SLAM campaigners and playwright Lally Katz also share in $150,000 fund.

The Australian Brandenberg Orchestra have been named as the winner of the Group Award at this year’s Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards, announced yesterday by the Chair of the Sidney Myer Fund, Carrillo Gantner AO. The annual national award is made in recognition of significant achievements within the arts but also considers the future potential of a group or individual artist to make valuable contributions to Australian society through the performing arts.

The period instrument ensemble, which is based in Sydney, will receive $80,000. Bruce Applebaum, the co-founder of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra along with Musical Director Paul Dyer, said the award was “a wonderful way to start the year. We’re all feeling very buoyant here.”  While the organisation is still deciding how to use the award, Applebaum said that at least some of it would go towards increasing the ABO’s presence in Victoria. “We’re very keen to build upon the success we’ve had in that state. This year we’ve seen 90% of our subscribers renew in Melbourne, which has been a fantastic response to the performances we gave as part of our 25th anniversary celebrations last year. We’re very excited about Victoria and our future there,” he said.

Lally Katz

Playwright and theatre performer Lally Katz, whose work has been championed by Sydney’s Belvoir Street Theatre and Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre, was awarded the coveted Individual Award, receiving $50,000. The 39-year-old writer said she would use the money to allow her to pursue unfunded artistic projects. “It will help with projects that I want to do, but there might not be money attached, learning maybe to write in other forms and doing things on spec, which I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do,” she said.

The Facilitator’s Prize was awarded to Helen Marcou and Quincy McLean, the co-founders of SLAM (Save Live Australia’s Music). The pair who own the Bakehouse Studios in Melbourne, receive $20,000 in recognition for their volunteer work and campaigning over the past five years, lobbying the Victorian Government to protect the state’s live music venues. This campaigning led to the introduction of new planning reforms for live music venues last year.

In the past 31 years, the Sidney Myer Fund has awarded over $2.2 million to arts organisations and artists across the country. It is one of the largest annual arts awards, outside state and federal grants, in the country.

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