ANNOUNCED // These are the APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards finalists


APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre announce the finalists for the 2021 Art Music Awards, to be held on Tuesday 17 August in Melbourne. Finalists include Holly Harrison, Yitzhak Yedid, Cathy Milliken, Ed Kuepper and many more.
The awards celebrate a diverse range of individuals, organisations and some of Australia’s finest composers and performers in contemporary classical, jazz and experimental music and sound art, recognised for excellence in their field.
The quantity, quality and variety of projects and works included makes a powerful statement about the talent, creative drive and resilience demonstrated by art music practitioners everywhere during a year of cancellations and hardships.
The finalists for the Work of the Year – Large Ensemble are a case in point. Holly Harrison’s work Splinter for wind band was premiered by the San Jose State University via a recording after COVID-19 forced the cancellation of physical performances. Yitzhak Yedid’s Kadosh Kadosh and Cursed was part of a live-streamed presentation of the Azrieli Music Prize Gala Concert by the world-famous Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (NEM) from Canada. Cyrus Meurant’s When I stand before thee at the day’s end premiered as part of Canberra Symphony’s Australian Series a day before Australia went into lockdown for the first time, and Piece 43 For Now by Cathy Milliken was composed during the lockdown period, inspired by the turmoil of the year’s events, and premiered in a recorded format by Germany’s SWR Symphony Orchestra.
Female composers dominate the Work of the Year – Choral category. Beannaicht An Long (Blest be the Boat) by Clare Maclean incorporates the medieval hymn Ave Maris Stella and two Gaelic prayers for safety at sea; while Lisa Young’s Sacred Stepping Stones was composed for 320 singers at the Festival of Summer Voices, Gondwana National Choral School. Alice Chance and Amanda Cole are nominated for works recorded remotely during the 2020 lockdown; Until We Gather Again and Singing in Tune with Nature.
The Work of the Year – Jazz shortlist features Asteroid Ekosystem composed by the Alister Spence Trio with Ed Kuepper. The rest of the list is comprised of Loretta Palmeiro & Mark Isaacs’ collaboration All Who Travel With UsLiving, composed by Paul Cutlan and included on the album by Paul Cutlan’s String Project; and Vanessa Perica’s Spaccanapoli, a homage to the historic street in Naples.
The Work of the Year – Dramatic category features three works from the Sydney Chamber Opera’s Breaking Glass quadruple bill, premiered via streaming in April 2020: Peggy Polias’s CommuteGeorgia Scott’s Her Dark Marauder and Josephine Macken’s The Tent.Rounding out the category is the Chamber Made & CultureLink Singapore co-production Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep, composed by Erik Griswold.
Finalists for Work of the Year – Chamber Music are Anne Cawrse’s A Room of Her Own for string quartet; Kate Neal and Grischa Lichtenberger’s evocative Canyon 1205, originally written as part of a stage show, and rewritten for solo cellist Blair Harris; Gordon Kerry’s Clarinet Quintet, performed by Omega Ensemble; and Hidden Thoughts II: Return to Sender by Katy Abbott, based on letters sent by Australians to asylum seekers in detention.
The Work of the Year – Electroacoustic / Sound Art finalists competed against a large number of outstanding entries, again demonstrating the need for this recently added category. Shortlisted in 2021 are Mindy Meng Wang’s An Improvisation Through Time and Space 穿越时光的即兴; Tariro Mavondo, Reuben Lewis and Peter Knight’s Closed Beginnings; Jane Sheldon’s Fugue and Amanda Cole’s Oracle Chamber.

Tariro Mavondo (Work of the Year – Electroacoustic/Sound Art)

The finalists for Performance of the Year Jazz – Improvised Music include dual nominees Loretta Palmeiro & Mark Isaacs for All Who Travel With Us; the Phil Slater Quintet’s performance of The Golden SeamPhonetic Orchestra’s work Silent Towns; and Vazesh’s Sacred Key featuring Jeremy Rose, Hamed Sadeghi (featured image) and Lloyd Swanton.
The Performance of the Year – Notated Composition shortlist consists of Emily Granger’s performance of Ross Edwards’ The Harp and the MoonSydney Chamber Opera’s production of Peggy Polias’ one-act opera Commute; clarinettist Carl Rosman’s performance of Subdue by Jakob Bragg, and Ensemble Offspring’s collaboration with composer Alex Pozniak, En Masse –  the first-ever live performance at the new Sydney arts venue Phoenix Central Park.
Finalists for the Award for Excellence in Music Education highlight the new ways of teaching and connecting with the next generation of music creators in times of change. The shortlist consists of Australian Art Orchestra for Creative Music Intensive 2020; Moorambilla Voices for Moorambilla Magic Modules; Musica Viva for Musica Viva in Schools Online, and Speak Percussion for Sounds Unheard Education Program.

Holly Harrison (Work of the Year – Large Ensemble)

Rounding out the finalists for 2021 are those shortlisted for the Award for Excellence in Experimental MusicDecibel New Music Ensemble commissioned 21 two-minute works for their 2 Minutes from Home project, performed by the ensemble playing their parts in their respective homes. Also on the list is HiberNATION an online, live-streaming festival of experimental projects by artists at home or in unusual performance spaces. Keyna Wilkins is recognised for her activities in 2020 including recording three albums, developing performance projects and composing didjeridu concerto Celestial EmuListening in the Wild is a sound art project by Leah Barclay, Lyndon Davis and Tricia King that blends artist voices, science and technology.

Despite the challenges affecting the music industry everywhere in 2021, only one Art Music Award category has been deferred due to not attracting enough entries. We’re looking forward to celebrating the Art Music Award for Excellence in a Regional Area again in 2022.
The 2021 Art Music Awards ceremony on Tuesday 17 August will also include Luminary Awards, recognising sustained contributions by individuals and organisations. There are no finalists in these categories. The Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music, as determined by the APRA Board of Directors, will also be announced.

Jessica O’Donoghue (Work of the Year – Dramatic)

2021 Art Music Awards presented by
APRA AMCOS and Australian Music Centre

Work of the Year – Choral
Title:  Beannaicht An Long (Blest be the Boat)
Composer:                Clare Maclean
Text:                           Traditional
Performer:                 VOYCES

Title:   Sacred Stepping Stones
Composer:                 Lisa Young
Text:                            Lisa Young
Performers:                Massed choir, Gondwana National Choral School 2020 and Lisa Young,

Title:   Singing in Tune with Nature
Composer:                 Amanda Cole
Performers:                N.E.O. Voice Festival artists

Title:   Until We Gather Again
Composer:                 Alice Chance
Text:                            Alice Chance
Performers:                Leichhardt Espresso Chorus and Michelle Leonard OAM, artistic director

Work of the Year- Dramatic

Title:   Commute
Composer:                Peggy Polias
Text:                           Pierce Wilcox
Performers:               Sydney Chamber Opera, Jessica O’Donoghue, Jack Symonds, conductor, and                                                         Clemence Williams, director

Title:                           Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep; a Chamber Made & CultureLink Singapore co 

Composer:                Erik Griswold
Performers:              Margaret Leng Tan, performer, Tamara Saulwick, director, Nick Roux, video artist,
                                   and Kok Heng Leun, dramaturg.

Title:   Her Dark Marauder
Composer:                Georgia Scott
Text:                           Pierce Wilcox
Performers:               Sydney Chamber Opera, Jane Sheldon, Jessica O’Donoghue, Simon Lobelson,
                                   Jack Symonds, conductor, and Danielle Maas, director.  

Title:   The Tent
Composer:                 Josephine Macken
Text:                            Josephine Macken
Performers:                Sydney Chamber Opera, Simon Lobelson, Mitchell Riley, Jane Sheldon, Jack.     
                                    Symonds, conductor and Danielle Maas, director.

Work of the Year – Jazz

Title:   All Who Travel With Us
Composer:                 Loretta Palmeiro and Mark Isaacs
Performers:                Loretta Palmeiro and Mark Isaacs

Title:   Asteroid Ekosystem
Composers:               Alister Spence, Lloyd Swanton, Toby Hall and Ed Kuepper*
Performers:                Alister Spence Trio with Ed Kuepper
Publisher:                   Universal Music Publishing*

Title:   Living
Composer:                 Paul Cutlan
Performers:               Paul Cutlan String Project (Paul Cutlan, Liisa Pallandi, Caroline Hopson, James
                                    Eccles, Oliver Miller, Brett Hirst and Tunji Beier)

Title:   Spaccanapoli
Composer:                Vanessa Perica
Performer:                 Vanessa Perica Orchestra

Work of the Year – Large Ensemble

Title:   Kadosh Kadosh and Cursed
Composer:               Yitzhak Yedid
Performers:              Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (NEM) and Lorraine Vaillancourt, conductor

Title:   Piece 43 For Now
Composer:                Cathy Milliken
Performers:               SWR Symphonieorchester and Titus Engel, conductor

Title:   Splinter
Composer:                 Holly Harrison
Performers:               San Jose State University Wind Ensemble and David Vickerman, conductor

Title:   When I stand before thee at the day’s end
Composer:                 Cyrus Meurant
Performers:               Kirsten Williams and Canberra Symphony Orchestra

Work of the Year- Chamber Music

Title:   A Room of Her Own
Composer:                 Anne Cawrse 
Performer:                 Australian String Quartet

Title:   Canyon 1205
Composer:                 Kate Neal and Grischa Lichtenberger
Performer:                 Blair Harris, cello

Title:   Clarinet Quintet
Composer:                 Gordon Kerry 
Performer:                 Omega Ensemble

Title:   Hidden Thoughts II: Return to Sender
Composer:                Katy Abbott
Text:                           Compiled by Katy Abbott and Maureen Johnson, based on letters sent by   
                                   Australians to asylum seekers in detention
Performers:               Flinders Quartet with Dimity Shepherd, mezzo-soprano, and Richard Piper,                                                                 narrator

Work of the Year- Electroacoustic/Sound Art

Title:   An Improvisation Through Time and Space 穿越光的即
Composer:                 Mindy Meng Wang
Performer:                 Mindy Meng Wang, guzheng

Title:   Closed Beginnings
Composers:               Tariro Mavondo, Reuben Lewis and Peter Knight
Performers:               Tariro Mavondo, poetry, Reuben Lewis and Peter Knight, music, Jem Savage, 
                                    sound production and Leo Dale, video production

Title:   Fugue
Composer:                 Jane Sheldon
Text:                           David Rattray
Performers:               Jane Sheldon, soprano, Kirsty McCahon, double bass, and Sydney Dance
                                   Company’s Pre-Professional Year 2020 cohort; Omer Backley-Astrachan, 

Title:   Oracle Chamber
Composer:                 Amanda Cole
Performers:               Lamorna Nightingale, bass flute and James Nightingale, saxophone

Performance of the Year – Jazz/Improvised Music

Performers:               Loretta Palmeiro and Mark Isaacs
Title:                           All Who Travel With Us
Composers:               Loretta Palmeiro and Mark Isaacs

Performers:               Phil Slater Quintet (Phil Slater, Brett Hirst, Matthew Keegan, Matthew
                                   McMahon and Simon Barker)

Title:                           The Golden Seam
Composer:                 Phil Slater, Brett Hirst, Matthew Keegan, Matthew McMahon and Simon Barker

Performer:                 Phonetic Orchestra 
Title:                           Silent Towns
Composer:                 Phonetic Orchestra

Performer:                 Vazesh (Jeremy Rose, Hamed Sadeghi and Lloyd Swanton)
Title:                           The Sacred Key
Composer:                 Jeremy Rose*, Hamed Sadeghi and Lloyd Swanton
Publisher:                  Origin Music Publishing*

Performance of the Year – Notated Composition

Performer:                 Carl Rosman
Title:                           Subdue
Composer:                 Jakob Bragg

Performer:                 Emily Granger
Title:                           The Harp and the Moon
Composer:                 Ross Edwards
Publisher:                   BMG AM

Performer:                 Ensemble Offspring
Title:                           En Masse
Composer:                Alex Pozniak

Performer:                 Sydney Chamber Opera, Jessica O’Donoghue, Jack Symonds, conductor,
                                   and Clemence Williams, director

Title:                           Commute
Composer:                 Peggy Polias,
Text:                            Pierce Wilcox 

Award for Excellence in Music Education

  • Australian Art Orchestra for Creative Music Intensive 2020
  • Moorambilla Voices for Moorambilla Magic Modules
  • Musica Viva for Musica Viva in Schools Online
  • Speak Percussion for Sounds Unheard Education Program

Award for Excellence in Experimental Music

  • Decibel New Music Ensemble for 2 Minutes from Home
  • HiberNATION for Festival of the Lo-fi
  • Keyna Wilkins for recording and developing new projects in 2020
  • Leah Barclay, Lyndon Davis & Tricia King for Listening in the Wild
Mindy Meng Wang (Work of the Year – Electroacoustic/Sound Art)

Images supplied.