APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre have announced that composer Helen Gifford OAM, is to be the recipient of the Distinguished Services to Australian Music Award for 2016. She will receive this honour at the Art Music Awards on Tuesday 16 August at the Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne.
This singular honour is awarded by the APRA Board of Directors, and recognises an individual artist who has made a notable contribution to Australian art music.
Born in Hawthorn, Victoria in 1935, Helen Gifford gained a Bachelor of Music at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium in 1958, studying piano with Roy Shepherd and harmony with Dorian Le Gallienne. She won the Dorian Le Gallienne Award in 1965, and a Senior Composer’s Fellowship in 1973.
Between 1970 and 1982 Helen Gifford received regular commissions to write music for Melbourne Theatre Company productions and was appointed composer in residence to the Australian Opera in 1974. A proud modernist with a long and illustrious career, Gifford has written a wide range of compositions, from dramatic works to chamber music, vocal and solo pieces.
In 1996 Helen Gifford was awarded Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by Monash University. In the same year, she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of service to music as a composer. Helen has said she ‘Is overwhelmed’ by her impending honour and she will attend the Art Music Awards to receive this special award.