Distinguished Service to Australian Music Award recognises the composer for his major musical achievements.

With over 200 works to his name, composer Larry Sitsky will be honoured this year with the Distinguished Service to Australian Music Award at this year’s Arts Music Awards, hosted by APRA|AMCOS, for his significant contribution to Australian music and culture.

The Chinese-born Australian composer, musicologist, pianist and teacher travelled to Australia in 1951 and began his musical career with a scholarship at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, where he studied piano and composition. Sitsky furthered his academic success studying at the San Francisco Conservatory, the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and the School of Music in Canberra.

In addition to his academic success Sitsky can boast a vast array of compositional achievements. Celebrated for his diversity in compositional arrangements across genres such as opera, theatre, orchestral music, chamber music, solo and vocal music, the honoured composer has worked with every major orchestra in Australia. His works have been commissioned nationally and internationally, including a the premiere of major commission Beowulf in the Netherlands in 2007.

When asked to comment on his upcoming honour, Sitsky noted that music is something more than an occupation in his life. “Perhaps the best thing I can say is a quote from Jean Cocteau: ‘Art is a priesthood, not an occupation’. I have lived with this precept all my life,” he said.

Sitsky has previously been recognised for his prolific contribution to the Australian Musical landscape in 2000 becoming a Member of the Order of Australia. The newest honour will compliment his vast array of both international and national accolades including the prestigious Don Banks Award, a Centenary Medal and an Advance Australia award.

The 2015 Arts Music Awards, which will take place in Sydney next week, will also showcase an impressive array of performers and presenters selected by music curator and recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey.

The Distinguished Service Award is bestowed to individuals recognised by the Australian Performing Rights Association Board and the Australian Music Centre. Previous award winners have included John Hopkins OBE, Patrick Thomas MBE, Peter Sculthorpe, George Dreyfus and Richard Gill.