The nominations for the 2019 AIR Awards’ Best Independent Classical Album have been announced, with the Australian Chamber Orchestra picking up two nods. Celebrating Australia’s finest independent recordings, the Australian Independent Record Labels Association has included a classical category in its annual awards for the past seven years.

The ACO has been nominated for Heroines, a live recording of its national tour last year with soprano Nicole Car. The album sees the soprano performing concert and operatic arias by Mozart, Beethoven and Verdi, while the orchestra performs Mozart’s Symphony No 27, Beethoven’s Romance in F and selections from Handel’s Alcina.

The ACO’s regional touring and education ensemble, the ACO Collective, has meanwhile been nominated for its Collective Wisdom. The result of a Hush Foundation initiative, it saw six emerging and six established composers write music inspired by their time with young people with chronic illness and mental health challenges in hospitals across Australia. The ACO’s pairing of Jonny Greenwood’s Water and Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik on its 2017 album, Water/Night Music, won the orchestra the Best Independent Classical Album last year.

The Grigoryan Brothers are nominees once again after their Songs Without Words received a nod last year. This time they’re up for their chart-topping Bach Concertos, recorded with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Northey and featuring arrangements created by their father, Leonard.

Gurrumul’s Djarimirri rounds out the nominations, a posthumous album by the artist completed just weeks before his death in 2017. The recording presents traditional songs and harmonised chants in full orchestral arrangements, featuring the yidaki and sung in Yolŋu Matha dialects. The album has also been nominated in the Best Independent Album or EP category, while Gurrumul is also up for Best Independent Artist.

The AIR Awards winners will be announced on July 25 at Adelaide’s Freemasons Hall.


The Full List of Nominations