The coveted Paul Lowin Prizes are being awarded again in 2013, and the winners will be announced in Sydney, on Monday October 28th, 2013.
Presented by the Paul Lowin Trust and the Australian Music Centre (AMC), the awards are among Australia’s richest prizes for composition, with an Orchestral Prize of $25,000 and a Song Cycle Prize of $15,000.
The Orchestral Prize will be awarded to a work for modern chamber or symphony orchestra of at least 30 players and 15 independent parts and may be augmented by soloists, choral, or electronically produced or pre-recorded elements.
The Song Cycle prize is judged as a work for chamber performance, of up to 8 independent parts, accompanied by up to 10 instrumentalists.
To ensure that a compositions in contention is truly contemporary, the work must have been completed after the closing date for entries in the previous competition, in this instance, 30 June 2009.
Reflecting a broad and egalitarian base from which the contenders are drawn anyone, including publishers, members of the public and composers, can nominate a work for the Paul Lowin Prizes. This year, the competition attracted the highest number of entries in the history of these prizes, since they were inaugurated in 1991, with 55 entries for the Orchestral category, and 48 for the Song Cycle category.
The shortlisted composers and works for the 2013 Paul Lowin Prizes are:
For the Orchestral Prize:
Brett Dean: The Last Days of Socrates (2012) for bass-baritone, SATB chorus and orchestra
Andrew Ford: Blitz (2011) for full orchestra with prerecorded sound
Mark Isaacs: Invocations (2011) for cello and orchestra
Nigel Westlake: Missa Solis – Requiem for Eli (2010) for symphony orchestra, SATB chorus and male treble solo.
For the Song Cycle Prize:
Ross Edwards: Five Senses – five poems of Judith Wright (2012) for soprano and piano
Andrew Ford: Willow Songs – six poems of Anne Stevenson (2009) for soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto flute/piccolo, clarinet in A/bass clarinet, percussion, piano.
Elliott Gyger: Giving Voice (2012) for mezzo-soprano and ensemble.
Paul Lowin is a little known figure who arrived in Australia from Czechoslovakia in 1939. He establishing a successful wholesale dealership, the Swedish Handweaving Company, trading in cloth and dry goods on George Street in Sydney, but music was his passion. His neighbour, Mrs L Krips, is quoted as writing “We never found out what he was doing for a living, as nothing seemed to him important enough to talk about if he could talk about music”.
Lowin lived in Australia for almost twenty years before returning to Vienna, where he died in 1961. His legacy, in the form of a hand-written will was to establish a competition for works by living Australian composers. In 1990 The Paul Lowin Prizes were established, and the first prize was awarded in 1991.
To date, the Paul Lowin Prizes have awarded over $370,000 in prizes. Previous winners include luminaries like Rosalind Page, Liza Lim, Andrew Ford, Brett Dean, Raffaele Marcellino, Mary Finsterer, Andrew Schultz, and Michael Smetanin. The Prizes are held every two to three years and are judged by a panel of leading composers, performers, artistic directors and musicologists.