Lightning strikes twice for Sydney-based pianist as her Nyman matches her Glass.

Über-gothic Princess of the Piano Sally Whitwell has triumphed at this year’s ARIA Awards carrying off the Best Classical Album for All Imperfect Things – her CD of the solo piano music of British minimalist icon Michael Nyman. The award follows her 2011 success in the same category for Mad Rush, her equally applauded album of piano music by Philip Glass.

Whitwell fended off strong competition from Norway-based leading countertenor David Hansen for Rivals, his nine world premiere castrati arias CD, saxophonist Amy Dickson for her film music inspired album Catch Me If You Can, soprano Jane Sheldon for her album North + South and Nigel Westlake for his moving Requiem for Eli.

All Imperfect Things was a double winner with the ABC’s Virginia Read taking the Best Engineer Award for her work on the album – the first time a woman has won in this category.

Paul Kelly, James Ledger, Genevieve Lacey and the musicians of the Australian national Academy of Music (ANAM) won the Best Soundtrack for Conversations With Ghosts. Commissioned by ANAM, the pieces were co-written by Paul Kelly and James Ledger, based on poems by Les Murray, WB Yeats, Judith Wright, Alfred Lord Tennyson and others, as well as some new lyrics from Kelly.

“Working with Paul, James and Genevieve on the creation of this work through to the live performances and the recording has been a wonderful experience for ANAM. For the ten students involved in the workshops and performances that have led to the creation of this beautiful work, it has been a richly rewarding project that will stay with them for the rest of their lives”, said Paul Dean, Artistic Director of ANAM.

In his acceptance speech, Paul Kelly said “Conversations With Ghosts is a dish that simmered for two years in the making. Thanks to Paul Dean, Nick Bailey and Matthew Hoy at The Australian National Academy of Music for giving me the basic recipe and teaming me with fellow chefs James Ledger and Genevieve Lacey who brought a riot of flavours to the pot.”

The Fine Arts Awards were announced earlier today with Best Jazz Album going to The Idea of North for Smile and oud virtuoso Joseph Tawadros picking up Best World Music Album for Chameleons of the White Shadow.

Click here to read the Limelight interview with Sally Whitwell on the the new album.


Full ARIA Fine Arts results below:


Best Classical Album

Winner: Sally Whitwell – All Imperfect Things: Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman

Amy Dickson, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra ­– Catch Me If You Can

David Hansen – Rivals: Arias for Farinelli and Co.

Jane Sheldon ­– North + South

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Nigel Westlake – Missa Solis: Requiem for Eli


Best Jazz Album

Winner: The Idea Of North – Smile

Andrea Keller ­– Family Portraits

Jonathan Zwartz – The Remembering and Forgetting of the Air

Renee Geyer – Swing

Tommy Emmanuel and Martin Taylor – The Colonel & The Governor


Best World Music Album

Winner: Joseph Tawadros – Chameleons of the White Shadow

Airileke – Weapon of Choice

Rasa Duende – Improvisations

Shellie Morris and The Borroloola Songwomen – Together We Are Strong – Ngambala Wiji Li-Wununga The Song Peoples Sessions

Various – Melodie Francaise


Best Original Soundtrack/Cast/Show Album

Winner: Paul Kelly, James Ledger, Genevieve Lacey, ANAM Musicians – Conversations With Ghosts

David Bridie – Satellite Boy

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis Present – Lawless – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Tina Arena – Symphony of Life

Various – triple j's One Night Stand


Artisan Awards Nominees


Producer of the Year

Wayne Connolly and Boy & Bear – Boy & Bear, Harlequin Dream

Luke Steele/Nick Littlemore/Peter Mayes/Jonathan Sloan – Empire Of The Sun, Ice On The Dune

Winner: Harley Streten – Flume, Flume

Virginia Read – Sally Whitwell, All Imperfect Things: Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman

Kevin Parker – Tame Impala, Lonerism


Engineer of the Year

Winner: Virginia Read – Sally Whitwell, All Imperfect Things

Dann Hume – Alpine, Seeing Red

Peter Mayes – Empire Of The Sun, Ice On The Dune

Nicky Bomba, Robin Mai – Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Melbourne Ska Orchestra

Kevin Parker – Tame Impala, Lonerism


Best Cover Art

Winner: Aaron Hayward and Dave Homer (Debaser) – Empire Of The Sun, Ice On The Dune

Justin Maller – Bliss n Eso, Circle In The Sky

Glen Hannah – Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson, Wreck and Ruin

Kevin Parker & Leif Podhajsky – Tame Impala, Lonerism

Graeme Base – The Cat Empire, Steal The Light