New Art Music Initiatives From APRA/AMCOS

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Three new funding opportunities were recently launched by APRA AMCOS to provide much-needed support for classical, jazz and experimental composers.

The largest of these is the Art Music Fund, a multi-faceted package that will dovetail into existing initiatives as well as create innovative programs to address the decline in local art music content.

In the words of Professor Larry Sitsky* “Music is a defining cultural emblem of a nation, but it needs nurturing if it is to develop, and not become a museum art.” 

“This initiative has been under discussion for some time. The APRA board has long recognised the influence of the Australian art music sector toward the creation of innovative and vibrant works, and acknowledges the need to nurture and embrace this contribution toward a healthy ecosystem, thereby promoting a diverse and fertile foundation for musical practice in Australia,” said Nigel Westlake, Composer, APRA Writer Board Member and Chair of the Australian Music Centre.

To meet an ambitious objective of commissioning up to eight new Australian or New Zealand major classical works, the fund will invest $100,000 in its first year, with an intention to expand on this as partners come on board with matched funding.

“By working with a variety of institutions and individuals to leverage this contribution into a much greater pool of money, APRA AMCOS hopes to be able to make a significant difference to the output of new Australian art music in all its diversity. It is our objective to see new works created from this fund disseminated as widely as possible amongst audiences in Australia and around the world,” explained Nigel.

An Art Music Fund advisory group will be established in the coming months to create guidelines for the commissioning process and 2016 will see the development of multiple compositions and the ensuing performances.

APRA AMCOS is also pleased to announce its commitment to exploring new market opportunities internationally, through a partnership with Sounds Australia assisting Australian artists attending Classical: NEXT in The Netherlands in 2016.

And to complete the new series of initiatives, APRA AMCOS will provide financial support to the Prelude Project, a national artist residency program. For the last 20 years, many Australian composers have benefited from the philanthropy of the late composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks and the Paddington house she bequeathed as a ‘composers haven.’ Gallop House in WA will join the Project in mid-2016 and by 2020 the Prelude Project, backed by APRA AMCOS and others, aims to have an artist residence in each state and territory.  International exchanges with other composer houses and links with adjacent education institutions are also slated for the Project.

[*excerpt from Professor Sitsky’s Distinguished Services Award acceptance speech, 2015 Art Music Awards, Sydney, 11th August.]


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