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Liza Lim has won big at this year’s APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards, taking out both the Instrumental Work of the Year and Vocal/Choral Work of the Year awards, with Lyle Chan winning Orchestral Work of the Year and Peter de Jager winning Performance of the Year. Now in their seventh year, the awards, which were announced in a ceremony staged by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre, recognise outstanding contributions of 2016 across the genres of contemporary art music, contemporary jazz and experimental music.
The winner of the Instrumental Work of the Year, Lim’s How Forests Think, for sheng (a Chinese mouth-blown free reed instrument) and ensemble, premiered at the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music in September last year performed by Wu Wei and ELISION, with Carl Rosman conducting. The piece, which reflects on the work of anthropologist Eduardo Kohn, was up against three other finalists: Austin Buckett’s Aisles, Peter Knight’s Diomira, and Jessica Wells’ Moon Fire.
Liza Lim at the 2017 APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards
Lim’s chamber opera Tree of Codes, which was commissioned by Opera Köln, Ensemble MusikFabrik and HELLERAU – Europäisches Zentrum der Künste in co-operation with the Akademie der Künste der Welt, won the Vocal/Choral Work of the Year category, beating the set of songs With Love and Fury (recorded by Katie Noonan and the Brodsky Quartet), Paul Stanhope’s Agnus dei (which won Adelaide Chamber Singers the South Australia Award for Performance of the Year) and Kate Neal’s Permission to Speak (the performance of which won Chamber Made Opera the Victoria Performance of the Year).
Lyle Chan took out Orchestral Work of the Year for his Serenade for Tenor, Saxophone and Orchestra (“My Dear Benjamin”), which sets letters between Benjamin Britten and Wulff Scherchen, who was incarcerated as a prisoner of war during World War II. The work was premiered by tenor Andrew Goodwin, saxophonist Michael Duke and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, under that baton of Paul Kildea, in September last year, and was competing against Elena Kats-Chernin’s The Witching Hour, Andrew Ford’s Raga and Ross Edwards’ Frog and Star Cycle.
Lyle Chan and Elena Kats-Chernin at the 2017 APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards
Pianist Peter de Jager won the award for Performance of the Year for his performance of Chris Dench’s Piano Sonata, which he had commissioned from the composer. He had been up against the Adelaide Chamber Singers for their performance of Stanhope’s Agnus Dei, Benjamin Beilman and Andrew Tyson for their performance of Jane Stanley’s Cerulean and Michael Kieran Harvey for his performance of Yitzhak Yedid’s Piano Concerto.
The Award for Excellence by an Organisation went to Speak Percussion for their 2016 programme and contribution to music while the Award for Excellence by an Individual went to Daryl Buckley for over 30 years of contribution to the international projection of performance, ideas and practice through the work of the new music ensemble ELISION. The Award for Excellence in a Regional Area went to Western Australia’s Tura New Music.
Moorambilla Voices, which won the Award for Excellence in a Regional Area at last year’s awards, this year won the Award for Excellence in Music Education.
Clocked Out with Bruce and Jocelyn Wolfe received the Award for Excellence in Experimental Music for The Piano Mill Project, an architectural feature/musical instrument, purpose-built to house sixteen pianos in homage to the musical history of outback Australia.
In the jazz sections, Tom O’Halloran was awarded the Jazz Work of the Year for his album Now Noise by Memory of Elements (Moe), while the Award for Excellence in Jazz went to Andrea Keller for the creation, presentation and release of contemporary jazz. The award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music went to jazz drummer and band leader John Pochée OAM.
The awards were presented at Sydney's City Recital Hall at a ceremony hosted by Simon Marnie, featuring performances by winners and finalists. Highlights included Stanhope conducting the Sydney Chamber Choir – with soloist Karina Jay from Adelaide Chamber Singers – in a performance of his Agnus Dei, cellist Tristen Parr performing the first movement of Cat Hope’s Shadow of Mill and harpist Marshall McGuire performing Lim’s Rug Music.
The Art Music Awards also paid tribute to those members of the music community who passed away since last year’s awards, honouring Patrick Thomas (1932 – 2017), Tomasz Śpiewak (1936 – 2017), Robert Allworth (1943 – 2017), Dr Allan Zavod OAM (1945 – 2016), Richard Divall AO OBE (1945 – 2017), Richard Toop (1945 – 2017), Irene Hendricks (1952 – 2017), Janet Seidel (1955 – 2017), Graham Wood (1971 – 2017) and James Wade (1979 – 2017), whose names appeared on screen during the performance of Stanhope's Agnus Dei.
Orchestral Work of the Year
Title: Serenade for Tenor, Saxophone and Orchestra (“My Dear Benjamin”)
Composer: Lyle Chan
Text: Benjamin Britten and Wulff Scherchen
Performer: Andrew Goodwin tenor, Michael Duke saxophone, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Paul Kildea conductor
Performance of the Year
Performer: Peter de Jager
Title: Piano Sonata
Composer: Chris Dench
Vocal / Choral Work of the Year
Title: Tree of Codes
Composer: Liza Lim
Performer: Ensemble MusikFabrik; Cologne Opera, Clement Power conductor, Massimo Furlan director
Publishers: Universal Music Publishing MGB Australia obo G. Ricordi & Co. Bühnen und Musikverlag GmbH
Jazz Work of the Year
Title: Now Noise
Composer: Tom O’Halloran
Performer: Memory of Elements
Instrumental Work of the Year
Title: How Forests Think
Composer: Liza Lim
Performer: ELISION, Wu Wei soloist, Carl Rosman conductor
Publishers: Universal Music Publishing MGB Australia obo G. Ricordi & Co. Bühnen- und Musikverlag GmbH
Award for Excellence by an Organisation
Speak Percussion for their 2016 program and sustained contribution to Australian music
Award for Excellence by an Individual
Daryl Buckley for over 30 years of contribution to the international projection of Australian contemporary performance, ideas and practice
Award for Excellence in Music Education
Moorambilla Voices for their 2016 season
Award for Excellence in a Regional Area
Tura New Music for their 2016 Regional Program
Award for Excellence in Experimental Music
Clocked Out with Bruce and Jocelyn Wolfe for The Piano Mill Project
Award for Excellence in Jazz
Andrea Keller for the creation, presentation and release of contemporary jazz in 2016
2017 ART MUSIC AWARDS – STATE and TERRITORY AWARDS
ACT Award for Instrumental Work of the Year
The 7 Great Inventions Of The Modern Industrial Age by Sally Greenaway
NSW Award for Excellence in Music Education
Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA) for Young Women's Jazz Workshop program
NT Award for Excellence in a Regional Area
Ngarukuruwala for Ngiya Awungarra (I Am Here, Now)
QLD Award for Excellence by an Individual
Vanessa Tomlinson for conceiving and curating the 2016 Australian Percussion Gathering
SA Award for Performance of the Year
Adelaide Chamber Singers for Agnus Dei (Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep) by Paul Stanhope
TAS Award for Excellence by an Organisation
Mona for Dark Mofo 2016
VIC Award for Performance of the Year
Chamber Made Opera for Permission To Speak by Kate Neal
WA Award for Jazz Work Of The Year
Help You Along Your Way by Daniel Susnjar