The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) held their 9th annual Libera Awards digitally today, out of New York City. The event, recognised as the largest Independent music award show in the world, capped off days of panels and one-on-one meetings as part of A2IM Indie Week, which moved onto a digital platform for the 2020 event. Over the course of the week, supported by Sounds Australia, 25 Australian professionals braved the time zones and actively participated in the virtual edition.

Sounds Australia wishes to congratulate the Australian artists who won at the awards:

Julia Jacklin took home Best Folk / Bluegrass album for Crushing (Polyvinyl Record Co.) and also performed the incredible ‘Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You’ as part of the award ceremony, which also included performances from the likes of Orville Peck (who won best Country Album and Breakthrough Artist/Release) and Wyclef Jean, who closed out the night.

Julia Jacklin has appeared at a number of Sounds Australia events including THE AUSSIE BBQ at SXSW, Liverpool Sound City and Sound Gallery @ Komedia at The Great Escape all in 2016.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard won Best Metal Album for Infest The Rats’ Nest (ATO Records). They performed at the 2014 Canadian Music Week THE AUSSIE BBQ, at the iconic Horseshoe Tavern, alongside the likes of You Am I. They were also nominated in the Best Outlier Album category for Fishing For Fishies.

Amyl and the Sniffers won Best Punk / Emo Album for Amyl and The Sniffers (ATO Records), who performed with us in the UK at THE AUSSIE BBQ in London and Brighton’s The Great Escape, as well as The Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg in 2018.

We’d also like to congratulate the managers of the winning acts and acknowledge their tireless work for their artists – Alistair Burns (Julia Jacklin), Andrew Parisi & Simone Ubaldi (Amyl & The Sniffers) and Eric Moore (King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard).

These amazing Australian acts joined an impressive list of winners which included Mavis Staples, Sudan Archives, Weyes Blood, Fontaines D.C. and IDLES.

Although they didn’t receive an award (this time), it was fantastic to see Alex Cameron and Courtney Barnett nominated, further demonstrating the depth and talent of Australian music right now.

For the full list of winners and more details about the Libera Awards, head to

This week, Sounds Australia and the Australian Music Centre were scheduled to be in Rotterdam, along with the international classical and art music community, for Classical:NEXT 2020. The coronavirus outbreak has meant the conference has had to be postponed until 2021 – however, it’s not stopping the program entirely.

Currently, Classical:NEXT is running a series of online panels, talks, events and meet-ups, and the annual Innovation Award will be streamed online for the very first time. You’ll be able to watch it Wednesday May 20 at 9am (USA ET), 2pm (UK BST), 3pm (CEST) and 11pm (AEST).

We are very excited that Liza Lim and the Composing Women program at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music has been shortlisted for this year’s Innovation Award. To celebrate we asked Liza, as well as four composers involved in the program – Bree van Reyk, Georgia Scott, Peggy Polias and Josepheine Macken – to select four tracks of music important to them, also including their own work.

Keep reading to find out what they chose – and you can hear their selections on Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify and YouTube.

Liza Lim

Liza Lim is a composer, educator and researcher whose music focusses on collaborative and transcultural practices. The roots of beauty (in noise), time effects in the Anthropocene and the sensoria of ecological connection are ongoing concerns in her compositional work.

Here are 4 tracks of mine. A playlist about love in many forms – human, spiritual and ecological – aren’t these all ultimately related?

Genevieve Lacey, recorder, plays a song about erotic longing

‘Speak, Be Silent’
Sarah Soviet, violin; Riot Ensemble conducted by Aaron Holloway Nahum – the title comes from Rumi’s poetry:
The command comes to speak, and you feel the ocean moving through you.
Then comes, Be silent, as when the rain stops, and the trees in the orchard begin to draw moisture up into themselves.

‘Our embraces are a banquet of revolving time’
The last movement of Tongue of the Invisible. Omar Ibrahim, baritone; Uri Caine, piano & bass melodica, Ensemble MusikFabrik conducted by Andre de Ridder – A song about divine love

From How Forests Think. ELISION Ensemble conducted by Carl Rosman. the sound of fertility, abundance and ecstasy.


Bree van Reyk

Bree van Reyk is a drummer, percussionist, composer and sound artist who makes unconventional and tradition-challenging performance works. Her music resides in the intersection between contemporary classical, indie-rock and performance art and is equally warm-hearted, celebratory, and focussed on issues of equality.

Bree van Reyk – ‘Light for the First Time’ (performed by Ensemble Offspring)
I wrote this piece while pregnant. We arrived at the point where our baby could see external light whilst still nestled safely inside my uterus. I was so struck by the enormity of that experience and attempted to sound that first instant in extreme slow motion. The piece relies on a free and open interpretation of the quasi-improvised score by the musicians and it’s a joy to hear some of my dearest friends and colleagues from Ensemble Offspring perform so beautifully here.

Gurrumul – ‘Waak (Crow)’ from Djarimirri
Gurrumul’s music, voice and dreaming touched audiences in Australia and around the world in an incredible way and I’m thankful to have heard these ancient songs through his work. I was lucky enough to play percussion on this seminal album, and will hold the experience as a life highlight always. Erkki Veltheim’s orchestral arrangements offer a very inspiring and innovative avenue for bringing together these diverse and rich traditions.

Dirty Three – ‘Some Summers They Drop Like Flys’ from Whatever You Love, You Are
I’ve recently finished recording my debut instrumental album and was honoured to have Jim White and Mick Turner from Dirty Three contribute their beautiful playing on drums and guitar respectively. They are among my favourite instrumentalists ever and I fell in love with Dirty Three as a teenager and am in love with their music still for its unique ability to be at once intense, sprawling, rich, desolate, uplifting and melancholy.

Mary Finsterer – ‘Silva’ (performed by Ensemble Offspring)
Mary’s music is wonderfully rich, fluid and glowing. This piece seems to me to never start or end. It twists and turns and offers multitude possibilities, but no finite conclusions.


Georgia Scott

Georgia Scott is a freelance composer, orchestrator and arranger. Georgia has had works premiered in venues such as The National Portrait Gallery, London, The Dulwich Picture Gallery, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, National Sawdust and the Sydney Opera House.

‘Fire’ by Aidan Rosa performed by Viet-Anh Nguyen
Escapisms is a take on alchemy, transmuting “borrowed” material into something new. Each movement is named after one of the five classical elements. Each element emphasises a different form of transformation in each movement.” – Aidan Rosa

‘Spin’ by Alexis Weaver 
“Spin belongs to a larger suite of pieces, each of which feature the evocative sonorities of much beloved, mechanical toys from childhood. All the sounds in this work are derived from a single sound source, a spinning top.” – Alexis Weaver

‘Tardigradus’ by Melody Eötvös commissioned by Ensemble Offspring and performed by Claire Edwardes and Lamorna Nightingale
“This work accompanies the Tardigrade as we delve into the microscopic world of moss and lichen to observe its detail as well as follow this remarkable slow stepping warrior through its paces.” – Melody Eötvös

‘Lake Ice (Missed Tales No. 1)’ by Mary Finsterer performed by Kees Boersma and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra
“Lake Ice sits at the apex of a series of orchestral works I aim to create called Missed Tales, based on the conceit that an anonymous collection of stories has been found after thousands of years in the recesses of a cave in Northern Europe. It searches for ways to bring the solo double bass to the fore and highlights the many strange and beautiful sonorities it can produce.” – Mary Finsterer


Peggy Polias

Peggy Polias is a composer and music typesetter based in Sydney. Polias prepares scores, instrumental parts and other print music materials for some of Australia’s leading composers. Polias explores the influences of Javanese Gamelan, minimalism, feminism, fractals and handicrafts in her music, and takes a keen interest in the possibilities for music in the online space.

These are some eclectic solo and chamber works I’ve composed over a range of about 10 years. A common theme seems to be “air”: in Little Secret, the “airing” of sounds long hidden; Hive is about bees, creatures that fly; “Time III” evokes a spiritual, aethereal dimension; in Electro Fractal Gamelan the percussionist on vibraphone responds to a backing track generated from sine tones, evoking just one fragment of a larger, possibly galactic entity.

Little Secret (2019) for flute, backing track and gate effect
Performed by Lamorna Nightingale (flute)

‘Buzzing’ from Hive (2016), for clarinet, viola, piano (and voice)
Performed by The Nano Symphony: Catherine Thompson (clarinet, voice), Neil Thompson (viola, voice), Lee Akinsanya (piano)

‘Time III’ from Picnic at Hanging Rock Suite (2009), for piano
Performed by Philip Eames (piano)

Electro Fractal Gamelan (2011) for vibraphone and backing track
Performed by Kaylie Dunstan


Josephine Macken

Josephine Macken is a composer and improviser based in Sydney, Australia and co-founder of SPIRAL Ensemble and the lost+sound collective. Both performatively and compositionally, Josephine’s compositional process is deeply collaborative, straining to reconcile the ungainly distinctions between the performer’s voice and the voice of their instrument, examining breath as gestural language and facilitating occurrences of psychoacoustic phenomena in performance.

Georges Lentz, Ingwe (2003-18) for solo electric guitar, extract: bars 113-79
“Ingwe is on the one hand the radiant night sky in the silent vastness of the desert – on the other hand, and in this piece more importantly, the ‘night within’: darkness and pain in my own life at the time I was writing the piece, depression, loneliness, the suicide of one of my closest friends. It is also the night surrounding us in the world every day – hatred, violence, greed, disease, the wilful destruction of our planet…” -Lentz

Lisa Illean, Januaries (2017) for ensemble of 12 instruments
“[Illean] shows an extraordinary sensitivity to colour and timbre and creates an absorbing sound-world which lingers after listening.” – Australian Art Music Awards, 2018

Chris Dench, Ik(s)land[s] (1997-98) for mezzo-soprano, flute, clarinet, guitar, percussion, violin & cello
A gorgeously erratic setting of the prose of Berni Janssen; in the words of Paul Griffiths, “a wonderful example of Denchian swirl and wildness in an atmosphere of floating.”

Kate Moore, Canon (2013) for piano quartet
Written for and recorded by pianist Saskia Lankhoorn, this piece is a mesmerizing listen, drawing remarkable richness out of simple processes.


Australia’s national music export program, Sounds Australia, is thrilled to partner with Tourism Australia to present world-class homegrown music talent who have showcased on global stages and were due to appear at international events showcasing Australian music this year.

Tourism Australia were slated to partner with Sounds Australia at this year’s SXSW – celebrating and promoting the richness of this country’s culture and stories to international markets. As circumstances have drastically changed, and local artists and industry find themselves grounded at home, Sounds Australia will continue to align with Tourism Australia to shine a light on some of our greatest musical exports, offering music lovers at home and worldwide another reason to be enticed to experience this beautiful country once borders reopen.

Sounds Australia Sunday Session as part of Live From Aus will feature the extraordinary talents of Jack River and Emily Wurramara in some of their favourite locations around the country this Sunday night at 9pm AEST LIVE on Tourism Australia’s Facebook page to a potential audience of over 13 million.

The segment will capture live performances, accompanied by byte size interviews exploring what makes “home”, why it’s such a completely unique part of the world, and intimate insights into their favourite parts of Australia.

In addition, on Saturday May 16 at 6pm AEST, Sounds Australia has curated a soundtrack to compliment a spectacular sunset LIVE streamed from Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, featuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists*. Head to Sounds Australia’s playlists after the event to listen back to the beautiful tunes any time.

*Note: Each Aboriginal nation has their own language, customs, art and music. The music being played during this session is from nations across Australia and is not intended to be representative of Anangu culture at Uluru.

Sunset Session: Live from Uluru curated by Sounds Australia

Saturday May 16
1:00am Los Angeles PDT
3:00am London BST
4:00am New York EDT
5:00am Sao Paulo GMT-3
4:00pm Singapore GMT+8
6:00pm Sydney AEST

Sounds Australia Sunday Session

Sunday 17th May
4:00am Los Angeles PDT
6:00am London BST
7:00am New York EDT
8:00am Sao Paulo GMT-3
7:00pm Singapore GMT+8
9:00pm Sydney AEST