of music she is releasing and pitching to publishers and record labels, under the name Coda Chroma. Speaking of the award, she noted: “Receiving this award in recognition of my songwriting means so much to me! I feel so encouraged, and excited about being able to share my music more broadly thanks to the funding support this award provides.”

Composer, performer and APRA AMCOS member David Megarrity from Queensland will also put his prize money towards recording and releasing a new album of ukulele and double bass music, String, with his performance duo Tyrone and Lesley. He noted the award “recognises the kind of music and songs that don’t sit neatly in drop-down lists of genre and style. Light music for dark times. That’s the kind of music we need.”

Guitarist and APRA AMCOS member Robbie Melville from Victoria plans to use the funds to record, release, promote and tour a new album of jazz-inspired music, written for solo guitar, the result of composing at home during the many lockdowns of 2020-2021; while emerging composer, songwriter, musician and APRA AMCOS member Chiara Cimilio from Sydney, will also use her award prize for the promotion and release of new work under her alter ego Mami Baby. When told of the win, she said: “...this award has allowed me such greater means to continue crafting my art to the best of my ability. I’m honoured to be given this opportunity and I’m so excited to share what’s to come.”

The four join a long list of past winners including award-winning screen composers Allyson Newman, Brett Aplin, Pru Montin, recent ARIA nominee Nat Bartsch and noted jazz artist Phillip Johnston.