As we enter not only a new year but a new decade, it’s time to look back on 2019 and celebrate the artists who touched our hearts, got our blood racing, and gave us performances we won’t forget.

In what has now become a Limelighttradition, our team of critics from around the country put together a shortlist of 40 top-notch artists and musicians – 20 Australians and 20 international artists. (For these awards an international artist who leads an Australian orchestra or ensemble is considered an Australian artist.) We then invited you, our readers, to join our reviewers and vote for your top three.

As usual it was an impressive listof outstanding conductors, composers, instrumentalists (several pianists, an oboist, clarinettist and harpsichord player), and singers across voice types, as well as an opera company (Pinchgut Opera) and a music ensemble (Omega Ensemble), so decision-making wasn’t easy but the votes flooded in.

Last year, instead of amalgamating the critics’ and public votes, we introduced the People’s Choice Awards, which proved so popular we have decided that they are here to stay. It was a...