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12 July 2023

Art Music Awards 2023: Finalists Announced

Art Music Awards 2023 Image: Art Music Awards 2023  

APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre are thrilled to announce the finalists for the 2023 Art Music Awards, to be held on Tuesday 15 August at Carriageworks, Sydney, Gadigal land.

The Art Music Awards celebrates individuals, groups and organisations in the Australian music community, recognising excellence among Australia's finest creators and performers in contemporary classical, jazz, experimental music and sound art.

Four finalists have been selected across eleven national categories, representing the excellence of Australian creators and practitioners as well as multi-dimensional, multi-cultural approaches and diverse perspectives within contemporary music making.

Cross-cultural exchange in music is a striking theme across the Awards finalists. Performed with Sydney-based Omega Ensemble, Dr Lou Bennett AM's work nyernur, nyarkur - to see, to hear (Performance of the Year - Notated Composition) was developed as part of a close collaboration with Australian First Nations communities, while The Cloud Maker (Performance of the Year - Jazz/Improvised Music) - by Freya Schack-Arnott, Aviva Endean, Sunny Kim, Jasmin Wing-Yin Leung, Maria Moles and Te Kahureremoa Taumata - reflects contemporary Australian cross-cultural exchange through an experimental lens.

Multiple finalists also draw inspiration from international traditional and folk cultures. Both nominated for Performance of the Year - Jazz/Improvised Music, Christopher Hale and Woo Minyoung's Ritual Diamonds draws from Korean rhythm and drumming style, while When by Daniel Jenatsch, Anita Quayle and Mindy Meng Wang combines ancient Chinese music improvisation and Western minimalism. Shervin Mirzeinali's Panbe Zan pulls inspiration from traditional Iranian quilting processes, applying new perspectives on how sound is inscribed with culture.

Musical responses to access, pain and recovery are well-represented among the finalists this year. Both nominated for Work of the Year - Electronic/Sound Art, Rebecca Bracewell's Spirals uncovers the hidden world of hearing aid feedback, while Zinia Chan's Gaze Upon the Liquid Sky is a personal response to her own experience of spinal injury, paying homage to the Australian sky through field recordings of native fauna. Also responding to personal injury, Matthew Sheens' Written in the Dark (Work of the Year - Jazz) places improvisation and performance approaches from the jazz tradition at the heart of the music.

Queer histories and experiences also play a thematic role in works among the finalists. Joe Twist's Watershed: The Death of Dr Duncan (Work of the Year - Dramatic) is a moving commemoration of the drowning of the gay activist Dr Duncan, a collaboration with legendary theatre director Neil Armfield with libretto by Alana Valentine and Christos Tsiolkas. Meta Cohen's Swerve (Work of the Year - Choral) presents a celebration of queerness, documenting the story of a Goulburn Valley Pride volunteer and LGBTQ+ Elder.

This year's Awards features several creators nominated across numerous categories for multiple projects (Mindy Meng Wang, Paul Dean, Aviva Endean), and a number of first-time finalists. Creators including Emily-Rose Sarkova (Work of the Year - Jazz), Rebecca Bracewell, Liam Mulligan, Zinia Chan (Work of the Year - Electroacoustic/Sound Art), Kym Alexandra Dillon (Work of the Year - Large Ensemble) and many others represent an emerging cohort of outstanding Australian art music talent.

The 2023 Art Music Awards ceremony will also include the presentation of the Luminary Awards, recognising sustained contribution to Australian art music by individuals and organisations nationally and within each state or territory. There are no shortlists for these categories.

The Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music will also be presented, an honour determined by the APRA Board of Directors.

Art Music Awards 2023 Finalists

Work of the Year - Choral

Title: Brought to Light - Symphony No.5
Composer: Stuart Greenbaum
Performer: Cantori New York & Mark Shapiro, conductor

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

Title: Swerve
Composer: Meta Cohen
Text: Leona Cohen
Performer: The Consort of Melbourne & Homophonic!

Title: Three Night Songs
Composer: Heather Percy
Performer: Sydney Chamber Choir, and Sam Allchurch, conductor

Work of the Year - Dramatic​​​​​​​

Title: Panbe Zan
Composer: Shervin Mirzeinali
Performers: Maximillian Alduca, Majid Amani, Harry Birch, Danial Bozorgi, Arman Gouniaei, Ehsan Kachooei, Agnes Sarkis & Ali Yarmohammadi, Marjan Lotfali, director

Title: Precious Bedeviller aka One Person Watching
Composer: May Lyon
Performer: The Australian Ballet Bodytorque Ensemble

Title: The Call
Composer: Connor D'Netto
Text: Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall
Performer: Ali McGregor and Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Zoe Zeniodi, conductor (Opera Queensland)

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

Work of the Year - Jazz

Title: Busy/Quiet
Composer: Nat Bartsch
Performer: Nat Bartsch Quartet, Ellen Kirkwood & Loretta Palmeiro

Title: Hill of Grace
Composer: Vanessa Perica
Performer: Australian National Jazz Orchestra Youth Big Band & Vanessa Perica, conductor

Title: Upon These Open Skins
Composer: Emily-Rose Sarkova
Performer: Emily-Rose and the Wild Things

Title: Written in the Dark
Composer: Matthew Sheens
Performer: Matt Penmann, Kenneth Salters, Matthew Sheens & Hugh Stuckey

Work of the Year - Large Ensemble

Title: Annunciation Triptych
Composer: Liza Lim
Performer: WDR Sinfonie-Orchester, Cristian Măcelaru, conductor & Emily Hindrichs, soprano
Published by: Universal Music Publishing MGB Australia

Title: Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra
Composer: Paul Dean
Performer: Phoebe Russell & Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Johannes Fritzsch, conductor

Title: Diapsalmata: Portrait of a Self
Composer: Kym Alexandra Dillon
Performer: Stephen Marsh, Kym Alexandra Dillon & Forest Collective, Elliott Gyger, conductor

Title: Release
Composer: Ella Macens
Performer: Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Simone Young, conductor

Work of the Year - Chamber Music

Title: Pine Chant
Composer: Lachlan Skipworth
Performer: Sara Fraker, Jackie Glazier, Marissa Olegario and Lachlan Skipworth

Title: Septet
Composer: Paul Dean
Performer: Paul Dean, Trish Dean, Imants Larsen, Peter Luff, David Mitchell, Phoebe Russell, and Natsuko Yoshimoto

Title: Sound Fields
Composer: Felicity Wilcox
Performer: Rubiks Collective

Title: String Quartet No. 2
Composer: Jack Symonds
Performer: Australian String Quartet

Work of the Year- Electroacoustic/Sound Art

Title: Gaze Upon the Liquid Sky
Composer: Zinia Chan
Performer: Jasper Ly and Peter Dumsday

Title: Mother
Composer: Mindy Meng Wang
Performer: Daniel Jenatsch, Anita Quayle & Mindy Meng Wang

Title: Spirals
Composer: Rebecca Bracewell
Performer: Rebecca Bracewell

Title: TacTable
Composer: Liam Mulligan

Performance of the Year - Jazz/Improvised Music

Performer: Freya Schack-Arnott, Aviva Endean, Sunny Kim, Jasmin Wing-Yin Leung, Maria Moles & Te Kahureremoa Taumata
Title: The Cloud Maker
Composers: Freya Schack-Arnott, Aviva Endean, Sunny Kim, Jasmin Wing-Yin Leung, Maria Moles & Te Kahureremoa Taumata

Performer: Simon Barker, Theo Carbo, Christopher Hale, Andrea Keller, Woo Minyoung & Jamie Oehlers
Title: Ritual Diamonds
Composer: Christopher Hale

Performer: Daniel Jenatsch, Anita Quayle & Mindy Meng Wang
Title: When
Composers: Daniel Jenatsch, Anita Quayle & Mindy Meng Wang

Performers: Shamin (Benjamin Shannon & Sophie Min)
Title: Barefaced
Composer: Sophie Min

Performance of the Year - Notated Composition

Performer: Jacob Abela, Phoebe Green, Isabel Hede, Zachary Johnston & David Moran
Title: While You Sleep
Composer: Kate Neal

Performer: Omega Ensemble & Dr Lou Bennett AM
Title: nyernur, nyarkur - to see, to hear
Composer: Dr Lou Bennett AM

Performer: Colin Prichard, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Brad Cohen, conductor
Title: Ligeia
Composer: Joe Chindamo

Performer: Speak Percussion
Title: Hey Hey It's Tuesday
Composer: Matthew Shlomowitz

Award for Excellence in Music Education

  • Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) for ANAM Set Festival
  • Laura Andrew & Elizabeth Jigalin for Cobar High School's Sounds & Stories
  • Musica Viva Australia for Musica Viva Australia National Education Program
  • Western Australia Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) for WAYJO 2022 Annual Pathways Programs

Award for Excellence in a Regional Area

  • Alluvium for Paper on Skin soundtrack
  • Anne Boyd, Olive Pink Botanic Garden and Desert Song Festival for Olive Pink Opera
  • Southern Cross Soloists for Bangalow Music Festival
  • Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA) for Orange Winter Jazz Festival and Regional Touring Program

Award for Excellence in Experimental Practice

  • Chamber Made for My Self in That Moment
  • Aviva Endean for Stranger
  • Eve Klein for City Symphony
  • Lamorna Nightingale for BackStage Music


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