The Art Music Awards are a celebration of achievements in Australian contemporary classical music, experimental music and jazz, presented by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre, and in addition to the awards themselves – the winners of which are announcedhere – the event at the University of Sydney’s Great Hall showcased Australian talent in a series of performances, beginning with Jahmarley Dawson’s Welcome to Country and a tongue-in-cheek (not to mention virtuosically dispatched) work for didgeridoo titled Telstra Dreaming.

Jonathan Biggins at the Art Music Awards. Photo © Jess Gleeson

This year’s awards, “held here at Hogwarts for the first time,” as host Jonathan Biggins put it, took on a different format from previous years, with a buzzing atmosphere in the hall, where guests sat at tables on and in front of the stage, while the speeches resonated with common themes of artistic collaboration and music as a force for change. AMC Chair Genevieve Lacey’s speech was particularly spell-binding.

“Sometimes in our current world it’s hard not to despair, faced with what we are finally calling a climate emergency, with injustices abounding in our own country as well...