James Madsen has been announced as the winner of guitarist Matt Withers’ 2020 Australian Music Composition Competition. The Sydney composer receives a $3000 cash prize for his classical guitar and piano work Celestial River Reflections, a response to visual artist Sue Needham’s Outback.

James Madsen

Celestial River Reflectionsstood out to the judging panel for its clear and effective writing and obvious musicianship,” Withers told Limelight. “Both the piano and guitar are notoriously difficult to write for and James’ compositional style is extremely well developed. The way James drew influence from the inspiration image, Outbackby Sue Needham, showed wonderful creativity, followed through with talent in his composition. It will be a brilliant fit on our ABC Classic album alongside Westlake, Whitwell, Edwards and Greenaway.”

“I am totally elated with being awarded first prize,” Madsen told Limelight. “I am really excited as well [to be]able to workshop the piece with two fine Australian musicians, Matt Withers and Sally Whitwell, and then having them perform and record the work. It’s quite an astounding competition that these artists have created [to help] produce new Australian music, specifically guitar and piano repertoire....