12 May 2011

Nearly 400 leading members of Australia's music community gathered at Sydney Theatre on May 3 to celebrate the 2011 Art Music Awards presented by APRA and The Australian Music Centre. Julian Morrow from ABC TV's The Chaser hosted the evening which was the culmination of a highly successful awards process with hundreds of nominations across a wide spectrum of contemporary music.

Formerly known as the Classical Music Awards, the 2011 Art Music Awards had a new look and included two new categories: Jazz Work of the Year and Award for Excellence in Experimental Music. Sydney Conservatorium staff and alumni were represented in many of the categories.

The outstanding contribution to Australian art music by composer, Paul Stanhope, who also teaches in The Con's Composition Unit, was recognised through two major awards. The audience was treated to a performance by the Sydney Chamber Choir of his winning composition, Deserts of Exile which took out the Vocal/Choral Work of the Year Award. He was surprised and overwhelmed when he was called to the podium once again to accept the award for Instrumental Work of the Year for his String Quartet No.2.

Finalist in the Experimental Music Award for Excellence and runner up for Instrumental Work of the Year was alumnus and staff member, Damien Ricketson, for his composition, Fractured Again which was performed by Ensemble Offspring, including Con alumni, Claire Edwardes and Jason Noble.

The outstanding work of alumna, Michelle Leonard and her team at Moorambilla Voices and the associated Moorambilla Festival was recognised with the NSW State Award.

A touching moment in the evening's program was the joint Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music which was shared between conductors, John Hopkins OBE and Patrick Thomas OBE.

Sydney Conservatorium Dean and Principal, Professor Kim Walker said APRA and The Australian Music Centre are to be commended on the Art Music Awards which is the only national event to recognise the outstanding talent to be found in Australia's art music, jazz and experimental music and those who nurture and support this talent.

"It is rewarding to see our academic staff and so many of our alumni represented across the award categories for the 2011 Art Music Awards. It reflects the status of The Con as the leading music education institution in Australia and the important contribution our teachers and alumni are making to the nation's cultural landscape. I am personally delighted that a new work by Paul Stanhope will feature in our 101 Compositions for 100 Years project."

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 2e3e0a3b455f542b5d252e3d2c3406181f215a2328621f074418131d