It was the night of nights for Australian Art Music, when Melbourne played host for the first time to the 2014 Art Music Awards, presented by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre held in the opulent interiors of the Plaza Ballroom on Collins Street.
The Art Music Awards are presented each year by the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) and the Australian Music Centre to recognise achievement in the composition, performance, education and presentation of Australian music.
The Art Music Awards consist of eleven national awards and various State Awards across categories covering composition, performance, and outstanding contributions by individuals and organisations in Australian music, in music education, experimental music, jazz and regional music.
The Performance of the Year Award went to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Simone Young with soloist Peter Coleman-Wright, for the performance of Brett Dean’s Last Days of Socrates, with text by Graeme Ellis. MSO Chorus director Jonathan Grieves-Smith accepted the award, making a tearful speech that spoke of the hours of hard work put in by the chorus and orchestra to bring off the thrilling and monumental performance.
This was an Australian première of a major work of which you might be wondering why this is on our Volume blog? I can proudly say because I was a part of this winning performance as I sing with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
Our winning performance was a result of many challenging hours of rehearsals that resulted in more than 50 minutes of riveting music, which engaged the intellect and took the listener on an endlessly fascinating aural journey. Musically we were asked to take on this work with energy, passion and unfolding emotion with committed playing of a high order and that we did as it is now viewed as The Performance of the Year and a landmark piece that will find its way into the repertoire of many orchestras and chorus’s around the world.
My memory will be of a sold out performance at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall with many members of a duly appreciative audience giving us four standing ovations at the end of what was a memorable night of music