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27 August 2020

2020 Art Music Awards: Distinguished Services Award to Ros Bandt

Ros Bandt Image: Ros Bandt  
© Arthur McDevitt

Composer, sound artist and scholar Ros Bandt will receive the Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music at the 2020 Art Music Awards, in a virtual ceremony streamed on YouTube on Tuesday 8 September. Also announced today, the team of co-hosts for the ceremony, and details of the performance program curated by Barney McAll.

Dr Ros Bandt has created a unique and globally recognised body of work over four decades, with some 40 major installations, sound sculptures and numerous intercultural and inter-disciplinary collaborations. Through her art, she has approached a wide array of acoustic spaces, from water tanks and industrial stacks to vast landscapes and ancient, sacred sites, recording their layers of stories and their many voices, past and present. Dr Bandt's pioneering work provides us with keys to our own identities, and with tools to understanding culturally complex societies. Her aeolian harps sing country in her acoustic sanctuary in Jaara Jaara bushland.

Her major commissions over the years include works for the prestigious Paris Autumn festival, the Studio of Acoustic Art at WDR-Cologne, ORF in Vienna, and the Melbourne Recital Centre. In addition to the Don Banks Music Award (1990), she has received the inaugural Benjamin Cohen Peace Prize in the USA, the Sound Art Australia Prize presented by ABC and the Goethe Institute, and the NFSA Fanny Cochrane Award for sound heritage. A skilled multi-instrumentalist, and passionate advocate of the Tarhu, a unique Australian instrument, Bandt is also a founding member of several performing ensembles. At the University of Melbourne she established Australia's first online gallery for sound designs in public space in Australia, funded through her 3rd Australian Research Council grant. She is in demand as a keynote speaker and featured artist, at home and internationally.

Dr Bandt said, "I am honoured and privileged to receive this award. It belongs to all Australians, old and new, who have dared to 'sound spaces' together in this ancient, sung land. The acoustic resonance of all we do is a barometer of Australian culture, presences, absences, reaching back into the dreamtime, an evolving consciousness of deep time. Let's keep divining a new uncharted music together, courageously weaving stories and songs of difference as they evolve through compassion and understanding, listening to each other and being guided by the ancient wisdom of Indigenous elders on whose land we are living. I am proud to live in a country where Fanny Cochrane Smith led the way forward, recording her Tasmanian songs in language as early as 1903 on a wax cylinder."

You can read more about Ros Bandt's work in Linda Kouvaras's in-depth article, published today on Resonate, and this earlier article by Ros Bandt, now republished with sound samples from several installations.

The performance program for the 2020 virtual ceremony has been curated by musical director Barney McAll and will include music by four of this year's finalists: Robin Fox & Erkki Veltheim (Work of the Year: Electroacoustic/Sound Art), and two virtuosi from Western Australia: percussionist Louise Devenish (Performance of the Year: Notated Composition) and composer & bassist Linda May Han Oh (Work of the Year: Jazz). The final performance of the evening will feature poetry slam champion Melanie Munuggurr-Williams and multi-talented producer Beatrice Lewis.

The team of three co-hosts for the evening will comprise the incomparable comedian & actor Jonathan Biggins; Dr Lou Bennett AM - performer, songwriter and composer, artistic director, actor and educator from the Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung people in Echuca, Victoria; and Zela Margossian, an ARIA-nominated pianist whose original music fuses jazz with influences from her Armenian heritage.

> Art Music Awards finalists announcement (11 August). See also the Awards subpage for background information and previous winners and the press release on the APRA AMCOS website.

> Linda Kouvaras: 'Ros Bandt: Sound-Sculptor/ Poet-Protector/ Crusader of the Land' (Resonate 27 August 2020)

> Ros Bandt: 'Hearing Australian identity - Sites as acoustic spaces, an audible polyphony' (2001 article, republished on Resonate 27 August 2020). Read also Melinda Barrie's article about Bandt's collaborative works with Johannes S Sistermanns (Resonate 9 May 2012).

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