Winners of the 2020 Art Music Awards Announced

[from the media release]

The 2020 Art Music Awards have been celebrated in a virtual ceremony fit for a creative nation, with winning artists and organisations spanning the country from East to West, and from Tasmania to the Northern Territory.

Presented annually by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre (AMC), the Art Music Awards acknowledge the achievements of composers, performers and educators in the genres of contemporary classical music, jazz, improvisation, sound art and experimental music. The 2020 Awards included several new and restructured categories, in tune with the constantly evolving art music landscape.

The inaugural National Luminary Award for an Individual, for sustained contribution over several years, was presented to Dharug composer Chris Sainsbury for initiating and driving the Ngarra-Burria: First Nations Composers program, a critically important project. According to the judging panel: “Chris’ work over the past five years has had a national impact in both training emerging First Nations composers and redefining their role and future within Australian art music.”

Bassist and composer Linda May Han Oh continued Western Australia’s strong performance by taking home the Art Music Award for Work of the Year: Jazz for her Aventurine– “a pinnacle of what jazz can be in Australia today” according to the judging panel.

The Performance of the Year Awards for the first time presented in two categories were a show of strength by women in particular. Western Australian percussionist Louise Devenish won the Notated Music category with her program ‘Sheets of Sound’; while Sandy Evans’s Bridge of Dreams team (Sandy Evans, Shubha Mudgal, Aneesh Pradhan and Sirens Big Band) took home the inaugural Performance of the Year: Jazz/Improvised Music Award. Devenish is also winner of the Luminary Award for Western Australia.

The 10th annual Art Music Awards were co-hosted by Jonathan Biggins, Dr Lou Bennett AM and Zela Margossian, with performances by Robin Fox& Erkki Veltheim, Louise Devenish& Thea Rossen, Linda May Han Oh with Fabian Almazan & Ben Vanderwal, Melanie Mununggurr-Williams and Beatrice Lewis. The performance program was curated by Barney McAll.


  • Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music: Dr Ros Bandt
  • Award for Excellence in Music Education: Netanela Mizrahi and Guwanbal Gurruwiwifor the Djari Project
  • Award for Excellence in a Regional Area: Gillian Howell and Tura New Musicfor the Fitzroy Valley New Music Project
  • Award for Excellence in Experimental Music: The Music Box Projectfor Shallow Listening
Work of the Year: Choral
  • Title:I am Martuwarra
  • Composer: Paul Stanhope, text by Steve Hawke
  • Performer: Gondwana Choirs, Luminescence Chamber Singers, Valla Voices,Hunter Singers, and Resonance and Lyn Williams, conductor
Work of the Year: Chamber Music
  • Title:passing bells: day
  • Composer: Chris Dench
  • Performer: Alex Raineri
Work of the Year: Large Ensemble
  • Title: Viola Concerto
  • Composer: James Ledger
  • Performer: Brett Dean, West Australian Symphony Orchestraand Fabien Gabel, conductor
Work of the Year: Electroacoustic/ Sound Art
  • Title: Everywhen
  • Composer: Matthias Schack-Arnott
  • Performer: Matthias Schack-Arnott
Work of the Year: Dramatic
  • Title: Oscar and Lucinda
  • Composer: Elliott Gyger, librettist Pierce Wilcox
  • Performer: Sydney Chamber Opera and Jack Symonds, conductor

  • Title: Speechless
  • Composer: Cat Hope
  • Performer: Judith Dodsworth, Karina Utomo, Caitlin Cassidy,Sage Pbbbt (soloists), with Australian Bass Orchestra, Decibel New Music Ensemble andAaron Wyatt, conductor
Work of the Year: Jazz
  • Title: Aventurine
  • Composer: Linda May Han Oh
  • Performer: Linda May Han Oh, Greg Ward, Matt Mitchell,Ches Smith, Fung Chern Hwei, Sara Caswell, Benni von Gutzeit,Jeremy Harman, Invenio with Gian Slater, director
Performance of the Year: Notated Composition
  • Performer: Louise Devenish
  • Title: Sheets of Sound
  • Composers: Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh, Matthias Schack-Arnott,Louise Devenish and Stuart James

Performance of the Year: Jazz/ Improvised Music
  • Performer: Sandy Evans, Shubha Mudgal, Aneesh Pradhanand Sirens Big Band
  • Title: Bridge of Dreams
  • Composer: Sandy Evans, Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan
Luminary Awards: National
  • Individual: Chris Sainsbury for initiating and driving Ngarra-Burria: First Peoples Composers program
  • Organisation: Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra for Australian Composers School, Australian Conducting Academy, and professional development opportunities for Australian musicians
Luminary Awards: State/ Territory
  • Australian Capital Territory: Canberra International Music Festival for their record-breaking 2019 event and ongoingreputation for high quality and innovative programming
  • New South Wales: Joanna Drimatis for sustained contribution to the performance, programming and advocacy of Australian works, and string music education
  • South Australia: Ross McHenry for trailblazing global pathways through artistic practice for South Australian musicians
  • Northern Territory: David Wilfred & Daniel Wilfred for cultural leadership and sustained creative contributions in Australia and beyond
  • Western Australia: Louise Devenish for her ongoing advocacy, commissioning and performance of new percussion music in Western Australia
  • Victoria: Making Waves for breaking down perceived state barriers and connecting a new generation of Australian musicians
  • Tasmania: Michael Kieran Harvey for supporting the Tasmanian new music community through teaching, performance and recording
  • Queensland: Katie Noonan for The Glad Tomorrowand furthering the future of Queensland musicians

Watch the ceremony