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21 August 2023

2023 Art Music Awards: What the Judges Said

Monica Trapaga congratulates Nat Bartsch on winning Work of the Year: Jazz Image: Monica Trapaga congratulates Nat Bartsch on winning Work of the Year: Jazz  
© Rhiannon Hopley

Behind the scenes of the Art Music Awards are the many hours of careful thought and rigorous discussions by our judging panels. Here, we acknowledge their work and the merits of each of the winners and finalists across all Art Music Awards categories with a summary of their judging commentary.

The AMC and APRA AMCOS give our special thanks to the following people for their time in judging the nominations for this year's Awards:

Anne Cawrse, Aaron Wyatt, Andrew O'Connor, Cheryl Durongpisitkul, Christopher Dragon, Claire Kilgariff, Dan Quigley, David John Lang, Hannah Reardon-Smith, Harriet Cunningham, Ian Cleworth, Ian Whitney, Janine Marshman, Jenny Going, Jesse Budel, Jessica Nicholas, Joshua Santospirito, Keira Simmons, Leah Blankendaal, Leon de Bruin, Louise Denson, Luke Spicer, Maria Moles, Mark Oliveiro, Michael Hannan, Netanela Mizrahi, Nicole Thomson, Nirmali Fenn, Rosalind Appleby, Sandra Millikin, Sarah Penicka-Smith, Sonya Holowell, Stuart Buchanan, Sulki Yu, Susan Eldridge, Tos Mahoney, Urshula Leung & Vanessa Tomlinson.

A special thank you goes to Lyle Chan, Peta Williams, and Sia Ahmad for chairing the Awards panels.

Work of the Year: Choral


Title: Three Night Songs
Composer: Heather Percy
Performer: Sydney Chamber Choir & Sam Allchurch, conductor
A sonically and imagistically beautiful cycle. The panel noted that the choice of a cappella voices, free of instruments, allows the composer to demonstrate her skill with purely vocal technique.

Monica Trapaga (host) presents Work of the Year: Choral to Heather Percy


Title: Brought to Light - Symphony No.5
Composer: Stuart Greenbaum
Performer Cantori New York & Mark Shapiro, conductor
A work on a large scale originating from several international collaborations on the eve of the Covid pandemic. The panel noted that the orchestral writing impresses as much as the choral.

Title: Heavenly Father
Composer: Brooke Shelley
Performer Sydney Chamber Choir & Sam Allchurch, conductor

A beautiful re-imagining and channeling of ancient music, made relevant by its reference to a contemporary event that was effectively accomplished by the composer's switch to English text amid the German.

Title: Swerve
Composer: Meta Cohen

Performer: The Consort of Melbourne & Homophonic!
An important work drawn from oral history. The panel noted how the sometimes frenzied sound world of voices and strings appropriately depicted the subject's career as a driver and life on the road.

Performance of the Year: Jazz/Improvised Music

Overall comment

The panel thought the level of submissions for this category was really high, and impressively diverse. That quality and diversity has been reflected in their selection of finalists, ranging from an adventurous duo to a youth big band, with three projects involving genuine cross-cultural collaborations. They were pleasantly surprised by how difficult it was to separate the diverse field of nominees from all over Australia. The standard of musicianship and conceptual musical storytelling was simply excellent and the panelists enjoyed listening to - and learning from - the music in these submissions, and appreciated the depth of creativity they expressed.


Performer: Freya Schack-Arnott, Aviva Endean, Sunny Kim, Jasmin Wing-in Leung, Maria Moles & Te Kahureremoa Taumata
Title: The Cloud Maker
Composers: Freya Schack-Arnott, Aviva Endean, Sunny Kim, Jasmin Wing-in Leung, Maria Moles & Te Kahureremoa Taumata
A deeply moving performance that was an obvious standout in a very strong category. With a fascinating combination of instruments used in this really unique collaboration, the artists represented a wide array of cultural and musical practices. There were several wonderful movements throughout, moving towards a finale that had the power of a shamanistic ritual.


Performer: Mindy Meng Wang, Anita Quayle, Daniel Jenatsch
Title: When
Composers: Mindy Meng Wang, Anita Quayle, Daniel Jenatsch
A meditative work about distance that cuts very deeply. Drawing from both ancient and very contemporary cultures and traditions, the music worked well with the visual imagery and underlined the emotive qualities of the interviews. A personal story incorporating Mindy Meng Wang's own family, it was universal in its desire to reconnect during a worldwide pandemic.

Performer: Simon Barker, Theo Carbo, Christopher Hale, Andrea Keller, Woo Minyoung & Jamie Oehlers
Title: Ritual Diamonds
Composers: Christopher Hale
The result of a 10-year process of in-depth sharing, study and exploration by Chris Hale and Minyoung Woo, this was an exhilarating performance with standout moments between musicians at the top of their craft. The music might be based on complex rhythmic ideas, but comes across as warm, soulful and inviting. In particular, the moments between Woo and Simon Barker was a crucial factor in this work's impact.

Performer: Shamin (Benjamin Shannon & Sophie Min)
Title: Barefaced
Composers: Sophie Min
A duo who play with remarkable cohesion and precision, this performance was bursting at the seams with ideas and dynamism that made the panel wish they witnessed the performance firsthand. They demonstrate formidable technique, but what really stands out is their close rapport, allowing them to navigate some pretty complex music with impressive boldness.

Work of the Year: Large Ensemble

Overall comment

The panel enjoyed the imaginative versions of large ensembles by the composers, from saxophone orchestras to symphony orchestras, and noted the welcome trend of the major orchestras commissioning and performing Australian work.


Title: Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra
Composer: Paul Dean
Performer: Phoebe Russell & Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Johannes Fritzsch, conductor
The work combined the composer's ear for instrumental colour, his familiarity with the personalities of the soloist and other orchestral players and had an overall sense of fun. It is an exciting addition to the concerto repertoire of the double bass.


Title: Annunciation Triptych
Composer: Liza Lim
Performer: WDR Sinfornite-Orchester, Cristian Măcelaru, conductor & Emily Hindrichs, soprano

Published by: Universal Music Publishing MGB Australia
A major, mature work by a composer who has found her voice. This is possibly the best example of the composer's challenging style.

Title: Diapsalmata: Portrait of a Self
Composer: Kym Alexandra Dillon
Performer: Stephen Marsh, Kym Alexandra Dillon & Forest Collective, Elliott Gyger, conductor
A profound song cycle using an existing text of Kierkegaard as the basis for a very autobiographical story. The panel noted the contrasting instrumental combinations used to support the vocal line.

Title: Release
Composer: Ella Macens
Performer: Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Simone Young, conductor
A beautiful and optimistic work made with skilful orchestration. The panel commented on the music's pacing and how it held the listener's attention.

Work of the Year: Chamber Music

Overall comment

Overall, there was a good diversity amongst all nominated works in this category. The nominations could be broken down into subcategories of 'traditional' chamber music, works that integrated live instruments with extra-musical elements, solo works and works that used non-European instrumentation. It was good to see a number of works challenging the notion of what chamber music can be, pointing a way forward in the development of the genre. It was noted that many of the composers showed an understanding of the musicians for whom they were writing - their capabilities, their ability to be extended, their creativity and musicality - was exceptional, as were many of the performances themselves. It was nice to see so many collaborative works, whether with ensembles, other composers, or visual artists.


Title: Pine Chant
Composer: Lachlan Skipworth
Performer: Sara Fraker, Jackie Glazier, Marissa Olegario & Lachlan Skipworth
An individual, mature work that demonstrates creative, clever and thoughtful integration of electronica & live instruments. In a field where many composers are using their work to make sense of the ecological issues unfolding around us, this work synthesised ecological data in a way that was both aesthetic, sophisticated, and direct. Pine Chant stands as a testament to Skipworth's creativity and his ability to create an immersive and socially impactful musical experience in the realm of chamber music.


Title: Septet
Composer: Paul Dean
Performer: Paul Dean, Trish Dean, Imants Larsen, Peter Luff, David Mitchell, Phoebe Russell & Natsuko Yoshimoto
Extremely well-crafted, detailed and skilful development of material, with masterly exploitation of surprising instrumental colours and the exceptional abilities of the musicians involved. A massive work that is beautifully handled, Dean's referral to the Romantic form, whilst creating new music that pushes the boundaries of the genre is strong.

Title: Sound Fields
Composer: Felicity Wilcox
Performer: Rubiks Collective
An amazing work, the instrumental voices, use of extended technique and timbre colours are strong in this stimulating composition. Made serious use of an exceptionally fine ensemble to create a very engaging and experimental tribute to an artist I would otherwise not have known about. Not afraid of beauty and humour. A complete original way of presenting the subject of the music and also beautifully authentic in terms of the historical period.

Title: String Quartet No.2
Composer: Jack Symonds
Performer: Australian String Quartet
The string quartet is perhaps the most challenging instrumental group of the traditional chamber music genre. This work is extremely well crafted and possesses a strong harmonic sense, a minutely detailed work that is a fine example of a notoriously difficult genre, well-written to challenge and extend the ensemble.

Work of the Year: Electroacoustic/Sound Art

Overall comment

The panel is thrilled with the finalist list for this year's category. It was a strong selection of nominees this year, which represents the strength in this field and the diversity of creative approaches at play. It's very easy for emerging artists to miss out on these wins in favour of established names. They were very glad they could celebrate the wholly original and interesting work that was Spirals as this year's winner.


Title: Spirals
Composer: Rebecca Bracewell
Performer: Rebecca Bracewell
An intricate and purposeful creative sound art project, Spirals is truly an original work from a self-assured voice. Beautiful, fragile and exploratory, the work firmly contributed to all notions of technological complexity, compositional originality and professional quality. The concept was beautifully composed, captioned, interpreted and articulated across all facets of the performance, with invitation from Bracewell for the audience to watch the tending of a delicate electronic garden of the composers own invention/design. This is a work that presents a delightful, stunning and exciting new direction in sound art.


Title: Gaze Upon the Liquid Sky
Composer: Zinia Chan
Performer: Jasper Ly and Peter Dumsday
Sparse and lovely, Gaze Upon the Liquid Sky is beautifully executed with an excellent convergence of field recording, electronics and live instruments. The balance between personal story and broader social experience is well-articulated throughout all stages of the piece, resulting in a musically thoughtful and intricate work. Certainly a good representation of the rich possibilities of the Australian electroacoustic palate.

Title: Mother
Composer: Mindy Meng Wang
Performer: Daniel Jenatsch, Anita Quayle & Mindy Meng Wang
Mother is a deeply engaging and evocative realisation of a rich personal story. Mindy Meng Wang has created a captivating sonic narrative in tandem with a devastating video work, resulting in a piece of beautiful, focused storytelling. A moving narrative based a story not often told in experimental music, this work was a generous, introspective work with moving narrative content, with meticulous presentation from a technical point of view.

Title: TacTable
Composer: Liam Mulligan
TacTable is a well presented work that explores a deep commentary on touch, connection, collaboration and participation. The interesting instrumental creation by Liam Mulligan equally balances performance and score driven interactivity in the installation setting. Also, great work in creating an amateur and ensemble active project that sounds equally appropriate in a museum space or a concert hall.

Work of the Year: Dramatic

Overall comment

The panel enjoyed the many-genre nature of this category, and noted the challenge presented in comparing not only nominations across dance, theatre and opera but between various excellent methods of making music, from standard notation to aleatoric and semi-improvised work and commended the performers along with the composers for the high quality of submissions.


Title: Panbe Zan
Composer: Shervin Mirzeinali
Performer: Maximillian Alduca, Majid Amani, Harry Birch, Danial Bozorgi, Arman Gouniaei, Ehsan Kachooei, Agnes Sarkis & Ali Yarmohammadi, Marjan Lotfali, director
A conceptually individual, imaginative and moving work of theatre. The panel noted that the musical score was a timeline of musical instructions that balanced prescriptive detail with interpretive freedom, promoting the relational in music-making and performance.

Shervin Mirzeinali, winner, Work of the Year: Dramatic


Title: Precious Bedeviller aka One Person Watching
Composer: May Lyon
Performer: The Australian Ballet Bodytorque Ensemble
A gem that stood out for its compact form, this is an expressive work of collaboration that integrated solo dance, acoustic and pre-recorded instruments.

Title: The Call
Composer: Connor D'Netto
Text: Kate Miller-Heidke & Keir Nuttall
Performer: Ali McGregor and Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Zoe Zeniodi, conductor (Opera Queensland)
A powerful, polished work that drew on multiple genres yet sounded new. The panel commented on the engaging nature of the work and expressed a desire to experience it in person.

Title: Watershed: The Death of Dr Duncan
Composer: Joe Twist
Text: Christos Tsiolkas & Alana Valentine

Performer: Adelaide Chamber Singers and Chamber Orchestra, Christie Anderson, conductor
A beautiful, oratorio-like work on a difficult subject, displaying evidence of the composer's craft and experience with vocal writing.

Work of the Year: Jazz

Overall comment

The list of nominees in this category was of high quality with a strong presence of creative thinking throughout. The panelists applauded the wide variety of works within the category, promoting robust conversation on the spectrum of jazz as a genre and the criteria to support panelists with their decision making. There was great debate about the musical approaches at play and how personal taste can be a defining factor in coming to a final decision. Not an easy job for the panelists but the selections do reflect the best of the best this year.


Title: Busy/Quiet
Composer: Nat Bartsch
Performer: Nat Bartsch Quartet, Ellen Kirkwood & Loretta Palmeiro
A very moving emotional work in response to trauma. The work takes the listener on a journey that is honest, broken, triumphant and beautiful. evokes an individual voice and style while broadening the jazz tradition. Extremely well crafted, there's an elegance of craft and composition while also enough room for each member to explore their own identity throughout the piece.


Title: Hill of Grace
Composer: Vanessa Perica
Performer: Australian National Jazz Orchestra Youth Big Band & Vanessa Perica, conductor
This composition is exceptionally well constructed, with use of interesting metre and feel throughout. Minimalist approach in response to colour and thoughtfully executed with the Australian National Jazz Youth orchestra. A highly commendable and elegant piece.

Title: Upon These Open Skins
Composer: Emily-Rose Sarkova
Performer: Emily-Rose and the Wild Things
This piece is a very deep composition that thoughtfully bends genre along the jazz spectrum speaking to folk, jazz and classical whilst incorporating lyric with storytelling and featuring improvised compositional attributes. A fresh and creative approach that speaks strongly to originality with contemporary jazz vocal/instrumental work.

Title: Written in the Dark
Composer: Matthew Sheens
Performer: Matt Penmann, Kenneth Salters, Matthew Sheens & Hugh Stuckey
A technically well crafted work that is harmonically excellent. Very energetic from the get go with lots of layers. It moves through different timbres while keeping a good steady groove. Well constructed, well proportioned, elegant and nuanced.

Performance of the Year: Notated Composition

Overall comment

The panel enjoyed the fantastic submissions of both highly experienced performers and exciting younger artists. The strongest contenders showed a substantial relationship to the work they were performing, whether developed over time with the composer or the result of intensive study.


Performer: Omega Ensemble & Dr Lou Bennett AM
Title: nyernur, nyarkur - to see, to hear
Composer: Dr Lou Bennett AM
Beyond the abundant technical accomplishment in the performance of this haunting work, the panel was struck by the trust and complete commitment between composer and performer, the absorbing patience as the work unfolded and the sense that this is (re)conciliation done right.

Omega Ensemble perform at the 2023 Art Music Awards


Performer: Jacob Abela, Phoebe Green, Isabel Hede, Zachary Johnston & David Moran
Title: While You Sleep
Composer: Kate Neal
A superb performance requiring musicians to not just embody and memorize large quantities of music but also theatrical elements. The panel felt it was witnessing the inauguration of a radical new performance practice involving office furniture.

Performer: Colin Prichard, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Brad Cohen, conductor
Title: Ligeia
Composer: Joe Chindamo
Soloist, orchestra and conductor combined to give an exemplary performance of a great addition to the trombone concerto repertoire. Colin Prichard's tone quality is exquisite and he completely shone.

Performer: Speak Percussion
Title: Hey Hey It's Tuesday
Composer: Matthew Shlomowitz
A virtuoso execution on all levels with a great sense of fun cleverly inspired by the genre of the old Aussie TV variety show. The panel was in awe of the sheer dedication required to create and perform this show.

Excellence in a Regional Area

Overall comment

The panel noted that the strongest nominees showed a genuine commitment to the local region, whether they themselves were resident in the region. The under-representation of nominees from regional Victoria and South Australia may be a signal to encourage nominations from projects based there.


Alluvium for Paper on Skin soundtrack
In this genuinely collaborative project, the musical component was well-integrated with the other NW Tasmania industries of fashion and paper-making. The panel commented on the enjoyability of music that was generated from field recordings of paper factories.


Anne Boyd, Olive Pink Botanic Garden and Desert Song Festival for Olive Pink Opera
A worthy project drawing attention to a little-known true story, this striking opera is a great achievement resulting from sustained involvement of the local Northern Territory communities. The panel noted that the opera had a demonstrable and quantifiable impact on Alice Springs.

Southern Cross Soloists for Bangalow Music Festival
The scale of the festival is admirable. The sheer number of events, world premiere performances, local and international artists is augmented by philanthropy work like bursaries and concert revenue to local students. The panel noted the long-running festival is a part of the local community and events were very well attended.

SIMA for Orange Winter Jazz Festival and Regional Touring Program
SIMA's two distinct projects of a festival in Orange and a wide-ranging regional touring network added up to an impressive investment in local communities. The panel commented on SIMA's commitment to the sustainability of the touring circuits by creating long-term relationships with local presenters and venues.

Excellence in Experimental Practice

Overall comment

The panel were impressed with the incredible tapestry of Australian experimental practice on show in this category, exploring divergent paths in community and place-making, technology, performance art and theatre practice, and the myriad possibilities of sound making. They were pleased to see such high quality within the nomination list and it made for robust yet productive conversation when deciding on the list of finalists for 2023.


Eve Klein for City Symphony

An innovative fusion of art and technology that pushes the boundaries of the traditional sound walk, City Symphony is a unique and significant work that epitomises experimentation in contemporary music and sound art making. Underpinned by an ethos of collaborative inclusivity and accessibility, site-specificity, and longevity, Eve Klein revolutionises the way audiences perceive and engage with urban environments. The work has potential to be adapted for future performances, which is a significant plus when working in this space.

Eve Klein, winner, Award for Excellence in Experimental Practice


Lamorna Nightingale for BackStage Music

BackStage Music recognises the importance of championing mavericks and marginalised communities in art music and the social justice issues facing us today. This nomination recognises the mammoth task that Lamorna Nightingale has undertaken in curating a significant performance series of experimental works, and celebrates showcasing this music in an inclusive and accessible manner.

Chamber Made for My Self in That Moment

A remarkable new chamber opera work, My Self in That Moment interrogates the fragmentation of personal identity in the digital age through a rich synthesis of technology, music and performance art. This work is continues to set the high bar of work in this space in a fashion that one of Australia's finest hybrid performance companies can deliver.

Aviva Endean for Stranger
An innovative, community-building percussion work that combines interactive instrument design alongside the curiosity of the 'ensemble audience', Stranger is a remarkable project that fosters community through inclusive collaboration, allowing the participants to be a part of the artwork. More than a performance, this project celebrates the power of human connections.

Excellence in Music Education

Overall comment

Education has been an aspect of music that was really hard hit by Covid, and many music organizations showed great resourcefulness in remaking themselves to provide their education programs. Of the many and varied approaches, the panel admired how long-standing providers of education did not just repeat themselves but kept innovating, and also how some of the most interesting innovations came from new partnerships with small funding.


Laura Andrew & Elizabeth Jigalin for Cobar High School's Sounds & Stories
The panel noted that the education project was highly integrated into Cobar's community and involved creation of sound art by students that drew from popular song, field recordings and oral history as they interacted with a professional local historian (Kay Stingemore), a local historical artefact (the water tank ) and a nonlocal composer (Georges Lentz) embarking on his major project involving the tank. The project has the potential to create legacy.


Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) for ANAM Set Festival
Arising from the lack of group performance opportunities during COVID, ANAM resourcefully created a program to pair each of its student musicians with a different composer, resulting in 67 new short solo works. The panel noted that this gave the young musicians a training opportunity akin to the experience of a full professional.

Musica Viva Australia for Musica Viva Australia National Education Program
Musica Viva Australia's long-standing and far-reaching education program was especially appreciated in 2022 as students and teachers returned to in-person activities post-COVID. Over and above their normal program, MVA used RISE funding to deliver programs to special needs communities including those with disabilities.

West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) for WAYJO 2022 Annual Pathways Programs
WAYJO's long-standing education program deserves recognition for its multiple streams that opened up access to a variety of playing opportunities and skill levels including unauditioned players. The panel commented on WAYJO's focus on providing safe environments in jazz for non-binary and trans musicians as well as women.

Luminary Awards

Overall comment

Once again, the Luminary Awards panel members were impressed with the high quality, vision and sustained contribution of many of the nominations to these Awards, both individuals and organisations.

While a key part of this category is to acknowledge artists who have made a sustained contribution to art music in Australia, the focus of the period that demonstrated this was the three to five years prior to the award, that is, 2018-2022. In February 2020 COVID-19 came to Australia, and the world, and had a devastating impact on artists in the performance and creation of music around the country. And yet.

And yet, the imaginative ways that Australian musicians and creators continued to work through 2020-2022 is nothing short of astounding. Imagination, tenacity, certainly thinking outside the square. Despite the enormous challenges that the pandemic and associated lock-downs imposed, the resilience in our sector was notable, and should be recognised and applauded.

Panel members felt that the nominations reflected the breadth of activity across the sector, from commissioning and presentation activities through to educational, and socially and community-engaged activities. All three categories presented the panel with some exceptional nominees, who all displayed sustained contribution, significant national and/or State/Territory impact, championed Australian repertoire, and provided visionary and inspirational leadership in their respective areas of work. This made the task of awarding the winner in each category a challenging one.

Luminary Award: Individual

Roland Peelman AM for Sustained service to Australian music as a conductor, pianist, artistic director, and mentor to composers, singers, and instrumentalists

Roland Peelman was born in Belgium and has been active in Australia over 30 years as a conductor, pianist, mentor and artistic director, recognised in particular for his work as artistic director with The Song Company for 25 years to 2015, and since then for his work as the Artist Director of the Canberra International Music Festival.

For panel members, Roland Peelman stood out as an artist for which a Luminary Award is so befitting. His sustained contribution over 30 years is notable, and in particular his work overthe last five years at the Canberra International Music Festival clearly demonstrates his visionary leadership, a high-level of artistic practice, and championing of Australian repertoire. The depth of Roland's impact on our community on a national scale can be seen through his often unseen work as an enabler, empowering others, particularly the way he has supported emerging composers to hone their craft. He has opened the Festival's doors to a number of emerging artists who straddle different stylistic camps, bringing musicians together, finding ways of supporting their projects through commissions or otherwise, encouraging new collaborations, and creating a context for the work to be heard in the best possible way. In the process, Roland has continued doing what he has always done, which is to support the diversity and quality of the Australian music scene. The legacy he left behind at The Song Company included more than 300 new works, and that list has only grown further.

In all of these many and varied pursuits, Roland has always offered invaluable guidance to singers, instrumentalists, and composers alike, investing his time and expertise with unmatched generosity.

Roland is a stand-out leader in his quiet and unassuming way. The panel was pleased to honour him through the awarding of the Luminary Award for National - Individual for 2023.

Luminary Award: Organisation

Moorambilla Voices for Long-term commitment to creating Australian art music with and for young people in regional NSW

Moorambilla Voices is a choral and arts development program for young people across the North West region of NSW that provides opportunities for composers and performing artists, children and young people, to collaborate and create public art music performances that speak to the world we wish to live in.

Artistic director, Michelle Leonard, founded Moorambilla Voices in 2006 and over the last 18 years this exceptional organisation has delivered free school skills development workshops to ensure equity of access, excellence and opportunity, impacting the lives of over 40,000 children through. Its yearly program for children and young people in Western NSW is rich in opportunity through touring, recording, and now online through the Moorambilla Magic Modules, and has deep and long-term connection to country. The program impacts not only NSW, but the wider national arts ecology by creating a space for collaboration, audience development, and the showcasing of new compositions. Its 2022 program, Riversong, is testament to the trail-blazing ethos of this remarkable organisation, emerging from the ashes of the COVID-19 decimation of the choral sector. It was also a powerful testament to the esteem in which the program is held by many different communities and families, and their commitment to this artistic vehicle as a means to express their shared connection to country. Against the odds of COVID-19 infections, and torrential rain resulting in floods that led to enormous last-minute changes, the concerts were experienced with joy and hope and a renewed commitment to sharing and walking together.

Panel members noted the scale of reach and scale of participation of the programs, and the organisation's commitment to working in the regions really stood out. Panel members also reflected on the power of a program in a regional area of one state to have such an impact nationally - not just through the two documentaries featured on the ABC, or their online teaching modules the Moorambilla Magic Modules, or their three CD albums produced in the last five years that showcase new Australian compositions with chamber orchestra, or their support to the development of festival concerts in Queensland and remote Western Australia - but through their leadership and role modelling of its long-term interdisciplinary work that embeds language, landscape and world view through the vehicles of choral music and other art forms in collaboration.

Moorambilla Voices is an exceptional organisation worthy of being awarded the 2023 Luminary Award for National Organisation.

Luminary Award: Australian Capital Territory

AJ America for Leadership in the ACT

Since moving to Canberra some years ago, the singer, conductor and creative producer, AJ America, has forged a musical path in the ACT that can only be regarded as exceptional. As the Artistic Director of Luminescence Chamber Singers and Children's Choir, over the past eight years AJ has relished the challenge of generating opportunities for Luminescence and has worked to increase and improve their artistic output each year, to create new professional opportunities for Australian singers, and to develop organisational structures to support their artistic endeavours sustainably. Despite the difficulties of the pandemic, Luminescence has successfully established a loyal local following, an active donor base, strong regional relationships and outcomes, relationships with Canberra's unique milieu of national institutions, as well as government, diplomatic delegations, and local artists and organisations.

AJ is a strong example of someone who is demonstrating positive leadership within the music world of Canberra. Her initiative and leadership skills have seen Luminescence grow from a student ensemble and volunteer organisation to a small organisation that presents more than 25 performances a year, commissions and presents new Australian music, provides substantial professional opportunities and fees for six artists, and manages a youth ensemble and associated education activities. A trail-blazer not just for choral music in the ACT, but, more broadly, for a vibrant culture of artistic excellence and opportunity in Canberra. A worthy recipient of the 2023 Luminary Award for the ACT.

Luminary Award: New South Wales

Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA) for Leadership through performance, artist development and education programs in Australian jazz

Established in 1984, SIMA has played an instrumental role in reinvigorating contemporary improvisation and exploratory jazz forms in the state of New South Wales, creating a vital space for new Australian music to be created and presented. Throughout these many decades, SIMA has supported the development of some of Australia's most important jazz voices and ensembles.

Over the period of 2019 - 2022, SIMA, like many organisations and artists, faced some of the most challenging periods in its 40-year history. However, the unique structure of the association, along with a strong community of collaborating artists and creatives, and experienced and passionate staff and committee, saw the company steer itself through the pandemic to emerge a stronger version of itself. During the pandemic, with determination and vision to support the jazz sector and its community of independent artists, SIMA developed streaming partnerships with a webcasting business Big Spin, worked with regional partners such as the New England Museum of Art and Goulburn Regional Gallery to stream performances by regional artists to audiences Australia-wide and globally, and partnered with local councils City of Sydney and City of Parramatta to deliver over 107 programs of free, outdoor and COVID-safe events, employing hundreds of artists and engaging thousands of people across 2020-2022. It recovered touring opportunities for independent artists in regional NSW, produced the inaugural Orange Winery Jazz Festival, and presented the 10-year anniversary of the Sydney International Women's Jazz festival in 2022. If this weren't enough, SIMA continues to build partnerships to support the development of emerging and mid-career artists including the delivery of the Freedman Awards, Sonic Futures recording projects, Emerging Composer Mentorships and the Young Women's Jazz Workshops.

Panel members commented that SIMA has moved from what was once a city-centric organisation to pushing boundaries and creating visionary ways of touring and streaming so that Australian jazz and improvising artists could still perform and connect with audiences across the State, creating reginal impact and capacity building. The passion and commitment of this long-standing organisation to the development and promotion of Australian jazz, and its invaluable support for the State's independent music sector, makes SIMA truly worthy of the 2023 Luminary Award for New South Wales.

Luminary Award: Queensland

MADE NOW MUSIC and Brodie McAllister for MADE NOW MUSIC label and concert series

Brisbane-based artist performer, improviser, composer and event organiser Brodie McAllister is passionate about exploring the intersection between improvisation and notation, hyper-extended instrumental techniques, composer-performer collaboration, and community connections. In 2017 he established the experimental/art music label and concert series Made Now Music which focuses on presenting and releasing music created from artists categorised not by genre, but by a common ethos: 'quality, honest music, made now'.

Panel members were impressed with all that has been achieved by Brodie McAllister through Made Now Music over the last five years in promoting, developing and growing the experimental, improvised and art music scene in Brisbane. They also commented on the high standard and thoughtfulness of the music, and that the artists involved bring something deeply personal to their music.

It is a visionary undertaking to provide a safe space for experimentation and to build a community of artists who are doing something on the fringe and build a community of listeners to support them. Brodie McAllister has blazed his own path over the last five years to fill an enormous hole that existed in Brisbane, and his work in establishing, growing and sustaining Made Now Music makes him a worthy recipient of the 2023 Luminary Award for Queensland.

Luminary Award: South Australia

Creative Original Music Adelaide (COMA) for COMA programs

COMA is a remarkable, volunteer-led organisation driven by a desire to promote and present excellence across diverse genres of new music and is one of the key presenters of new music in Australia. The panel noted this organisation's longevity of some 18 years, and the highlights of the last five years, including the establishment of the Sound Alliance cross-genre mentorship program, connecting emerging and established artists working in different musical disciplines, the continuing impact of its Emerging Artist program, and the new Audio Mentorship program.

COMA also represents a crucial key connection point for national and international touring, and its regular presentation series features artists from Adelaide, across Australia, and international guests of the highest standard. COMA's weekly concerts actively enhance and enrich the Australian art music sector, and the panel was impressed with its commitment to nurturing an open-minded community of musicians and listeners that results in an audience who are open to, and consistently demand, new work. The organisation's sustained contribution over many years, and demonstrable leadership in its areas of work, make COMA a well-deserving recipient of the 2023 Luminary Award for South Australia.

Luminary Award: Tasmania

Julius Schwing for Multiple album releases through his label Isthmus Music, touring and career development, cultivating and fostering the Tasmanian improvised/experimental music scene

Improvising guitarist and composer Julius Schwing is steadily building a strong reputation as one of Australia's most unique and captivating musicians from his base on Bruny Island, Tasmania. Within the last five years, Julius has demonstrated a sustained commitment to recording and performing. He has released three albums on his own creative music label, Isthmus Music, and toured nationally, including collaborative performances at festivals across the country. He is an active and passionate supporter of the local Tasmanian jazz and improvised music scene, teaching regularly and putting on house concerts in his studio on Bruny Island and in the Adventure Bay Hall.

The panel commented on his well-developed personal voice in his genre, that he is demonstrably considered a leader in his field, and that creating Tasmania as a destination for artistic practice is leadership in action.

Luminary Award: Victoria

Miranda Hill for Homophonic!

Named as a 'woman shaping the future of Classical Music' by the ABC, Miranda Hill is an artistic director, double bassist, G-Violonist, creative producer, and educator specialising in producing concert platform and community music events and performing early and contemporary music.

In 2011, Miranda Hill founded Homophonic!, a leading voice in queer classical music. Initially an annual concert of music by queer composers within Melbourne's Midumma Festival, in the years since it has developed into an event that is now a broad range of performing, commissioning, recording and regional touring activities that has provided more than a decade of multi-faceted support to queer composers, musicians, story-tellers, audience and the community at large. Homophonic! incorporates the RESPECT commissioning project, an aural history of LGBTIQ+ seniors in song, as well as the Homophonic Pride Composition Competition.

Panel members found Miranda Hill's creative work and initiative both compelling and fearless, shining a light of leadership in an environment where it is not always easy to be visible and accepted. Simply creating a space for unashamed and uncoded queer stories to be told and celebrated through music-making of the highest quality is a powerful means of creating visibility and a celebration of queer people in art music. Miranda Hill's efforts make visible that which is not always seen or heard, and she is a worthy recipient of the 2023 Luminary Award for Victoria.

Luminary Award: Western Australia

Tone List for Audible Edge Festival of Sound

Described as the go-to organisation for experimental music in Perth, Tone List is a Boorloo-based label whose prime commitment is to build and nurture the community of experimental sound practitioners in Western Australia.

The last five years saw Tone List initiate the Audible Festival of Sound, beginning in 2017 in partnership with Tura New Music, and now independently. Tone List has rapidly emerged as an organisation filling a much-needed gap in the West Australian new music scene, enabling collaborations between diverse artforms, local and visiting artists and national and international communities. The panel was impressed with Tone List's ability and capacity to adapt to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected the festival in 2020 and beyond. The organisation aspired to give artists hope and creative focus in an uncertain and anxious time, and funding was directed to commissions that led into the 2021 festival, with an-adapted festival in 2022 that spread into a concert-series format unfolding over seven months. The number of concerts presented since 2019 as well as installations, podcasts, new album releases and collaborations, created a sustained and imaginative platform that continued to support artists to produce high-level artistic output, demonstrating a visionary leadership in a difficult time. A worthy recipient of the 2023 Luminary Award for Western Australia.


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