Six Australian compositions have been shortlisted for the prestigious 2019 Paul Lowin Prizes, as announced by the Australian Music Centre today. They are Katy Abbott, Brett Dean, Elliott Gyger, Lachlan Skipworth, Luke Styles and Nigel Westlake.
The winners of the Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize (valued at $25,000) and the Song Cycle Prize (valued at $15,000) will be announced in a ceremony in Melbourne on 22 October 2019, in conjunction with the annual Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address, delivered by Deborah Cheetham AO, at the Melbourne Recital Centre on 22 October 2019. Tickets for the event are free but bookings via the Melbourne Recital Centre website are essential.
Nearly 100 original works of music competed this year, with entries reflecting an incredibly rich spectrum of artistic expression. All finalist works can be said to represent the very best of Australian orchestral and song cycle composition over the past three years, since the awarding of the previous Lowin Prizes in 2016.
Shortlisted for the Orchestral Prize ($25,000) were:
• Brett Dean: Cello Concerto (2018)
• Lachlan Skipworth: Spiritus (2017) for symphony orchestra
• Nigel Westlake: Spirit of the Wild: Concerto for Oboe (2016)
Shortlisted for the Song Cycle Prize ($15,000) were:
• Katy Abbott: Hidden Thoughts (2017) for six voices and sextet. Text by anonymous contributors.
• Elliott Gyger: This Kind of Life – a culinary correspondence (2018) for soprano, mezzo-soprano, clarinet, cello, harp, piano. A setting of correspondence between celebrated chef Julia Child and her friend Avis DeVoto.
• Luke Styles: On Bunyah (2018) for tenor, string quartet and piano. Settings of 10 poems by Les Murray.
The Paul Lowin Prizes are among Australia’s richest prizes for music composition and a continuing testament to the power of philanthropy in fostering and encouraging new creative works of music. Nominations are accepted from the general public as well as music professionals. The Paul Lowin Prizes are managed by Perpetual as Trustee for The Paul Lowin Trust and presented in collaboration with the Australian Music Centre.
Previous recipients of the Paul Lowin Prizes include Lachlan Skipworth, Brett Dean, Nigel Westlake, Elliott Gyger, Mary Finsterer, Andrew Schultz, Rosalind Page, Nigel Butterley, Julian Yu, Georges Lentz, Brenton Broadstock, Martin Wesley-Smith, Michael Smetanin, Raffæle Marcellino, Liza Lim and Andrew Ford.
Paul Lowin was born in 1893 in Czechoslovakia, and lived in Austria in the 1930s before settling in Australia in 1939, living here for two decades before returning to Vienna, where he died in 1961. He left a hand-written will which indicated his wish to establish a competition for works by living Australian composers in a ‘modern but not too modern’ style. Because of the lack of clarity in the will, there ensued a thirty-year sustained effort by the executors of his estate to establish a viable competition for composers. The competition was initially held every three years between 1991-97, and since then every 2-3 years. The Paul Lowin Prizes are managed by Perpetual, as trustee for The Paul Lowin Trust, and presented in collaboration with the Australian Music Centre