2014 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards Winners Announced

The winners of the prestigious Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards were announced by Carrillo Gantner AO, Chair of the Sidney Myer Fund on Wednesday 18 March 2015.

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Australia’s finest period-instrument ensemble have been awarded the Group Award ($80,000).  One of Australia's most exciting contemporary playwrights, Lally Katz is the Individual Winner ($50,000). 

Helen Marcou & Quincy McLean co-founders of SLAM (Save Live Australia's Music) and owners of Bakehouse Studios in Melbourne have been awarded the Facilitator’s Prize ($20,000). 

The annual Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards are valued at $150,000 and are a celebration of excellence in the Australian performing arts. 

"This year marks the 31st anniversary of the Awards, a very significant milestone in the history of the performing arts.  When I look back over the history of the Awards, I’m proud of what we have achieved – we have contributed directly to artists and their artistic practice.  Not only do we provide an acknowledgement of excellence, but importantly, we reward it so that it can continue and flourish," says Carrillo Gantner AO, Chair of the Sidney Myer Fund.

What set the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards apart from other Awards are the significant cash prizes that accompany the prestigious Awards. The Trustees believe that real achievement should be recognised and rewarded. To date they have awarded $2,265,480 directly to the winners over the last 30 years; or well over $3 million adjusted to present day values.

Announced annually, the national awards are determined by a Judging Committee chaired by Carrillo Gantner AO (Chair of the Sidney Myer Fund) and this year they included: Sarah Neal, Duncan Ord, Brett Sheehy AO, Hannah Skrzynski, and Noel Staunton.

The Judging Committee recognises past achievements but also gives consideration to the potential of an individual or group to continue their contribution to Australian society through the performing arts.

The Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards were established in 1984 by the Trustees of the Sidney Myer Fund, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Sidney Myer, a passionate advocate and great friend to the arts. 


2014 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards winners:

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra: 2014 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Group Award Winner, $80,000
The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, led by charismatic Artistic Director Paul Dyer AO, celebrates the music of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with excellence, flair and joy.

Comprising leading specialists in informed performance practice from all over Australia, the Brandenburg performs using original edition scores and instruments of the period, breathing fresh life and vitality into baroque and classical masterpieces – as though the music has just sprung from the composer’s pen.

The Orchestra’s name pays tribute to the Brandenburg Concertos of J.S. Bach, whose musical genius was central to the baroque era. Since its foundation in 1989, the Brandenburg has collaborated with such acclaimed and dynamic virtuosi as Andreas Scholl, Fiona Campbell, Philippe Jaroussky, Emma Kirkby, Andreas Staier, Elizabeth Wallfisch, Genevieve Lacey and Andrew Manze.

Lally Katz:  2014 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Joint Individual Award Winner, $50,000 
Lally Katz is the most produced Australian playwright of her generation.

Her recent work for the stage includes NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH at Belvoir and MTC starring Robyn Nevin and at STCSA starring Miriam Margolyes (a production which broke their box office record). The play was nominated for a NSW Premiers Literary Award, a Helpmann and an Australian Writers Guild award. It is being adapted as a feature film with director Gillian Armstrong.

Her one-woman show STORIES I WANT TO TELL YOU IN PERSON, played at Belvoir and Malthouse in 2013, and toured to New York and Mexico City, Adelaide and Albury.  Lally stars in the television adaptation of STORIES in 2015 on ABC-TV and it will be published as a memoir by Allen & Unwin in 2015.

Previous plays A GOLEM STORY and GOODBYE VAUDEVILLE CHARLIE MUDD both won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. THE BLACK SWAN OF TRESPASS won the New York International Fringe Festival Producer’s Choice Award.

Helen Marcou & Quincy McLean:  2014 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Facilitator’s Prize Winner, $20,000
Helen Marcou & Quincy McLean are co-founders of live music lobby group SLAM. In 1991 they opened Bakehouse Studios in Melbourne which has contributed and nurtured the careers of thousands of local and international musicians.  The studios were described by Elvis Costello as ‘some of the best rooms in the world.’

Their work with SLAM galvanized the music community protecting the right to cultural practice; it was also the catalyst for Liquor Licensing Law reform.

Quincy McLean & Helen Marcou have been listed as 2 of Melbourne’s top 100 most influential and creative people, awarded a special AGE EG award for Services to the Music Community and were nominated for Male and Female of the Year in Rolling Stone magazine.