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Six compositions shortlisted for major Australian awards

Reprinted from Limelight Magazine, November 14, 2016
James Ledger, Milliken, Skipworth, Dean, Ford and Schultz are in the running for Paul Lowin Prizes.

It’s been three years since the prestigious Paul Lowin Prizes were last awarded, but today six recent Australian compositions have been announced as finalists for awards in 2016. The Orchestral Prize, worth $25,000, and the Song Cycle Prize, worth $15,000, are among Australia’s richest rewards for music composition and are managed every two or three years by Perpetual in collaboration with the Australian Music Centre.

The three works shortlisted for this year’s Orchestral Prize are James Ledger’s 2013 Violin Concert Golden Years, written for Margaret Blades and commissioned by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Cathy Milliken’s Earth Plays, premiered last year by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and winner of this year’s Art Music Awards Orchestral Work of the Year, and Lachlan Skipworth’s Clarinet Concerto, which won the Australian Art Music Awards’ 2015 prize for Best Performance of an Australian Composition for Ashley Smith and WASO.

Shortlisted for the Song Cycle Prize are Brett Dean’s Hamlet-inspired String Quartet No 2 for soprano and string quartet And once I played Ophelia (now recorded on the Chandos label), Andrew Ford’s 2013 song cycle Last Words for soprano, violin, cello and piano – a setting of final remarks from Goethe and Alban Berg to Cloudstreet’s Fish Lamb – and Andrew Schultz’s Paradise, a setting of five songs for soprano, cello and piano written in 2013.

Paul Lowin, who died in Vienna in 1961, was born in 1893 in Czechoslovakia, lived in Austria in the 1930s, and fled the Nazi terror to come to Australia in 1939. In his hand-written will he stated his wish to establish a competition for works by living Australian composers, but left rather subjective instructions that the entries would be expected to be in a “modern but not too modern” style. It took executors an agonising 30 years to thrash out what that awkward qualification actually meant and how it might be applied in practice, before the first awards took place in 1991.

According to the judges, a record number of entries were received this time around, with 67 orchestral submissions and 59 song cycles. As has always been the case, nominations were accepted from the general public as well as from a range of music professionals. Previous Paul Lowin Prize winners have included Nigel Westlake, Elliott Gyger, Mary Finsterer, Andrew Schultz, Brett Dean, Rosalind Page, Nigel Butterley, Julian Yu, Georges Lentz, Brenton Broadstock, Martin Wesley-Smith, Michael Smetanin, Raffæle Marcellino, Liza Lim and Andrew Ford.

The recipients of the two Paul Lowin Prizes will be announced at a ceremony in Sydney on December 6. Other shortlisted works will receive a special commendation and the sum of $400.

– See more at: http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/news/six-compositions-shortlisted-major-australian-music-awards#sthash.vio7xMX1.dpuf

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Le Molière Imaginaire wins Art Music Award

Comedic send-up wins Art Music Award

Republished from UNSW Newsroom, 17 August 2016.  Article by Clare Morgan.

 

A “witty and naughty” vocal send-up by composer and Head of the School of the Arts & Media, UNSW,  Andrew Schultz has won a 2016 Art Music Award.

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Composer and Professor of Music Andrew Schultz.

A hilarious vocal send-up of the medical profession has won Head of the School of the Arts & Media Professor Andrew Schultz a 2016 Art Music Award.

Professor Schultz won the Vocal/Choral Work of the Year for his comical Le Molière Imaginaire, composed for the eight voices of British a cappella ensemble I Fagiolini.

Described as “urbane, virtuosic, cultured, witty and naughty in equal measure”, Le Molière Imaginaire was inspired by the final scene in Molière’s last play, Le Malade Imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid). It features a musical interlude in which a mock graduation ceremony for a quack doctor becomes increasingly farcical.

Professor Schultz shared the award with writer Timothy Knapman, who adapted the original text.

The comic romp had its world premiere as part of Musica Viva Australia’s 2015 international concert season.

Professor Schultz had a second work nominated in the same category, Paradise, five songs for soprano, cello and piano.

The Art Music Awards, presented by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and the Australian Music Centre, are Australia’s night of nights for musicians based in the experimental, jazz and classical genres.

This year’s awards ceremony was held in Melbourne and hosted by Jonathan Biggins.

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Watch a video interview with Andrew Schultz about the award

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Read more about the awards in Limelight Magazine

Schultz’s Sound Lur and Serpent – SSO in China and Sydney

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Bronze Age Lur; 13th-5th Century B.C.

Sound Lur and Serpent is a work for brass and percussion composed by Andrew Schultz for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s tour of China in late June and early July 2014. The orchestra, conducted by  Chief Conductor, David Robertson, presented performances in Shanghai, Jinan, Beijing, Xi’an, Hangzhou,  Shenzhen, and Guangzhou with the new work by Schultz opening the concerts. 
On 22, 23 and 24 July 2015, the Sydney Symphony again present the work – this time under Vasily Petrenko, at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. Click here for details.

Composer’s Note – Sound Lur and Serpent,  for brass and percussion, Opus 98 (2014)

Sound lur and serpent is a short work that taps into the mythology and drama of brass and percussion and their use to signal, warn and celebrate. The work was commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and their Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, David Robertson, for the orchestra’s 2014 tour of China. The work was composed during a period as an artist in residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris in April 2014.

Sound lur and serpent. Strike drum and gong. Run!  Fire breathes to swallow. Flee, while flee you can.

In 2010 I came across the wonderful collection of ancient musical instruments in the Deutsches Museum in Munich which includes a Lur from the Bronze Age and some more recent Serpents.  The Lur and Serpent are old brass instruments with extraordinary primal shapes drawing on the horns of great beasts and the curves of snakes. Whilst at the Museum I wrote the above short poem in my sketchbook and made a note, “Lur and Serpent – a good starting point for a fanfare.”

A few months before that, in November 2009, the weather bureau had issued Australia’s first Catastrophic bushfire danger rating.  The ratings of High, Very High, Severe and Extreme were no longer enough to cope with the continual and terrifyingly increasing presence of summer bushfires in the world’s driest inhabited continent. The two things – the presence of fire and the signalling power of brass and percussion – have merged in my mind to lead to this piece.

Andrew Schultz



Lur Photo Attribution:  Anagoria via Wikimedia Commons

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