Top award for George Dreyfus

August 15, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre have announced that George Dreyfus will be the recipient of the Distinguished Services to Australian Music honour at the 2013 ART Music Awards.

George Dreyfus

George Dreyfus

This special award, as determined by the APRA Board of Publisher and Writer Directors, will go to George Dreyfus AM – the renowned composer whose repertoire includes operas, symphonies, chamber works and scores for over 60 film and television productions. He will receive this honour before his peers when the event is held on Monday August 26th at the National Institute of Dramatic Art’s (NIDA) Parade Theatre in Sydney.

Born in Wuppertal, Germany in 1928, George Dreyfus fled his homeland with his Jewish family at the outbreak of World War II. When settled in Melbourne, young George resumed his piano lessons and sang in the synagogue choir. He went on to play bassoon for musicals, operas and ballet performances at His Majesty’s Theatre, until he joined the ABC’s Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 1953. After receiving a grant to study at Vienna’s Imperial Academy of Music, he started to write chamber works for performances by his colleagues. In fact, the very first piece he finished, Trio Op. 1 for flute, clarinet and bassoon, won the APRA Music Award for the Most Performed Serious Work 30 years later in 1986.

In the mid-1960s, Dreyfus left the orchestra to work independently. He composed, conducted, organised countless performances and was rewarded with grants, fellowships, residencies and commissions. He proved talented at writing music for Australia’s emerging film and television industry – most famously composing the theme music for the television series Rush (1974). His film scores include A Steam Train Passes, Dimboola, and The Fringe Dwellers, among many others.

Recent works include his Symphony No. 3, premiered in 2012 and a Saxophone Quartet (2007). In 1991, George Dreyfus was awarded the Australia Council’s Don Banks Fellowship. In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to music.

With live performances curated by the brilliant Genevieve Lacey, the 2013 ART Music Awards will feature a special tribute to George Dreyfus AM, performed by host and multi-instrumentalist James Morrison and Morrison’s sons William and Harry (playing upright bass and guitar respectively). The tribute will also feature George’s son Jonathan Dreyfus on piano as they perform his iconic piece Larino, Safe Haven.

The talented Sandy Evans, who is a finalist in multiple categories of this year’s ART Music Awards, will lead a performance along with the Nexas Quartet who will perform an excerpt from Lachlan Skipworth’s dark nebulae which is a finalist in the category of Work of the Year: Instrumental.

Robin Fox, one of Australia’s most groundbreaking audio-visual artists, will present his critically acclaimed Laser Show at the 2013 ART Music Awards. Renowned for bridging the divide between audible and visible arts, Fox will deliver a master class on voltage and vibration.

The phenomenal Black Arm Band will perform dirtsong, a powerful musical journey through Australia’s cultural heartland. Inspired by the words of Miles Franklin Award winner Alexis Wright, the piece is set against a stunning backdrop of moving imagery and text.

Hosted by APRA AMCOS (Australasian Performing Right Association; Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society) and the Australian Music Centre, the ART Music Awards celebrate Australia’s outstanding contemporary classical, jazz and experimental music communities and will take place before a gathering of composers, performers, educators, critics and music lovers.

Our host for the evening JAMES MORRISON will be joined by special guest presenters LYNNE WILLIAMS (Director and Chief Executive Officer of NIDA), TONY GOULD (Composer/Pianist/Educator), RUPERT MYER (Chairman of the Australia Council) and JOEL CROTTY (Senior Lecturer in Musicology, School of Music-Conservatorium, Monash University).



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