Winners have been announced across 11 national categories and eight state categories of the 2019 Art Music Awards at a gala function at the Great Hall of the University of Sydney on Monday 19 August.
This year’s Orchestral Work of the Year went to Carl Vine’s Implacable Gifts (Concerto for two pianos and orchestra) a sophisticated, strong work inspired by surrealist painting Arrival of Implacable Gifts by James Gleeson.
Mary Finsterer was recognised in the category of Instrumental Work of the Year for Ignis, a meticulously crafted duet for cello and the six-stringed viola d’amore.
Vocal/Choral Work of the Year was awarded to wordless opera The Howling Girls, composed by Damien Ricketson with direction from Adena Jacobs.
The Jazz Work of the Year was Trombone Song Cycle, a collection of obscure love songs composed by Joshua Kyle and arranged by Andrew Murray for the unusual combination of trombone quartet and voice.
The award for Excellence in Jazz went to composer and bass player Ross McHenry for the creation of major new works, international touring, residencies and commissions in 2018.
The Performance of the Year went to Speak Percussion and Jessica Aszodi for their performance of the genre-defying Atlas of the Sky by Australian composer Liza Lim.
Zephyr Quartet received the award for Excellence by an Organisation in recognition of their 2018 program which defied genre, style and expectation, as well as their fearless championing of Australian work over 20 years. The winner of the award for Excellence by an Individual was Lyn Williams for her significant contribution to the creation and performance of choral music in Australia. Over 30 years, Lyn has transformed the choral landscape in Australia through the establishment of world-renowned children’s choirs including Sydney Children’s Choir and Gondwana Voices.
West Australian Symphony Orchestra is the recipient of the award for Excellence in Music Education for their Crescendo program. Inspired by the Venezuelan El Sistema, the program delivers free, ongoing and regular music education programs to West Australian schools.
Illawarra-based Steel City Strings won the award for Excellence in a Regional Area for their performance activity in the last twelve months and continued commitment to new Australian music.
The award for Excellence in Experimental Music went to Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music for their ongoing event, described by the judges as ‘a courageous, stimulating and imaginative place for high quality experimental music in the Australian landscape’.
The newly-titled Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music (as determined by the APRA Board of Writer and Publisher Directors) was presented to experimental jazz trio The Necks, the first band to receive this honour. With a career spanning three decades, the trio have carved out a unique space in the music scene, walking the line between avant-garde, improvisation and minimalism while still paying respect to jazz.