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ILLUSTRIOUS AWARD FOR LIVING TREASURE OF AUSTRALIAN MUSIC

Australia’s foremost composer Emeritus Professor Peter Sculthorpe AO OBE has been honoured with the Australia Council for the Arts’ Don Banks Music Award 2007 – the nation’s most valuable individual music prize.

Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator the Hon George Brandis SC will present the $60,000 Award at a ceremony in Sydney tonight celebrating Mr Sculthorpe’s outstanding contribution to Australian music.

‘Mr Sculthorpe has made an inestimable contribution to Australia’s musical and cultural identity. His iconic works have brought a unique Australian accent to orchestral and chamber music, and he has provided guidance to an entire generation of composers,’ Senator Brandis said.

‘Throughout a career spanning more than 40 years, Mr Sculthorpe has played a pivotal role in shaping Australian music and served as an outstanding ambassador for Australian culture. The Don Banks Music Award 2007 is further recognition of his important contribution.’

Mr Sculthorpe is widely regarded as Australia’s most eminent composer, who has developed a unique voice shaped by the land and cultures of our region. His more than 350 compositions have been performed throughout the world.

Mr Sculthorpe is Emeritus Professor in Music at the University of Sydney, where he first began teaching in 1963, and holds honorary doctorates from Tasmania, Melbourne, Sussex, Griffith and Sydney universities. An Officer of the Order of Australia and Member of the British Empire, in 1998 he was elected one of Australia’s Living National Treasures. In 2002, he was elected to Foreign Honorary Membership of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

‘I am very moved to receive this Award, as I first knew Don Banks when we studied together and I actually introduced him to his future wife. This prize will give me the freedom to edit my back catalogue of over 350 compositions for publication,’ Mr Sculthorpe said.

The Don Banks Music Award is one of the highest accolades in Australian music. It is awarded annually to a distinguished artist who has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to the artform.

Eminent past recipients include composer Richard Meale AO MBE, music educator John Curro AM MBE, singer/songwriter Bunna Lawrie, jazz musician Bernie McGann and conductor Richard Gill OAM.

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