Helen Gifford will receive an award for distinguished service at the 2016 Art Music Awards.

Australian composer Helen Gifford OAM is to be the recipient of the Distinguished Services to Australian Art Music Award for 2016 as announced by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre. The prestigious award will be presented to her at the Art Music Awards to be held at the Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne on August 16.

Born in Victoria in 1953, Gifford gained a Bachelor of Music at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium in 1958. Between 1970 and 1982, she regularly wrote music for Melbourne Theatre Company productions, and in 1974 she joined the Australian Opera as composer-in-residence. Describing herself as “a proud modernist”, Gifford has written a wide range of compositions including dramatic works, chamber music and vocal pieces. In 1996, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by Monash University and that same year received a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to music.

The 2016 Art Music Awards will be hosted by Jonathan Biggins and will feature a number of music performances curated by pianist Gabriella Smart. Performers include Lina Andonovska on piccolo flute playing Red Robin by Awards finalist Cathy Milliken and fellow finalists Speak Percussion, who will perform an excerpt from Damien Ricketson’s Rendition Clinic. Composer/pianist Erik Griswold and the Australian Art Orchestra will perform a section of Water Pushes Sand, a finalist for Jazz Work of the Year.