Julian Day and Katy Abbott are among the 40 songwriters and composers named as finalists for this year’s $15,000 Awards.

Award-winning composer, broadcaster, writer and artist Julian Day is one of five composers named as a finalist in the classical category of the 2017 APRA Professional Development Awards. His fellow nominees are composers Katy Abbott, Tristan Coelho, Amanda Cole and Nicole Murphy.

Julian Day. Photograph courtesy of the ABC

They are among 40 Australian songwriters and composers announced as finalists across seven categories – Popular Contemporary, Classical, Jazz, Film & Television, Country, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and Dance/Electronic. Five finalists have also been named for the Indigenous Music and Media Award, supported by Smugglers of Light, a foundation set up in memory of Eli Westlake, son of composer Nigel Westlake, who was tragically killed in 2008 at the age of 21.

The APRA Professional Development Awards are held every two years. The winners of the career-boosting initiative take home a cash prize of $15,000. Previous winners in the classical category include Peter McNamara, Alex Pozniak and Melody Eötvös. This year, 60 percent of the 40 finalists are women.

Day is well-known as a broadcaster. He has presented and produced radio programmes for ABC Classic FM, including the long-running New Music Up Late and At Home. He has also appeared on BBC Radio 3, triple j, Local Radio and Radio National, and is a regular contributor to Limelight.

Outside the studio, he is an award-winning composer. Known for his work with 1980s synthesisers, he co-directs Super Critical Mass, a large-scale participatory sound project in public places, and has collaborated with the likes of Synergy Percussion, The Song Company, Lisa Moore, Australian String Quartet and Decibel at New York’s MATA Festival, Spitalfields Music Festival in London, and VIVID Sydney.

Katy Abbott is based in Melbourne and explores concepts of home, place and human nature in her music, which frequently exhibits a cheeky humour and juxtaposes contemporary flavours with traditional settings. Her compositions have been performed, published and recorded around the world, brought to life by many of leading Australian ensembles including Halcyon, The Song Company, Syzygy Ensemble, Ironwood Chamber Ensemble and several major symphony orchestras.

Amanda Cole has a PhD in composition from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Her compositions feature microtonal structures, interference beats and fusions of electronic and acoustic timbres. In 2006, she travelled to London to study electroacoustic composition with Denis Smalley at City University. She also works in the New Media area and creates works in collaboration with visual artists.

Brisbane-based composer Nicole Murphy represented Australia at the 30th Asian Composers League Festival in Tel Aviv in 2012. Most recently, she was selected as one of six composers to work with Steve Reich in Toronto as a part of Soundstreams’ celebration of his 80th birthday. She has been commissioned by major arts organisations including the Australian Ballet, the Royal Academy of Dance (London), Experiments in Opera (New York), the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Wild Rumpus (San Francisco), Chamber Sounds (Singapore), and the Definiens Project (Los Angeles). Her music has been performed by ensembles such as the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Ars Nova (Dallas), Halcyon (Sydney) and Chronology Arts (Sydney).

Murphy is Composer in Residence at the Queensland Academy for Creative Industries and works with Musica Viva in Schools, undertaking residency projects in remote Queensland communities.

Tristan Coelho is an award-winning Sydney-based composer who specialises in concert music, film and multimedia projects. He was a finalist in the Instrumental Work of the Year category in the APRA Art Music Awards. With an interest in a wide range of music from experimental classical and electronic to world music and jazz, his work has been performed in a wide range of venues including art galleries in London, 12th-century churches in France, theatres in the Netherlands, and concert halls in Australia and the US.

His orchestration and arrangement credits include work for Japanese video game composer Hitoshi Sakimoto, Australian composer Matthew Hindson, oud virtuoso Joseph Tawadros and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. He is a founding member of Sideband, a composer/performer collective which supports emerging Australian musicians.

The winners of the 2017 APRA Professional Development Awards will be announced on July 25.

A full list of finalists can be found HERE