Emma Matthews takes on the nation’s biggest orchestra for the Best Classical Album ARIA.

The Australian ARIA panel have today announced the 2014 nominations for Fine Arts awards to be presented at a ceremony held at the Art Gallery of NSW on October 7.

Nominations in the Best Classical Album category have been diverse and disparate, from early to contemporary, with iconic Australian soprano Emma Matthews‘ Mozart Arias going head to head with the proverbial Goliath of orchestras, the magnificent Australian World Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta in Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Mahler’s Symphony No 1. The popular Matthews was Limelight cover artist back in March this year and her album was a subsequent Editor’s Choice. The AWO live recording reflects the highly praised concerts that took place in Sydney and Melbourne last year. It should be quite a contest.

Zubin Mehta conducting the AWO

Other contenders include Lior and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Nigel Westlake with Compassion; and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, collaborating with Andrew Macleod, Benjamin Northey and Markus Stenz on Adès Polaris and Paul Stanhope’s Piccolo Concerto. It’s been a good year for Stanhope following his Jandamarra project with Sydney Symphony Orchestra and recently applauded Björk concert with Sydney Chamber Choir.

In line with previous years, the Fine Arts and Artisan ARIAs are to be presented at an awards event seven weeks before the main ARIA Awards night, thus effectively sidelining classical music. The ARIA Awards was first split into two ceremonies in 2005, in a move that has further defined the divide between ‘pop’ and ‘high’ culture.

ARIA Chairman and Chairman of Sony Music Asia Denis Handlin congratulated all the nominees, saying “ARIA is delighted to present these awards and to recognise the highly talented Australian musicians and artisans across the diversity of the seven award categories.”

Also with a nomination is sound engineer Virginia Read, who made history last year when she became the first female, and the first classical engineer, to win the Engineer of the Year Award. She’s nominated for her work on Simon Tedeschi’s popular Gershwin: Take Two.

Imagery by iconic Australian artist Ken Done will represent this year’s awards, with the main ARIA Awards ceremony to be held on November 26 at The Star, broadcast by Channel Ten.

Best Classical Album

Australian World Orchestra, Zubin Mehta – Stravinsky Rite of Spring/Mahler Symphony No.1

Emma Matthews, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Marko Letonja – Mozart Arias

Joe Chindamo & Zoe Black – Dido’s Lament

Latitude 37 – Empires

Lior, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Nigel Westlake – Compassion

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Macleod, Benjamin Northey, Markus Stenz – Adès Polaris/Stanhope Piccolo Concerto

Topology – Share House
Best Jazz Album

Andrea Keller Quartet with Strings – Wave Rider

Emma Pask – Season Of My Heart

Graeme Lyall, John Hoffman, Tony Gould, Ben Robertson, Tony Floyd – The Hunters & Pointers

Paul Grabowsky Sextet – The Bitter Suite

Vince Jones – The Monash Sessions
Best Original Soundtrack/Cast/Show Album

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, Sydney Symphony Orchestra – Gurrumul: His Life And Music

Glenn Shorrock & Brian Cadd – The Story of Sharky and The Caddman

Katie Noonan – Fierce Hearts

Various Artists – Spirit Of Akasha

Various Artists – triple j’s One Night Stand: Mildura

Best World Music Album

Astronomy Class – Mekong Delta Sunrise

Jane Rutter – Flute Spirit: Dreams and Improvisations

Joseph Tawadros – Permission to Evaporate

The Barons of Tang – Into The Mouths of Hungry Giants

William Barton – Birdsong at Dusk
Engineer of the Year

Dustin Tebbutt for Dustin Tebbutt – Bones EP

Eric J Dubowsky for Chet Faker – Built On Glass

Matthew Lambert and Barry Francis for Hilltop Hoods – Walking Under Stars

Nicholas Wilson and Dann Hume for Sticky Fingers – Land Of Pleasure

Paul McKercher for Andy Bull – Sea Of Approval

Virginia Read for Simon Tedeschi, James Morrison, Sarah McKenzie – Gershwin: Take Two
Producer Of The Year 

Alex JL Hiew and SLUMS for Troye Sivan – TRXYE

Dann Hume for Sticky Fingers – Land Of Pleasure

John Castle and Josh Pyke for Josh Pyke – The Beginning and the End of Everything

Nicholas Murphy for Chet Faker – Built On Glass

Stuart Stuart for Sheppard – Bombs Away
Best Cover Art

Angus & Julia Stone for Angus & Julia Stone – Angus & Julia Stone

Celeste Potter for DZ Deathrays – Black Rat

Sia for Sia – 1000 Forms of Fear

The Leonard Brothers for 360 – Utopia

Tin & Ed for Chet Faker – Built On Glass