Friday, 07 May 2021


A huge congratulations to New Zealand's Celeste Oram who is one of ten recipients of the APRA AMCOS and Australian Music Centre's Art Music Fund!

Pictured: Celeste Oram

Ten composers from Australia and New Zealand are the recipients of the APRA AMCOS and Australian Music Centre's Art Music Fund, with each receiving a $5,000 grant towards the commission of a proposed work. 

The 2021 Art Music Fund recipients are Alexandra Spence, Alice Chance, Brenda Gifford, Celeste Oram, Ellen Kirkwood, Mary Rapp, Nardi Simpson, Noemi Liba Friedman, Stephen de Filippo and Tilman Robinson.

This year's $50,000 total allocation will support a range of exciting, boundary-pushing new projects that draw inspiration from myriad sources – the ocean's phosphorene light, the Dhurga language, family connections, mythical creatures, the history of radio and more, and will be presented in Australia, UK, France and the US. 

The winning works span genre and format – from electro-acoustic sound, to experimental theatre, contemporary jazz, music for small ensembles and more, and will take place in concert and recital halls, and be made into albums and video productions.

Since 2016, the fund has granted more than $500,000 to new works, and APRA AMCOS and the AMC ensured the fund went forward during the challenges of 2020 with greater flexibility and adaptability factored in to the application process.

The successful applicants’ compositions demonstrate the high-level creativity, innovation and collaboration happening in the sector, which is more important than ever to fund. 

2021 Art Music Fund Recipients

Genevieve Lacey, Chair Person, Australian Music Centre

It’s inspiring to see the vibrant creative energy of the Australian art music community evident in the list of the 2021 recipients of this life-giving fund. It’s particularly exciting to see Nardi Simpson and Brenda Gifford, both alumni of Moogahlin Performing Arts and the AMC’s Ngarra-Burria program, continuing their stellar compositional careers. Heartfelt thanks to APRA for creating opportunities for Australian composers, and congratulations to all — can’t wait to hear the music."

Dean Ormston, CEO, APRA AMCOS

“I would like to commend this year’s Art Music Fund recipients, who continue to push artistic boundaries, explore new musical ideas, and pursue collaborations locally and globally even in times of uncertainty. APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre are committed to supporting the innovative work of our art music composer members through this one-of-a-kind fund.”

2021 Art Music Fund recipients:



Funded project

Alexandra Spence


Alexandra will compose, record, release (via Room40) and launch a new album of electroacoustic music, interweaving unusual sound sources with more commonly understood ‘musical’ material e.g. amplified objects, degraded and submerged tape loops, and field recordings, with modular synthesis, clarinet, and voice, resulting in a shifting ambient soundscape of real and imagined places. 

Alice Chance 


'Heirloom' is a new art music work in the form of a 'mother-daughter motet', to be created by Sydney-based composer Alice Chance in collaboration with Melbourne-based chamber ensemble Rubiks Collective. The work will receive its premiere as part of the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Local Heroes series.

Brenda Gifford 


Brenda's composition Waadhu (Skin), will be a notated piece of chamber small ensemble music combined with improvised elements. Waadhu meaning (Skin) in the Dhurga language of her people. The piece will be a musical response to Brenda's understanding and experience of her Yuin family, relationships, culture and country.

Celeste Oram 


Celeste is creating a concert-length experimental music-theatre work for Ensemble Adapter, an Icelandic/German quartet. In sum, the work explores comparative histories of radio in Iceland and Aotearoa New Zealand, dwelling on radio's varying guises as a raw force of nature, a mouthpiece for nation-building, and a site of intimate and personal connection.

Ellen Kirkwood


The Art Music Fund will contribute towards the writing, composing and recording of two 15-minute pieces for contemporary jazz quartet, Underwards. This music will be inspired by stunning locations in Wiradjuri country west of the Blue Mountains, and will also be influenced by Indigenous knowledge of these places, following a consultation with a local Indigenous historian.

Mary Rapp


Mary will film and record three long-form improvisations with established Australian luminaries of improvisation. She will play cello and sing, integrating Pansori (traditional Korean singing), Korean Sinawi (a form of improvising shamanistic ensemble music) and jazz.

Nardi Simpson


-barra is a series of four works centred on the four clan lands of Yuwaalaraay – Kurrajong, Native Orchid, Bimble and Swamp Oak and Lignum countries of the NSW freshwater floodplains. These works, written for and as part of Ensemble Offspring's 2021 First Nations Artist-in-Residence Program will weave interviews with senior clan leaders with choral performances with clan and community members.

Noemi Liba Friedman


Phosphorescence will be a work for viola quartet to be premiered in the USA by New York based viola ensemble Firewood, led by Ralph Farris. The work will explore the tiny particles of light that can naturally occur in ocean water, drawing particularly on two personal experiences Noemi has had with phosphorescence, at Croajinalong National Park, South-Eastern Australia and during a night scuba dive in Thailand.

Stephen de Filippo


Stephen and oboist Niamh Dell will work collaboratively to create a new work for oboe and electronics, exploring liminal sounds that are found at the edges of pitch and articulation. Thematically, the work considers a local fascination of mythical creatures, and conceptualises Niamh’s instrument as a beak — its narrow bore both enhancing and restricting performer agency.

Tilman Robinson


"You Never Listen" is an immersive site-responsive electro-acoustic sound work. The audience experiences sound through the ears of others by shifting through 1st, 2nd and 3rd person perspectives of listening. In this immersive work, the audience will be viscerally submerged in the psychological experience of the way others hear, encouraging an empathic response to the experiences of others.

Read more about the Art Music Fund

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