Sandy Evans, Tura New Music, Matthew Sheens shine at Art Music Awards
Works responding to the works of a photographer, a shooting in a Florida nightclub and a 16th-century Italian inventor were among the winners of this year’s Art Music Awards.
The awards were held in Melbourne last night, at the Plaza Ballroom, and cover jazz, classical and experimental.
Altogether eleven national and six state/territory trophies were handed out in the awards’ eighth year.
Matthew Sheens received the Jazz Work of the Year for American Counterpoint, performed with Lyndon Gray, Myele Manzanza and Zephyr String Quartet.
The work is a musical reflection on the horrific 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida and a commentary on topical issues in the USA where Sheens currently resides.
Excellence in Jazz went to saxophonist and composer Sandy Evans OAM for rockpoolmirror, a suite of musical responses to the photography of Tall Poppies Records founder Belinda Webster.
The Vocal/Choral Work of the Year winner was composer Mary Finsterer for her critically acclaimed opera Biographica, about 16th-century Italian inventor, philosopher and gambler Gerolamo Cardano.
Tura New Music received Excellence by an Organisation in recognition of their 30-year contribution to Australian art music and the sonic arts, presenting and promoting to local, regional, national and international audiences.
Highly lauded composer, mentor and Musica Viva director Carl Vine AO took Excellence by an Individual.
Excellence in a Regional Area went to Big hART for Acoustic Life of Sheds, which celebrated these spaces in regional Tasmania, by repurposing them as instruments or sound-shells, with input from leading composers and musicians working with local community groups.
Young Music Society Inc. (ACT) were lauded for Excellence in Music Education, acknowledging a 50-year commitment to and development of Australian music, by providing access to music for young people and launching many careers.
APRA, which runs the awards with the Australian Music Centre, presented Canberra-based curator, academic and musicologist, Robyn Holmes with Distinguished Services to Australian Music
The Instrumental Work of the Year went to Lisa Illean for her large ensemble work, Cantor (after Willa Cather) which has been performed by a number of ensembles worldwide.
Orchestral Work of the Year was picked up by globally acknowledged composer Paul Stanhope for Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra, written for and performed by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Joshua Davis (trombone) and conducted by Asher Fisch.
Chicago-based contemporary chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird received Performance of the Year for Lobster Tales and Turtle Soup, by young Australian composer Holly Harrison.
Chamber Made took Excellence in Experimental Music for Between 8 and 9 (Chengdu Teahouse Project), a contemporary performance installation and collaboration between Chamber Made artists and those from the Sichuan Conservatory of Music in Chengdu, China.
For the complete list of winners, see the APRA AMCOS website.
Hosted by Jonathan Biggins, last night’s presenters included outgoing Australia Council CEO Tony Grybowski, composers Liza Lim, Tony Gould and Deborah Cheetham AO and human rights and refugee advocate, Julian Burnside AO QC.
Musical performances curated by Gabriella Smart included Sandy Evans performing with Bobby Singh and Adrian Sherriff; the choir Hallelujah Junction conducted by Jonathan Grieves-Smith; 2018 finalist Matthew Horsley on Uilleann pipes accompanied by electronics; Melbourne pianist Timothy Young and cellist Svetlana Bogosavljevic performing a Musica Viva commission from young South Australian composer Jakub Jankowski; and a performance by the Titjikala Women’s Choir of a work composed by Gabriella Smart, following her involvement with The Titjikala Project.