The 2019 Art Music Fund awards grants to nine composers for brave new works

Monday, 06 May 2019

Art Music Fund recipient Dr Eve de Castro-Robinson

Since 2016, the Art Music Fund has awarded a total of more than $400,000 to Australian and New Zealand composers creating brave, new and lasting works. The 2019 Art Music Fund's $100,000 allocation will support a range of projects coming to life - from concertos to opera to the avant-garde. 

The 2019 Art Music Fund recipients are Dr Eve de Castro-Robinson (NZ), Professor Anne Boyd, Anthea Caddy and Judith Hamann, Liam Flenady, Kate Neal, Dr James Rushford, and David Shea and Monica Lim. 

The successful applicants’ compositions demonstrate the high-level creativity, innovation and collaboration happening in the sector: from new works for modern dance, to a biographical opera on anthropologist Olive Muriel Pink, to projects highlighting climate change.

John Davis, CEO of the Australian Music Centre:

"Themes of place, the environment, and climate change are some of what is reflected in the successful applications, and many other of the applications to this year's Art Music Fund. These are themes that also dominate much of Australia and New Zealand's social and political agenda, demonstrating that the artform engages with the 'here and now' in very direct ways. Congratulations to these artists, and to all those who are furthering our artform through their creative work, and thanks to APRA AMCOS for their ongoing investment in commissioning new works in the art music sector."

In line with the aims of the Fund – to create commissioned work that is complemented by an exploitation program – the selected works are a testament to the international stature of Australian and New Zealand composers, with plans for recordings and performances taking place in Melbourne, Auckland and onto Brussels, Berlin, New York, and Fife, Scotland and beyond.

2019 Art Music Fund recipient Dr Eve de Castro-Robinson:

"This commission is a very welcome boost as it allows me freedom to create the work in my own time. This kind or project requires research, long-distance collaboration, and instrumental experimentation, and as I am a proportional teacher at the University of Auckland, it is hard to complete a major work during semester time. The bulk of Clarion will be written in inter-semester break.

The APRA Art Fund has been a wonderful initiative to support composers of all types to come up with work which has international uptake and impact. It gives the creator the means, the impetus and encouragement to complete a significant work."

"The title Clarion represents a clarion call, a call to arms, across oceans for us to wake up to climate change and rising sea levels. Performances in Scotland, New Zealand and elsewhere will highlight research from the world leading Oceans Institute of the University of St Andrews, and develop a new context and significance for the Pūtātara (Maori conch shell trumpet,) different to those found anywhere else in the world, as they have a wooden mouthpiece.

The trumpet is naturally a calling, signalling instrument and Bede will play the conch shell to further enhance this aspect of the work overall. My 2018 work orchestral work Tipping Point was also a cautionary sonic statement which dealt with the vision of my son's generation’s future, the impending crises of climate change and threat of nuclear war."

2019 Art Music Fund recipients:



Funded project

Professor Anne Boyd


An 80-90-minute opera project drawing upon materials from the last decades of the life of Olive Muriel Pink (1886-1975), painter, anthropologist, botanist and social activist on behalf of the Warlpiri and Arrernte people of the Alice Springs region. The opera, to be performed outdoors in the garden itself, is based entirely upon local stories and offers significant opportunities for innovative and respectful “Two Ways” collaborative partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists as singers, dancers, instrumentalists, film makers, sound artists, development of a light show, set and costume design.

Anthea Caddy & Judith Hamann


Cellists Anthea Caddy and Judith Hamann, will co-compose a new work that explores durational process in electro-acoustic composition. This project seeks to create a hybrid area within compositional practice by referencing the composers’ new music and sound art backgrounds: one that accesses live interplay between acoustic phenomena and durational listening strategies, alongside immersive electro-acoustic diffusion techniques.

Dr Eve de Castro-Robinson


A twenty-minute trumpet concerto for fellow New Zealander Bede Williams. The proposed work, Clarion, references various urgent calls to demand action for climate change, pairing the braiding of Scottish music with the sonic possibilities of a conch shell.

Liam Flenady


This project centres on the composition of the new 30-minute, continuous multi-movement work The Five Seasons for trombone and percussion, based on themes of geological time, non-Western concepts of time and seasons, and ecological crisis.

Kate Neal


In collaboration with Ensemble Offspring, Dancenorth and electronic composer Grischa Lichtenberger, Kate Neal will create a new 30-minute work which explores the intersection between multiple sound aesthetics, movement, and light. 

Dr James Rushford


A new 50-minute electronic composition, Prey Calling, in partnership with M.E.S.S. and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), is inspired by the curious history of the Serge modular synthesiser as a sonic decoy for humpback whales, and will use live electronic predator calls and this historic instrument to make a performance-installation interrogating socio-political issues of language, environment and conservation.  

David Shea & Monica Lim


The Heart Sutra Project is a series of compositions for electromagnetic piano, a hybrid piano where magnets are suspended above each piano string, vibrating the string by the electromagnetic field but allowing the note to also be played in a traditional manner.

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