Skipworth has won the Orchestral Prize while Dean has taken out the Song Cycle category in the 2016 awards.

In November, Limelight reported the nominations for the 2016 Paul Lowin Prizes and the winners have now been announced. Lachlan Skipworth’s Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra has won the 2016 Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize while Brett Dean’s And Once I Played Ophelia for soprano and string quartet has taken out the Paul Lowin Song Cycle Prize. The Paul Lowin Prizes, which are run every two or three years, are among the richest in Australia for music composition and are managed by Perpetual in collaboration with the Australian Music Centre. Since the first prizes in 1991, over $440,000 has been awarded.

Lachlan Skipworth, photo © Nik Babic

This year’s jury described Skipworth’s Concerto, which has earned the composer $25,000 in prize money, as a “highly accomplished, evocative work with virtuosic writing for the clarinet… An idiosyncratic work with the very individual voice of the composer coming through.”

This is not the first honour the Western Australian composer’s Clarinet Concerto has attracted – the premiere performance by clarinettist Ashley William Smith and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Baldur Brönnimann, won Performance of the Year in the 2015 Art Music Awards.

Brett Dean, photo © Pawel Kopczynski

And Once I Played Ophelia has earned Dean $15,000 as the winner of the Song Cycle Prize. “This intensely dramatic work was a standout for the judges,” the jury said. “A compelling and exciting work, it pins the listener to the wall from the outset with its extraordinary high tessitura, virtuosic vocal line and demanding string writing.

This year’s Lowin Prizes attracted the largest number of entries in the competition’s history, with 67 entries in the Orchestral Category and 59 in the Song Cycle Category. The other four finalists shortlisted for the prizes – Cathy Milliken, James Ledger, Andrew Ford and Andrew Schultz – each received a special commendation and a $400 prize.