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Nigel Westlake to receive the Distinguished Services to the Australian Screen Award

Media Published Thursday 27 October 2022
Composer Nigel Westlake (photo - Steve Forrest)

Revered composer and conductor Nigel Westlake will receive the Distinguished Services to the Australian Screen Award at the 2022 Screen Music Awards.

Nigel's screen music credits include Babe, Ali's Weddings, Paper Planes, Miss Potter, Blueback and more.

The award will be presented to Nigel on Tuesday 15 November at the 2022 Screen Music Awards in Melbourne.

APRA AMCOS and the Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC) are honoured to announce revered Australian composer and conductor Nigel Westlake will receive the Distinguished Services to the Australian Screen Award at the 2022 Screen Music Awards.

Nigel Westlake's career has spanned more than four decades. Born in Perth, Western Australia, from the age of 17 he was touring the world as a freelance clarinettist, bass clarinettist, and saxophonist with ballet companies, a circus troupe, chamber music ensembles, fusion bands, and orchestras. He composed his first film score in 1989, and later was widely recognised with his score for the Oscar-nominated film Babe. Other film scores he composed include the feature films Ali's Wedding, Paper Planes, Miss Potter, Babe: Pig in the City, Children of the Revolution, and The Nugget, plus Imax films Antarctica, The Edge, Imagine and Solarmax. His television credits include documentaries, telemovies, news themes and station idents.

Nigel’s compositions have earned numerous accolades, including the Gold Medal at the New York International Radio Festival and 11 APRA Awards in the screen and classical music categories, two ARIA Awards and five AGSC Awards. He is a two-time winner of the prestigious Paul Lowin Orchestral prize and in 2013 was awarded an honorary doctorate in music by the University of NSW. In 2008 Nigel founded the Smugglers of Light Foundation with his family in memory of his son Eli, to promote cultural awareness and empowerment through music and film in Indigenous communities.

Nigel Westlake said: "For over three decades I have had the great privilege to be a part of an inspirational community of free-thinking storytellers who share a passion for bringing Australian stories to the screen. Working in film has enriched my life in so many different ways and I feel blessed to be able to love what I do and to do what I love. I am deeply humbled to be receiving the 2022 Distinguished Services to the Australian Screen Award and I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the APRA Board of Directors and the AGSC for considering me a worthy recipient.

APRA AMCOS CEO Dean Ormston said: "Nigel Westlake is a national treasure. His evocative scores and compositions fill screens and auditoriums, creating a third dimensional magic and richness all in a uniquely Australian way – he is a master. Nigel’s generosity of spirit is only matched by his humbleness. He is an enthusiastic collaborator, enormous supporter of the screen and broader composing community, and committed to philanthropy through the wonderful work of the Smugglers of Light Foundation. As a previous APRA Board member, and long since, Nigel’s influence and impact reaches far. We are very grateful for Nigel’s many decades of service to music and his contribution to Australia’s fast evolving reputation as a leading music creating nation."

Nigel’s most recent screen work sees him teaming up again with director, producer and screenwriter Robert Connolly, this time for feature film Blueback, based on the short story by Tim Winton. Robert will present Nigel this honour at the 2022 Award ceremony.

Joining Akina Edmonds and Anne Edmonds as Screen Music Awards co-host is Aaron Pedersen. Aaron is known for his various television roles including Detective Jay Swan in Mystery Road and its sequel Goldstone. His film credits include award winning Dead Heart and Tim Winton’s Dirt Music, amongst many others. Aaron has been nominated for numerous awards, and he’s taken home Deadly Awards in 2003 and 2011 for Male Actor of the Year. In February 2021, he was honoured at the G’Day USA gala for excellence in television, making him the first Indigenous recipient of the award.