Modern Australian composition and ABC Music are the biggest winners in this year’s list of nominations

Modern Australian composition has shown a powerful presence in this year’s ARIA Awards, with three of the five Best Classical Album nominations going to recordings of 20th and 21st Century works by Australian composers. However the biggest success of this year’s classical nominations was that of ABC Classics, who produced four of the five Best Classical Albums on the shortlist, as well as receiving nods in the Best Original Soundtrack / Cast / Show, Best World Music and Best Engineer categories. Sister labels ABC Jazz and ABC Music also secured a slew of nominations across the Fine Arts and Artisan categories of the ARIA Awards, stacking up a total of 14 nominations for the ABC, including 12 Best Recording nods, each of which features at least one premiere recording of a new Australian work.

Manager of ABC Classics and Jazz Toby Chadd said of the impressive accomplishsment, “We’re privileged to work with a superb roster of artists and arts organisations at ABC Music. We’re delighted to see those artists and their music-making honoured so broadly with these nominations, from the state symphony orchestras to jazz musicians to classical soloists.”  Chadd was also clearly pleased with this year’s significant recognition of new Australian music, saying, “We’re particularly proud that every single one of the ABC-nominated albums features at least one world-premiere recording of a contemporary Australian composition, with seven of the albums comprising entirely new Australian music. These ARIA nominations are a testament to the quality and appeal of Australian contemporary music, and the commitment of ABC Classics and Jazz to promoting that music.”

Previous ARIA-Award winner Sally Whitwell was shortlisted for her debut album of original compositions, I Was Flying, and classical saxophone virtuoso Amy Dixon’s Island Songs, which features three contemporary concerti by Australian composition legends Peter Sculthorpe, Brett Dean and Ross Edwards, was also nominated. The music of Peter Sculthorpe, Australia’s most hallowed composer who sadly passed away last year, was recognised again with a Best Classical Album nomination for Tamara- Anna Cislowska’s disc of the complete Sculthorpe piano works. The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s Brandenburg Celebrates, released to mark the 25th anniversary of the period instrument ensemble, and the Grigoryan Brothers’ This Time, complete this year’s Best Classical Album nominations. ABO’s latest album also earned a second nod, this time in the technical awards for Virginia Read’s sound engineering.

Other classical achievements in this year’s nominations include the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Nigel Westlake’s score to the recent Australian hit film, Paper Planes, and Opera Australia’s premiere cast recording of Brett Dean’s 2010 opera Bliss, which both receive nods in the Best Soundtrack / Cast / Show category, and contemporary recorder master Genevieve Lacey’s collaboration with Scottish-Australian accordionist James Crabb, Heard This and Thought of You, nominated for the Best World Music Album Award.

The announcement of this year’s Fine Arts and Artisan nominees was accompanied by the unveiling of this year’s commemorative artwork, now an annual tradition of the awards first started in 2013. This year the Koori artists and 2015 Archibald Prize finalist Blak Douglas created the visual work, which he describes as celebrating the unsung, the undiscovered, the forgotten and the excluded.”

The winners of the Fine Art and Artisan ARIA Awards will be announced in Sydney on October 7. 


Best Classical Album

Amy Dickson – Island Songs (ABC Classics / Universal Music Australia)

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra – Brandenburg Celebrates (ABC Classics / Universal Music Australia)

Grigoryan Brothers – This Time (Which Way Music)

Sally Whitwell – I Was Flying (ABC Classics / Universal Music Australia)

Tamara-Anna Cislowska – Peter Sculthorpe: Complete Works for Solo Piano (ABC Classics / Universal Music Australia)

Best Jazz Album

Allan Browne Quintet – Ithaca Bound (Jazzhead / MGM Distribution)

Barney McAll – Mooroolbark (ABC Jazz / Universal Music Australia)

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Quarters! (Flightless / Remote Control)

Paul Grabowsky – Solo (ABC Jazz / Universal Music Australia)

Sarah McKenzie – We Could Be Lovers (ABC Music / Universal Music Australia)

Best Original Soundtrack / Cast / Show Album

Ed Kuepper – Last Cab To Darwin – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Sony Music Entertainment Australia)

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra / Nigel Westlake – Paper Planes – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (ABC Music / Universal Music Australia)

Opera Australia – Bliss (Brett Dean / Amanda Holden / Peter Carey) (ABC Classics / Universal Music Australia)

Various Artists – Beat The Drum – Celebrating 40 Years of triple j (ABC Music / Universal Music Australia)

Various Artists – The Water Diviner – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Universal Music Australia)

Best World Music Album

Baby et Lulu – Album Deux (Independent / MGM)

Christine Anu – Island Christmas (Social Family Records / Universal Music Australia / The Orchard)

Genevieve Lacey / James Crabb – Heard This and Thought of You (ABC Classics / Universal Music Australia)

Joseph Tawadros – Truth Seekers, Lovers and Warriors (ABC Music / Universal Music Australia)

Gurrumul  – The Gospel Album (Skinnyfish Music / MGM)


Engineer of the Year

Virginia Read for Australian Brandenburg Orchestra – Brandenburg Celebrates (ABC Classics / Universal Music Australia)

Adrian Breakspear and Peter Holz for Gang of Youths – Radioface (Verge / Sony Music Entertainment Australia)

Mitch Kenny for Hermitude  – Dark Night Sweet Light (Elefant Traks / Inertia Music)

Kevin Parker for Tame Impala  – Currents (Modular / Universal Music Australia)

Nick Didia for The Waifs – Beautiful You  (Jarrah Records / MGM)

Producer Of The Year

Damn Moroda for Daniel Johns – Talk (Eleven / EMI)

Luke Dubber and Angus Stuart for Hermitude – Dark Night Sweet Light (Elefant Traks / Inertia Music)

Garth Porter for Lee Kernaghan – Spirit Of The Anzacs (ABC Music / Universal Music Australia)

Kevin Parker for Tame Impala – Currents (Modular / Universal Music Australia)

Nick Didia for The Waifs – Beautiful You (Jarrah Records / MGM)

Best Cover Art

Courtney Barnett for Courtney Barnett  – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit (Milk! Records / Remote Control)

Daniel Johns, Aref and Peter Salmon-Lomas for Daniel Johns – Talk (Eleven / EMI)

Timothy Lovett for Flight Facilities – Down To Earth (Future Classic)

Bjenny Montero for Pond – Man It Feels Like Space Again (EMI)

Nathan Johnson for Gang of Youths – The Positions (Verge / Sony Music Entertainment Australia)

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