Curator, academic and musicologist Robyn Holmes is to be the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Services to Australian Music Award, as announced by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre. The prestigious award will be presented to her later this month at the Art Music Awards, an annual celebration of Australian contemporary classical, jazz and experimental music.

Robyn Holmes. Photo © Steven Lloyd Photography

“Robyn Holmes’ contribution to Australian cultural life over many years is indeed significant, and her fine achievement in collecting and preserving the legacies of others has facilitated access for all to the people and the stories that shape our art form,” said CEO of the Australian Music Centre, John Davis.

In her 40-year career, Holmes has held multiple academic positions, most significantly at the ANU School of Music. It was there that she oversaw and spearheaded significant curriculum reviews and the development of multiple programs. She also occupied roles at a number of other national music and education organisations, including the Australian Society for Music Education, the Musicological Society of Australia, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (Australian Branch). Holmes also served as Deputy Chair of the Board of the then-Music Council of Australia.

In June 2000, Holmes became the National Library of Australia’s first ever Curator of Music, which saw her acquire the archives of many notable figures, organisations and performing arts groups. These included the archives of Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge, as well as the papers of many composers including Miriam Hyde, Peter Sculthorpe, Richard Meale, Nigel Butterley, Paul Grabowsky, Elena Kats-Chernin and Liza Lim. Among her most significant achievements was the creation of the online service Music Australia, an invaluable database containing over 300,000 musical scores and the largest collection of related resources in Australia. Holmes officially retired from her position Curator in December of last year.

The 2018 Art Music Awards will be held in Melbourne, August 21.