Helen Gifford OAM heads the diverse list of artists and their notable works rewarded in Melbourne.

The winners of 2016’s culturally important Art Music Awards have been announced at a gala event held in Melbourne’s Plaza Ballroom. Raconteur and writer Jonathan Biggins hosted the celebrations with his usually mixture of wit and ocassional waspishness, while taking aim at a fair few politicians along the way. The procedings featured musical performances by soloists and ensembles including Speak Percussion and the Australian Art Orchestra, and presenters included Waleed Aly, Mairi Nicolson, Merlyn Quaife and Katie Noonan.

The Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music was presented to 80-year-old composer Helen Gifford OAM in recognition of a long and illustrious career. Born in Victoria in 1953, Gifford regularly wrote music for Melbourne Theatre Company productions in the 1970s, and in 1974 she joined the Australian Opera as composer-in-residence. Describing herself as “a proud modernist”, Gifford has written a wide range of compositions including dramatic works, chamber music and vocal pieces.

Helen Gifford and Dr Paul Crotty

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