ABC Classics makes a clean sweep taking all four gongs in the ARIA Fine Art categories.

ABC Classics put on an impressive display at this year’s ARIA Awards, winning all four gongs in the Fine Arts categories. The clean sweep was announced at a ceremony held at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney earlier today.

Despite some stiff competition from Emma Matthews’ Mozart Aria’s album, and the Australian World Orchestra’s recording of last year’s highly acclaimed performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Mahler’s First Symphony, Nigel Westlake and Lior’s Compassion took the coveted Best Classical Album award.

A collaboration between contemporary composer Westlake and the Isreali-born, Melbourne-based singer, recorded by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House, Compassion (which was critically lauded after its premiere as well as being nominated for best orchestral work at this year’s APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards) is an evocative collection of songs weaving together poetic reflections from the worlds of Judaism and Islam, infused with middle-eastern musical references. Compassion was inspired by the death of Westlake’s son, Eli, in 2008, and these powerfully emotive, sorrowful, cathartic and ultimately joyous songs have proved an enourmous hit with audiences both in live performance and as a recording.

ABC Music’s victory was all but assured at this year’s awards as they dominated the nominations with 22 nods across 11 categories, including all the front runners in the Best Classical Album released on ABC Classics.  As well as Best Classical Album, ABC also took home the Best World Music Album (Joseph Tawadros, Permission to Evaporate), Best Jazz Album (Paul Grabowsky Sextet, The Bitter Suite) and Best Original Soundtrack (Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu and SSO, Gurrumul: His Life and Music) awards. The rest of ABC Music’s nominations across the rest of the ARIA Awards will be decided on November 26 at the official awards ceremony.

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