Finsterer, Dean, Hindson and Ford head the 2014 APRA AMCOS nominations.

Australia’s most prestigious awards for new classical music, the APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards announced their list of finalists today, at the same time as announcing a new partnership with Limelight Magazine, as the 2014 awards sponsor.

Limelight is passionate about classical and art music, and we are proud to support these iconic awards as they form an integral part of the Australian music landscape and highlight great achievements by leading professionals within the artform,” says Publisher Andrew Batt-Rawden. Established and up-and-coming composers are recognised across 11 categories, which span contemporary classical, jazz and experimental music.

Canberra-born Mary Finsterer heads the list of nominations being recognised for her double bass concerto, Lake Ice, which was premiered last year by Kees Boersma and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The concerto is up for orchestral work of the year against Brett Dean’s The Last Days of Socrates (as performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Peter Coleman-Wright and Simone Young), Nigel Westlake and Lior’s popular hit Compassion and James Ledger’s violin concerto, Golden Years as premiered by Margaret Blades and WASO.

Brett Dean

Composer, conductor and violist Brett Dean also gets the nod for performance of the year for Socrates where he’s up against Finsterer again, Matthew Hindson’s Second String Quartet as played by the Elias String Quartet and Annie Hsieh’s Icy Disintegration as performed by the Arcko Symphonic Ensemble. Finsterer’s chamber piece Aerea, which was performed by the Monash Art Ensemble is nominated for instrumental work of the year making her the most nominated composer in the pack.

In the vocal category, Andrew Ford is a front-runner for his savvy Last Words, the parting shots of the famous as performed by Jane Sheldon and the Seraphim Trio. He’ll meet strong competition though in the form of From a Black Sky, Sandra France’s evocative work reflecting the catastrophic bushfires that tore through rural Canberra in 2003. Australian Voices conductor and composer Gordon Hamilton is also in the frame for MOON: an Epic Song of Love, as is Eve Klein’s electro-ambient one-woman opera The Pomegranate Cycle.

This year’s Awards coincide with the 40th Anniversary of the Australian Music Centre, an organisation dedicated to the promotion and support of the art form as well as the creators and performers of contemporary classical, improvised jazz, experimental music and sound art in Australia. Limelight’s sponsorship of the event reflects their renewed commitment to Australian contemporary music under their new publisher.

Matthew Hindson (photo by Dan White)

The Awards categories also recognise excellence by organisations and individuals, music education, experimental music and in music in regional areas. The Awards will be presented at a gala event in Melbourne on Tuesday August 26, and will be hosted by Walkley Award-winning journalist, author and co-host of ABC-TV News Breakfast, Virginia Trioli. Recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey once again curates the live performances on the night.
Limelight will be providing its social media followers with up to the minute reports on all the winners and highlights from the awards via its twitter, Instagram and Facebook streams on the night.


The full list of nominations is as follows:

Work of the Year: Instrumental

Title:                          Aerea

Composer:                 Mary Finsterer

Performed by:           Monash Art Ensemble


Title:                          Inferno

Composer:                 Elliott Gyger

Performed by:           Michael Kieran Harvey


Title:                          String Quartet No 2

Composer:                 Matthew Hindson

Performed by:           Elias String Quartet

Publishers:                Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd obo Faber Music Ltd


Title:                          String Quartet No 5

Composer:                 Andrew Ford

Performed by:           Australian String Quartet


Work of the Year: Orchestral

Title:                          Compassion

Composers:               Nigel Westlake and Lior Attar

Performed by:           Sydney Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nigel Westlake

Publisher:                  Mushroom Music Pty Ltd


Title:                           Golden Years

Composer:                 James Ledger

Performed by:           West Australian Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Otto Tausk, Margaret Blades soloist


Title:                           Lake Ice: (Missed Tales No 1)

Composer:                 Mary Finsterer

Performed by:           Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jessica Cottis, Kees Boersma soloist


Title:                          The Last Days of Socrates

Composers:               Brett Dean with text by Graeme Ellis

Performed by:           Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Simone Young, Peter Coleman-Wright soloist

Publishers:                Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd obo Boosey and Hawkes


Work of the Year: Vocal

Title:                          From a Black Sky

Composer:                 Sandra France

Text:                           Helen Nourse

Performed by:           Orchestra and children’s chorus conducted by Dr David Kram


Title:                          Last Words

Composer:                 Andrew Ford

Text:                           Tim Winton, Dorothy Porter et al.

Performed by:           Jane Sheldon and the Seraphim Trio


Title:                          MOON: an Epic Song of Love

Composer:                 Gordon Hamilton

Text:                           Venero Armanno

Performed by:           The Australian Voices conducted by Gordon Hamilton


Title:                          The Pomegranate Cycle

Composer:                 Eve Klein

Text:                           Eve Klein

Performed by:           Eve Klein


Work of the Year: Jazz

Title:                          Everything Here Is Possible

Composers:               Alister Spence and Myra Melford (GEMA)

Performed by:           Alister Spence and Myra Melford


Title:                          Happy

Composer:                 Quentin Angus

Performed by:           Quentin Angus, Alon Tayar, Bambam Rodriguez & Ari Hoenig                              

Title:                          Network of Lines

Composer:                 Tilman Robinson

Performed by:           Tilman Robinson, Peter Knight, Callum G’Froerer, Erkki Veltheim, Judith Hamann, Brett Thompson, Berish Bilander, Sam Zerna and Hugh Harvey


Title:                          Tall Tales

Composer:                 Paul Grabowsky

Performed by:           Monash Art Ensemble

Publisher:                  J Albert & Son Pty Ltd


Performance of the Year

Performer:                 Arcko Symphonic Ensemble

Title:                          Icy Disintegration

Composer:                 Annie Hsieh


Performer:                 Elias String Quartet

Title:                          String Quartet No.2

Composer:                 Matthew Hindson

Publishers:                Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd obo Faber Music Ltd


Performer:                 Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jessica Cottis, Kees Boersma soloist

Title:                          Lake Ice: (Missed Tales No 1)

Composer:                 Mary Finsterer


Performer:                 Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Simone Young, soloist Peter Coleman-Wright

Title:                          The Last Days of Socrates

Composers:               Brett Dean with text by Graeme Ellis

Publishers:                Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd obo Boosey and Hawkes


Award for Excellence by an Organisation

Arcko Symphonic Ensemble for 2013 activities

Australian Art Orchestra for touring, community building, recording, creativity & leadership

Chamber Made Opera for commissioning & presenting cutting-edge chamber opera

Frequency Oz for 2013 activities

Award for Excellence by an Individual

Carl Vine for exemplary contribution to Musica Viva Australia in 2013 as Artistic Director, and to the wider arts and cultural industry

Catherine Crock for The Hush Collection, Volumes 1 -13

David Montgomery for AMEB Project

Kim Waldock for contribution to Music Education in Australia

Award for Excellence in Music Education

Cathy Aggett for new Australian art songs for low voices

Karen Carey for the MLC School Opera House Concert 2013, plus a legacy of 25 years of concerts and commissions

Topology for Music Education Program “Top Up”

West Australian Symphony Orchestra for 2013 Education Program

Award for Excellence in a Regional Area

Bogong Centre for Sound Culture/Bogong ELECTRIC

Goulburn Regional Conservatorium for The Goulburn Oratorio


Award for Excellence in Experimental Music

Cat Hope for Drawn From Sound

Ensemble Offspring with Oren Ambarchi and Martin Ng for Ligeti Morphed

Eugene Ughetti, Robin Fox and Speak Percussion for Transducer

Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey & the City of Melbourne for 5 Short Blasts


Award for Excellence in Jazz

Alister Spence and Myra Melford for Everything Here Is Possible

Andrea Keller for the creation, release and presentation of three contemporary jazz projects in 2013

Jonathan Zwartz for the recording The Remembering And Forgetting Of The Air

The Street Theatre for Capital Jazz Project – a nine-day midwinter jazz festival

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