Winners of 2020 Art Music Awards announced

With female and Indigenous artists well represented

The winners of the 2020 Art Music Awards have been announced in an online ceremony that took place last night (September 8). See the full list below.

The awards, which celebrate achievements in contemporary classical, jazz and improvised and experimental music and sound art, went ahead virtually in light of the coronavirus pandemic and featured live performances from several of this year’s finalists, including Robin Fox and Erkki Veltheim, and bassist Linda May Han Oh.

Rewatch the virtual Art Music Awards 2020 below.


Women in experimental music represented a good portion of the awards this year, with Performance of the Year winners including West Australia percussionist Louise Devenish for her program ‘Sheets Of Sound’ in the notated composition category, with Sandy Evans’ Bridge of Dreams team awarded Performance of the Year: Jazz/Improvised.

Indigenous artists were also well represented, with Dharug composer Chris Sainsbury awarded the inaugural national Luminary Award for his operation of the Ngarra-Burria: First Nations Composers program.

The prestigious Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music was awarded to Dr Ros Bandt in recognition of her 40-year commitment to inter-disciplinary work. Find the full list of winners below.

The 2020 Art Music Awards winners are:

Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music
Dr Ros Bandt

Award for Excellence in Music Education
Netanela Mizrahi and Guwanbal Gurruwiwi for the Djari Project

Award for Excellence in a Regional Area

Gillian Howell and Tura New Music for the Fitzroy Valley New Music Project

Award for Excellence in Experimental Music

The Music Box Project, ‘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, Resonance, Lyn Williams

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 Orchestra, Fabien Gabel

Work of the Year: Electroacoustic/Sound Art
Title – ‘Everywhen’
Composer and performer – Matthias Schack-Arnott

Work of the Year: Dramatic
Title – ‘Oscar and Lucinda’
Composer – Elliott Gyger, Pierce Wilcox
Performer – Sydney Chamber Opera, Jack Symond
Title – ‘Speechless’
Composer – Cat Hope
Performer – Judith Dodsworth, Karina Utomo, Caitlin Cassidy, Sage Pbbbt (soloists), Australian Bass Orchestra, Decibel New Music Ensemble,
Aaron Wyatt

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, Gian Slater

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 Pradhan, Sirens Big Band
Title – ‘Bridge of Dreams’
Composer – Sandy Evans, Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan

Luminary Awards: National
• Chris Sainsbury for initiating and driving Ngarra-Burria: First Peoples Composers program.

• Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra for Australian Composers School, Australian Conducting Academy, and professional development opportunities for Australian musicians.