News August 8, 2018

Art Music Awards to honour musicologist Robyn Holmes for “distinguished services”

Art Music Awards to honour musicologist Robyn Holmes for “distinguished services”
Photo credit: Steven Lloyd Photography

The Art Music Awards, staged in Melbourne this month, will confer the Distinguished Services to Australian Music honour on curator, academic and musicologist Robyn Holmes.

The awards cover jazz, classical and experimental music, and co-presented by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre (AMC).

Holmes’ career spans over 40 years. She held academic positions, notably at the ANU School of Music in Canberra.

There she was responsible for significant curriculum reviews and the development of multiple programs and roles at many other national music and educational organisations including the Australian Society for Music Education, the Musicological Society of Australia, the International Association of Music Libraries and Archives (Australian Branch). She also acted as the deputy chair of the board of the (then) Music Council of Australia.

On the music side, she was a singer, choral conductor and musical director of the Australian Girls Choir.

According to APRA AMCOS and the AMC, Holmes’ “one driving purpose has been to preserve, collect and communicate our artistic legacy.”

During 17 years at the National Library of Australia, her initiatives included the online service ‘Music Australia’ (later incorporated into NLA’s ‘Trove’ online platform) and the acquisition of the papers of many significant Australian composers including Peter Sculthorpe, Richard Meale, Ross Edwards, Nigel Butterley and Don Burrows.

As the senior curator of the NLA, she was a media identity commenting with authority on everything from Australian chamber music and Joan Sutherland to Waltzing Matilda and Australia’s sporting songs and anthems.

“Robyn Holmes’ contribution to Australian cultural life over many years is indeed significant, and her fine achievement in collecting and preserving the legacies of others has facilitated access for all to the people and the stories that shape our art form”, said John Davis, the AMC’s CEO.

The Art Music Awards are held on Tuesday, August 21 at Melbourne’s Plaza Ballroom.

Outgoing CEO of the Australia Council for the Arts, Tony Grybowski, will be joined by Liza Lim, Tony Gould, Deborah Cheetham and human rights and refugee advocate, Julian Burnside QC as presenters.

Live performances curated by Gabriella Smart will feature Sandy Evans with Bobby Singh and Adrian Sherriff.

Jonathan Grieves-Smith will lead his choir Hallelujah Junction and, following Smart’s involvement with The Titjikala Project, The Titjikala Women’s Choir will take the stage to perform.

Awards finalist Matthew Horsley will perform on his Uilleann pipes accompanied by electronics, and Melbourne pianist Timothy Young and cellist Svetlana Bogosavljevic will perform work commissioned by Musica Viva from young South Australian composer Jakub Jankowski.

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