William Barton has won the 2021 Australia Council Don Banks Music Award. He is one of eight recipients of the peer-nominated Australia Council Awards announced today, which recognise outstanding contributions in music, literature, community arts and cultural development, emerging and experimental arts, visual arts, theatre and dance.

The Don Banks Music Award – which was named in honour of the composer, performer and first Chair of the Australia Council’s Music Board – acknowledges the achievements of a distinguished artist who has made an exceptional and sustained contribution to music in Australia.

William Barton has received the Don Banks Music Award in the 2021 Australia Council Awards. Photo © Keith Saunders

Previous recipients include Deborah Conway (2020), David Bridie (2019), Liza Lima (2018), Lyn Williams (2017), Brett Dean (2016), Archie Roach A (2015), Mike Nock (2014) and Kev Carmody (2013).

Barton is a proud Kalkadunga man. A virtuoso didgeridoo performer and composer, he has managed to successfully combine traditional and Western music, marrying the didgeridoo with orchestras and classical ensembles. He grew up on a cattle station near Mt Isa and started learning the didgeridoo from...