ARIA Awards 2021 nominees announced

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The 2021 ARIA Awards nominations have been announced, with ABC Classic dominating the Classic category with four of the five nominees.

In the Classical category, prodigy violinist Christian Li was nominated for his Vivaldi album Four Seasons – the youngest soloist to record famous works. In our September issue, Li spoke to Jo Litson about recording with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and his incredible career to date.

Emilie Sun and Andrea Lam were nominated for their French repertoire album, Nocturnes, which Will Yeoman called a “beautiful recital” in his four-star review. In our August issue, Sun spoke with Associate Editor Hugh Robertson about the stress of recording his debut album, especially in the midst of a global pandemic.

Emilie Soleil. Photo © Shi-Joong Kim.

Genevieve Lacey and Marshall mcguire were nominated for their containment registration project, Arbor, an extraordinary juxtaposition of baroque compositions and new experimental compositions that Will Yeoman described as “the perfect antidote to cabin fever” in his four and a half star review.

Long-term candidates Slava and Léonard Grigoryan are nominated again for their album This is us: a musical reflection of Australia, a fascinating project created in partnership with the National Museum of Australia, where the brothers composed 18 original works inspired by historical objects from the museum’s collection, from the frames and lenses used by Professor Fred Hollows to A protest sign used at the aboriginal tent embassy in Canberra.

And the pianist / composer from Melbourne Nat Bartsch is nominated for her album Hope, an album of minimalist piano tracks originally composed amid the Black Summer bushfires of 2019/20, then shaped again by the pandemic.

The Jazz the nominees come from several different labels, reflecting the diversity and ingenuity of the local scene. The only label to have received more than one nomination is Earshift Music, the Sydney-based label established in 2009 by saxophonist-composer Jeremy Rose. They had two nominated albums: Haven, through Kristen Beradi, Sean Foran and Rafael Karlen, and The sacred key through Vazesh, the world / jazz ensemble with Rose, bassist Lloyd Swanton (The Necks) and Iranian oud, tar and setar virtuoso Hamed Sadeghi. Another version of Earshift, Masnavi project through Eishan set (also with Sadeghi) is nominated for the best music album in the world

Also nominated in this category Tariro Mavondo, Ruben Lewis and Peter Knight for Closed starts, their first release in collaboration with the Australian Art Orchestra, a psychedelic jazz fusion group based in Melbourne Mildlife for their album Automatique, and singer and jazz violinist that of Petra Haden album Songs of my father, play with The Nick Haywood Quintet and inspired by Haden’s father, legendary bassist and composer Charlie Haden.

Caitlin Yeo, Maria Alfonsine, Damian de Boos-Smith were nominated for Best Soundtrack or Musical Album for their music from the ABC TV series Wakefield. In our November issue, the former Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Spotlight, Angus McPherson, talks to Yeo and other leading Australian composers about the unique pressures of screen composition.

The nominations were announced in a video that premiered on YouTube, with the winners to be announced by the same method on November 24.

FINE ARTS PRIZE

Best Classical Album
Christian Li – Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (Decca Records Australia / Universal Music Australia)
Emily Sun & Andrea Lam – Nocturnes (ABC Classic)
Genevieve Lacey and Marshall McGuire – Bower (ABC Classic / Universal)
Grigoryan Brothers – This is Us: A Musical Reflection of Australia (ABC Classic / Universal)
Nat Bartsch – Hope (ABC Classic / Universal)

Best Jazz Album
Australian Art Orchestra, Reuben Lewis, Tariro Mavondo & Peter Knight – Closed Beginnings (AAO Recordings / The Planet Company)
Kristen Beradi, Sean Foran & Rafael Karlen – Haven (Earshift Music / The Planet Company) Mildlife – Automatic (Inertia Music / [PIAS])
Petra Haden & The Nick Haywood Quintet – Songs From My Father (ABC Jazz / Universal)
Vazesh – The Sacred Key (Earshift Music / The Planet Company)

Best Soundtrack or Musical Album
Angus & Julia Stone – Life is Strange (BMG / WMG)
Antony Partos – Rams (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (ABC Music)
Caitlin Yeo, Maria Alfonsine, Damian de Boos-Smith – Official Wakefield Season 1 Soundtrack (MADBS Composing Palace)
Sia – Music: Songs From And Inspired By The Movie (Atlantic Records / Warner Music
Yve Blake – Fangirls (ADA / Warner Music)

World’s Best Music Album
Bob Weatherall & Halfway, with William Barton – Restless Dream (ABC Music)
Bukhu – Bukhchuluun Ganburged – The journey (Bukhu / Distrokid)
Ensemble Eishan – Masnavi Project (Earshift Music / The Planet Company)
Joseph Tawadros – Hope In An Empty City (Indépendant / The Planet Company)
Kuya James – ISA (Settle Down Records / MGM Distribution)


See the full list of nominees on the ARIA website.

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