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Q & A: why you should apply for a grant from the Art Music Fund

Tip Published Tuesday 11 January 2022
L-R: Dylan Lardelli (top), Dan Thorpe (bottom), Maria Moles (top), Connor D'Netto (bottom)

Applications for 2022 Art Music Fund grants are now open

Applications for the awards close at 5pm AEDT Thursday 16 February 2022

Past winners Dylan Lardelli, Dan Thorpe, Maria Moles and Connor D'Netto share their words of encouragement.


Australian and New Zealand art music composers are invited to apply for a $5,000 (AUD) Art Music Fund grant to help them bring exciting new works to life. Eleven grants will be allocated to nine Australian and two New Zealand composers, respectively.

The Art Music Fund is an initiative of APRA AMCOS, in partnership with the Australian Music Centre and, for the first time, SOUNZ.

The funding is available for the creation of commissioned work that is innovative, displays professional compositional craft and represents a benchmark of excellence in its field. The intention is to support composers to create works with a long artistic and performance life - whether it is presented in a concert hall, via live stream, filmed, as a recording, installation or other formats.

We asked previous recipients what receiving an Art Music Fund grant meant to them, how it helped propel their musical career, and for tips on applying - whether it's your first time or a few tries in.



Dylan Lardelli - 2017 Art Music Fund recipient, NZ

How did receiving a grant from the Art Music Fund at that particular time in your career help you out?

The APRA Art Music Fund grant offered me both important assistance and space to create my new work, as well as providing a framework to cement my relationship with the ensemble I wrote for. In retrospect, this particular time formed the foundations of an ongoing, and thriving relationship with those musicians, which the APRA award enabled

What did the having the recognition of the Art Music Fund mean to you professionally?

The recognition gained from the Art Music Fund provided a welcomed, and beneficial addition to my artistic curriculum vitae, which has served me well in securing further project interest, and backing. It also provided meaningful validation for my artistic work.

What are your words of advice to someone applying for the first time AND/OR giving it another try?

My advice to others applying for the Art Music Fund award is to have a firm conceptual foundation and organised timeline, on which the award's support will enable the rounding off of your project. Also, undertakings which facilitate in highly professional displays of your work, and supply you with artistic growth are important.


Dan Thorpe - 2016 Art Music Fund recipient, SA

How did receiving a grant from the Art Music Fund at that particular time in your career help you out?

Christ, absolutely. I really can’t imagine how my career would’ve looked if I didn’t end up getting the AMF when I did. The AMF commissioned my piece false cognate, a semi-improvised, animated(ish) notation piece for electric guitar and flute. I’ve pretty much lost track of how many performances it’s had at this point, which is great, but what really made the AMF impactful was that I was able to reinvest those funds into my career — instead of just relying on my day job as a bartender — meaning I could bankroll some overseas performances and a summer school that ended up forming some of my most important professional connections.
I think, especially as a young artist (and a dropkick one at that), having the bonus dollarydoos AND the vote of confidence in my work was the combo that really elevated what I did from “belovèd Adelaide weirdo” to “emerging composer with a national profile who people know about outside of the dozen people who come and see me make weird noises in pubs”. Beyond that, I could also just like, afford food and shit, which was pretty dope

What did the having the recognition of the Art Music Fund mean to you professionally?

It definitely gave my grants a certain spice, a certain Jo Jo Siwa [imagine me pronouncing this like je ne sais quoi or the joke doesn’t work], if you will. I think especially as someone from a place that’s not Melbourne or Sydney, with a fairly bizarre practice, it’s tricky for people on panels/programmers/musicians to have heard of you and/or your work; having the AMF felt like people were suddenly like “oh, that guy!” when I chucked my name in the hat for stuff.

What are your words of advice to someone applying for the first time AND/OR giving it another try?

LOOK, let’s be honest with each other for a moment. It’s been a shit couple of years, we’re all feeling relatively garbage and staring at a less populated CV than we would like, and… look, I’m broke, I imagine a few of you are too. It can be difficult to convince yourself getting your shit together for stuff like this is worthwhile, especially while exhausted and living through, like, our nth consecutive apocalypse.
But honestly, give yourself a bloody vote of confidence. I bet your work slaps, there’s a good chance others think so too. Which, given the way the AMF works, means even if you don’t end up with the grant you’ll have had to find performers who want to give your work a crack — and that’s still worth quite a lot. It’s a win-win.
Failing that push of self esteem, I dunno, chuck me a twitter DM or something and I’ll send you either lightly encouraging or lightly threatening messages (your choice) until the application is in. Deal?


Maria Moles - 2020 Art Music Fund recipient, Vic

How did receiving a grant from the Art Music Fund at that particular time in your career help you out?

Applying for the Art Music Fund allowed me to plan my project and the release to achieve longevity and sustainability. Receiving the funding helped me create and plan for the future during the financial hardship of the lockdown in 2020.

What are your words of advice to someone applying for the first time AND/OR giving it another try?

Try to make your project have longevity and think about what you would like to achieve through your release - whether investing in PR or booking international/national tours, having support from festivals or media etc. Get started on the application early to think of the different ways you can achieve this.


Connor D'Netto - 2018 Art Music Fund recipient, QLD

How did receiving a grant from the Art Music Fund at that particular time in your career help you out?

Support from the Art Music Fund came just at the right moment, helping me to find my feet as I transitioned out of my studies into full-time work as a composer.

What did the having the recognition of the Art Music Fund mean to you professionally?

The recognition from APRA AMCOS alongside such a fantastic pool of past recipients has been hugely beneficial, helping to build my professional profile and spread my work throughout the Australian music community.

What are your words of advice to someone applying for the first time AND/OR giving it another try?

Often less is more – be succinct, clear about what your objectives, output and outcomes are, and put your best foot forward.