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The winners of the esteemed Melbourne Prize for Music 2016 and Awards were announced last night at a special awards ceremony at the Deakin Edge in Federation Square. Acclaimed musician Kutcha Edwards was awarded the $60,000 Melbourne Prize for Music 2016 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Australian music and for enriching cultural and public life. The 2016 Melbourne Prize is supported by The Vera Moore Foundation. Kutcha Edwards was also awarded the inaugural $20,000 Distinguished Musicians Fellowship 2016, which includes a commercial engagement with, and is provided by, the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

In an emotional speech, Kutcha told of how he doesn’t write about himself but of family, friends, and love and he mentioned how important the prize will be in allowing him the luxury of time to rest. “Just because I wrote a song yesterday, doesn’t mean it’s a day old,” he said, alluding to the fact that there’s a lot of life which goes into a song. It’s not just a release date. Kutcha began his solo career in 2001 and has since produced four albums. He has staged two theatre productions and has received multiple awards over the subsequent years. Fusing soulful music and a rich, powerful voice with his personal story, Kutcha‟s songs reflect on life as an Aboriginal man in white Australia. His deep and rhythmic tones are that of a storyteller whose inspiring songs are full of passion and spirit that evoke a connection to an intimate and resilient Songline.

Scott Tinkler
Scott Tinkler

Scott Tinkler is the recipient of the $30,000 Outstanding Musicians Award 2016 for his recent work Whale, which represents an outstanding example of creativity and skill. This award is supported by Dr. Ron Benson.

Kate Neal
Kate Neal

Kate Neal, for her composition Semaphore, is the recipient of the inaugural $25,000 Beleura Award for Composition 2016, which recognises a composition of outstanding musicianship, skill and creativity. This new award is supported by The Tallis Foundation in memory of John Tallis (1911-1996).

Matthias Schack-Arnott
Matthias Schack-Arnott

Matthias Schack-Arnott is the recipient of the $16,000 Development Award, which is awarded to an emerging musician or group of musicians, aged 30 years and under, who demonstrate outstanding musical talent with the potential to develop their professional career. This Award consists of a $6,000 music instrument and equipment grant supported by Yamaha Music Australia and $10,000 supported by The William Buckland Foundation.

The $4,000 Civic Choice Award 2016, supported by Readings, will be awarded to a finalist (across all awards categories) who receives the highest number of public votes. The winner of the Civic Choice Award 2016 will be announced on the 25th of November. Votes can be cast online at as well as at a public exhibition at Federation Square – principal Exhibition and Events partner of the annual Melbourne Prize. The public exhibition closes on the 21st of November. Voters will go into the running to win an overnight stay at the Sofitel Melbourne On Collins – Melbourne’s Hotel for the Arts.

The winners of the Melbourne Prize for Music 2016 and Awards were selected by a judging panel, made up of some of Australia‟s most respected music identities, including Patrick Donovan, CEO Music Victoria and Chair of the Australian Music Industry Network; Professor Paul Grabowsky AO, Pianist, Composer, Conductor, and Director Monash Academy of Performing Arts and winner of the Melbourne Prize for Music 2006; Genevieve Lacey, Recorder Virtuoso, Artistic Director and Collaborator; Marshall McGuire, Harpist and Director of Artistic Planning Melbourne Recital Centre; Helen Marcou, Co-founder Bakehouse Studios and SLAM; and Ronald Vermeulen, Director of Artistic Planning Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Melbourne Prize Trust Executive Director Simon Warrender has been delighted with the response to this year‟s Prize. “On behalf of the Melbourne Prize Trust, I would like to congratulate this year‟s winners and finalists and all applicants, who collectively reinforce our great city’s reputation as a centre of opportunity for musicians.  “I would like to acknowledge the generous support and community investment of our 2016 partners and patrons who have made it possible to offer the Melbourne Prize 2016 program and exhibition, and for recognising the importance of supporting and developing our arts and culture,” he added.

Judges Patrick Donovan (Music Victoria) & Paul Grabowsky
Melbourne Prize founder and director Simon Warrender



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