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Annual Report

  • Year: 
  • Please describe your organization’s activities over the past year, including concerts, commissions, collaborations, publications: 

    Australian Music Centre Ltd
    2019 Annual Report

    Audience AMC Board, AMC Members, Funding Bodies, and other stakeholders
    Last Update 21 May 2020
    Version 21705

    2.1.1 Overview 5
    2.1.2 The AMC Collection and Artist Representation 6
    2.1.3 Catalogue 7
    2.1.4 Education Services 8
    2.2 TRANSACTIONS – Sales and Membership 8
    2.2.1 Facsimile Scores 8
    2.2.2 Retail / Wholesale Activities 9
    2.2.3 Membership 10
    2.3.1 Overview 11
    2.3.2 Communications 11
    2.3.3 Marketing and Promotions 11
    2.3.4 AMC Web Page 12
    2.3.5 Social Media 12
    2.4.1 Governance 12
    2.4.2 Organisation Change Management and Staffing 13
    2.4.3 Finance 13
    2.5 PROJECTS 14
    2.5.1 ARC Research Projects MARS 14
    2.5.2 AMPlify: Art Music Plus - Artist and Repertoire Development 14
    2.5.4 AMC Publishing 14
    2.5.5 The Art Music Awards, and Paul Lowin Prizes 15
    2.5.6 International Promotions and Market Development 16
    2.5.7 Advocacy – Gender Equity and Diversity in Opera 17
    3. SUMMARY 18

    The AMC’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan describes the organisation’s mission “to represent Australian art music through our online services, enabling universal access to our resources, whilst advancing the interests of Australian creators and their music.

    Our organisation’s values include excellence; authority; leadership; legacy; generosity; and collaboration. These values inform and shape our role as a service organisation, and a touchstone for how we conduct the many relationships that we have across the sector, with our constituents, and beyond.

    The AMC maintains the largest, most comprehensive single collection of materials and information relating to Australian art music creators and performers, covering the spectrum of contemporary classical music, improvised jazz, experimental music and sound art.

    Our services include:
    - Publishing services for composers and other content providers;
    - Distribution and retail services for artists, music publishers, and record labels;
    - Education services for Australian teachers and students;
    - Project management: of artist development projects, promotion projects (such as the Art Music Awards), and production projects (education resources, books, and recordings); and,
    - Promotion and advocacy, for artists and their work, and for the sector.
    2019 presented another busy year for the AMC, with a diverse range of activities undertaken beyond the ongoing business activities that serve our diverse audiences.

    Key achievements in 2019 include:

    • Various advocacy activities, including: convening the initial Gender Equity and Diversity in Opera Summit, in partnership with the Australia Council and APRA AMCOS; presenting the 2020 Peggy Glanville-Hicks address, delivered by Deborah Cheetham; and the 2020 Paul Lowin Prizes in partnership with Perpetual.

    • Undertaking a busy schedule of promotion and artist development projects, including the delivery of another successful Art Music Awards in partnership with APRA AMCOS; launching the second edition of the Ngarra Burria: First Nations Composers as part of our AMPlify artist development projects.

    • Further increased international activity: implementing our Australian Jazz in Europe market development project; continuing our collaboration with SOUNDS AUSTRALIA in hosting Australian delegates at jazzahead! in Bremen, and Classical:NEXT in Rotterdam; enhancing our close relationships with other members of the Europe Jazz Network (EJN); enhancing Australia’s ongoing involvement and presence in the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) and the International Association of Music Information Centres (IAMIC).

    • Continuing to build reserves, at 31 December AMC reserves stood at 29.5% of annual expenses, exceeding the industry benchmark of 20%, and providing further sustainailbity for AMC operations.

    Details of these achievements, and all AMC activities in 2019, are outlined below.


    In 2019 the AMC’s operations continued to divide across 4 sectors: Documentation, including the library collection, and education services; Transactions, including wholesale and retail services, facsimile score production, and membership services; Marketing, including communications, and marketing and promotional activities; and Finance and Administration, including governance, and technology systems. Project activities occur across these sectors.

    2.1.1 Overview

    The AMC collection includes: scores, recordings, books, biographical and analytical materials, in hardcopy and digital formats.

    In addition to the extensive information and content presented on the AMC website, the AMC continues to provide its various services such as the information / reference service available via toll-free telephone, emails, and online. This provides access for students, teachers, researchers, broadcasters, composers and performers, other libraries and the general public. AMC Members borrow library materials for perusal or study through the library loans service, either physical loans of recordings and published materials via mail, or onsite collection; or increasingly, via digital library loan (see below).

    Usage statistics are outlined in the table below:

    2018 2019 % change 2015 2016 2017
    Total enquiries answered 2913 2,468 -15 2600 3191 3099
    Physical Loans
    Books & other materials 12 5 -58 20 20 10
    Recordings 221 279 26 293 293 218
    Scores 192 186 -3 289 261 214
    TOTAL 425 470 11 602 574 442
    Digital Loans 1994 2440 22 1867 2359 1921
    Items produced for sale 3798 4100 8 3839 3177 4000
    New Items Catalogued 1160 994 -14 956 1156 1266
    Hire of Parts 21 40 90 24 20 24

    • The 2019 figures include:
    100 requests from secondary students (109 in 2018; 136 in 2017; 141 in 2016),
    54 from tertiary students (70 in 2018; 62 in 2017; 88 in 2016),
    596 from secondary teachers (600 in 2018; 712 in 2017; 721 in 2016),
    226 from studio teachers (238 in 2018; 298 in 2017; 242 in 2016)
    120 from academics (140 in 2018; 194 in 2017; 124 in 2016),
    219 from professional performers (227 in 2018; 251 in 2017; 258 in 2016),
    105 from composers (136 in 2018; 160 in 2017; 160 in 2016),
    186 from arts organisations (178 in 2018; 165 in 2017; 186 in 2016),
    32 from media (25 in 2018; 23 in 2017; 31 in 2016),
    377 from the general public (557 in 2018; 536 in 2017; 592 in 2016),
    319 from overseas (371 in 2018; 380 in 2017; 414 in 2016),
    134 from commercial suppliers (162 in 2018; 162 in 2017; 234 in 2016)

    The AMC offers an online service, the Digital Score Library, through which AMC members can download scores for study and perusal purposes. Unlike the loan of physical scores, the Digital Score Library can also be accessed by AMC members who are resident overseas.

    Each score borrowed is watermarked on every page with the name of the member and the expiry date of the loan, and the files become invisible on the loan expiry date. Whilst performers, teachers and students may print out loan scores to try out, we highlight the obligation that they must purchase or hire materials for any performance. The AMC has also been working with examining bodies such as the AMEB to ensure that reproduced copies such as these are not used in exams, ensuring that the rights of composers and creators is being protected.

    The table below shows usage over a 5-year period:

    2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
    Digi Scores Available 11,125 10,563 10,271 9,969 9,677 9,269
    Digi Scores Borrowed 2,440 1,994 1,921 2,359 1,912 1,773
    Unique Digi Borrowers 364 318 308 299 257 251
    Loans of Physical Materials 470 424 437 562 571 741

    Other factors that have an impact on these figures over the period shown include the increase in online samples available on the AMC website, and the extensive curated lists of works suitable for High School performance, which enable users to go directly to purchase the work, rather than undertake perusal of a range of repertoire via loans.

    2.1.2 The AMC Collection and Artist Representation The AMC Collection
    The scope of the AMC collection is primarily “art musics” as articulated in both the AMC’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan and Artist Representation Policy, and covering notated composition; electroacoustic music and electronica; improvised music, including contemporary jazz; sound art and installation sound; multimedia, web and film sound and music; and related genres and techniques.

    This scope is complemented by the many other genres represented in the collection of products (CDs, publications) available for sale through the AMC’s retail activities.

    As part of AMC’s relocation from The Rocks to Ultimo in 2013, the physical collection had been in storage at Paul Davies Heritage Architects in Balmain, who generously offered space under arrangements affordable for AMC. During the last quarter of 2019 the collection was relocated to a storage facility in Ultimo, a particularly significant logistical task, which was completed on time and within budget. AMC Representation Policy
    The AMC’s Representation policy requires applicants to fulfil a range of criteria before admission, rather than admission based on the outcome of a peer review process. The criteria includes the number of professional performances, broadcasts, independent commissions, publications, commercial CD releases and the like, and has been compiled to further embrace artists actively involved in a diverse range of contemporary artistic practice, and those whose works have achieved an appropriate level of utility in various contexts. A category of Pedagogical Representation is also provided for, with differing criteria, recognising those composers working primarily in the field of education.

    AMC offers 2 rounds of applications for Representation each year.

    2019 Representation

    In 2019 two rounds (2 rounds in 2018) of applications were processed. 50 artists who had expressed interest in applying were invited to apply in these 2 rounds (55 in 2018; 71 in 2017; 62 artists in 2016), and of these, 22 applications were received (28 in 2018; 40 in 2017; 25 in 2016).
    20 artists have been offered Representation following an assessment of their applications (25 in 2018; 39 in 2017; 24 in 2016).

    The successful applicants in 2019 are:

    Notated composition/ concert music Rachel Bruerville, Paul Doust, Jack Frerer, Noemi Liba Friedman, Josephine Gibson, Wallace Gunn, Eve Klein, Karen Lemon, Fiona Loader, Ella Macens, Cyrus Meurant, Terumi Narushima, Simon James Phillips, Aidan Rosa, Kitty Xiao
    Experimental/non-notated composition Vanessa Tomlinson
    Jazz and Screen Chiara Costanza, Ross McHenry, Hamed Sadeghi
    Pedagogical Emma Greenhill

    The success rates indicate that composers are only lodging an application when they are confident that their application will meet the eligibility criteria. The lower rate of applications received from those invited is largely due to some composers finding that they have difficulty in meeting the criteria, and deferring applying until further career development or success is achieved.

    2.1.3 Catalogue
    At 31 December 2019 there were 41,614 items in the AMC catalogue (40,620 in 2018), an increase of 994 (1,160 in 2018; 1,266 in 2017; 1,156 in 2016).
    In general, there has been a significant increase in these figures in recent years, a direct result of the utility of our online system, and the capacity for artists to upload works to the AMC database through the Represented Artist interface, the Contribute website.

    The AMC takes great pride in the quality and depth of the data recorded in the catalogue, which has developed into a major asset, providing users with highly detailed search functionality. The AMC’s catalogue data is highly regarded by the National Library of Australia’s national bibliographic database, Libraries Australia, which imports the AMC’s data to make it available to libraries around Australia and internationally.

    Since 2001 the AMC has been registered as a publisher with the National Library of Australia to assign ISMNs to music works. The International Standard Music Number (ISMN) is a unique number used to identify music publications. It is used to identify a particular piece of music or item, such as an instrumental or vocal part, whenever information about music publications needs to be recorded or communicated. An ISMN is for print, microform or braille formats of music publications, whether available for sale, hire, gratis, or for copyright purposes only.

    The ISMN Agency has sole responsibility for assigning publisher identifiers and an ISMN for all music titles published in Australia, on behalf of the International ISMN Agency located in Berlin. Details of all publishers registered with the Australian ISMN Agency are sent to the International Agency for publication in the printed Music Publishers' International ISMN Directory. The Australian Agency supports on-line searching of Australian publishers.

    In 2019, the AMC assigned 482 ISMNs to scores (551 in 2018; 532 in 2017; 454 in 2016). To December 2019, ISMNs assigned by the AMC totaled 7680.

    2.1.4 Education Services
    The AMC has played an important role in the development of education resources pertaining to Australian music for over 2 decades, enabling teachers and students to increase their knowledge and understanding of Australian music, and its creation and presentation.

    The AMC continues to develop education resource materials as human and financial resources permit.

    ECHO –
    In 2018 the AMC developed and launched ECHO, a new online learning platform offering new perspectives on artists and their works, drawing on content from the AMC’s database, from other content partners (including artists, organisations such as ABC Classic, and social media platforms), providing Australian music resources to students and teachers, and more broadly to diverse audiences.

    The beta platform provides an exciting model of how the AMC’s content can be contextualised by other complementary online content, and via a curatorial process, audiences can explore artists and their works, themes, and subjects that influence and shape Australian music making. It represents a major achievement and its impact will shape the AMC’s strategic and business direction into the future.

    In 2019 one additional kit was added, looking at music created by loops, and presenting various compositional approaches to exploiting this concept.

    The AMC will continue to develop the platform, and generate new content to populate it further.

    2.2 TRANSACTIONS – Sales and Membership

    The AMC’s Transactions activities through sales and membership are primary income streams for the organisation, with sales income providing royalty returns to artists and copyright holders.
    2.2.1 Facsimile Scores
    The AMC in 2019 continued to make available for sale and hire unpublished works from the library collection, enabling access for performers, encouraging performance of this repertoire, and providing composers with royalty income from sales (15% for scores produced from a hard copy master and 25% for those produced from a digital master), and hire fees for orchestral performance materials (65%). Formal licence arrangements with certain publishers (Boosey & Hawkes, Ricordi London, and Faber Music) enable copyright controlled works to be commercially available in this way (within Australia and New Zealand Territories) through the AMC (exclusively), with royalties returned to the publisher.

    During 2019, 4,100 facsimile scores were produced (3,798 in 2018; 4,000 in 2017; 3,177 in 2016). See under Retail / Wholesale activities below for details of published and unpublished score sales.

    During 2019 performance materials for 40 existing orchestral works were hired from the AMC for performance (21 in 2018; 24 in 2017; 20 in 2016) - several of these transactions were with overseas presenters. These transactions vary greatly from year to year, dependent on programming policies of programmers and presenters, and the number of performances of published works, or of newly commissioned works, which are usually not managed by the AMC.
    2.2.2 Retail / Wholesale Activities
    The AMC continues to be active in providing access to a broad range of Australian music products. In addition to facsimile scores, materials available through the AMC’s retail activities include recordings, published scores, books, educational resources, and other materials, representing the largest collection of Australian music products available anywhere.

    2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
    Products available 31,951 26,241 28,568 26,912 26,864 25,127
    AMC inventory value $5,923 $4,527 $4,608 $7,929 $9,008 $10,253
    Total sales $149,412 $135,053 $160,315 $114,796 $108,830 $98,772

    • Products available as at 31 December each year
    • Inventory values significantly reduced from ~$150k over last decade
    • 80% of all sales are for AMC produced product; 17% from 3rd party suppliers under drop-ship arrangements; and 3% from existing physical inventory.
    • 66% of all sales transactions take place online (63% in 2018; 54% in 2017; 67% in 2016)
    Decrease in 2017 reflects additional one-off large orders from libraries in that year.
    • 2019 sales made up of 2,677 customer orders from 2,100 unique customers (2,518 orders from 1,979 customers in 2018 ; 2,560 orders from 1,958 customers in 2017; 2,321 orders from 1,883 customers in 2016)

    Since 2010, content from 3rd party suppliers (publishers and record labels) is only sold under drop-ship arrangements, where the suppliers deliver directly to the customer in response to orders lodged via the AMC website.

    Suppliers with formal dropship arrangements with the AMC include Tall Poppies, Move Records, Rufus Records, Wirripang Publications, Rimshot Music, and Devirra (formerly Alfred Publishing), amongst others.
    The AMC continues to work with significant suppliers such as ABC Classics and Jazz (who are bound by restricted or exclusive arrangements with distributors) to make products available for sale.

    Selected 2019 sales figures are detailed in the table below:

    2019 Sales $ 2018 Sales $ 2017 Sales $ 2016 Sales $
    External CDs (from other suppliers) 7,916 9,441 9,219 8,279
    Internal CDs (AMC labels) 957 522 632 620
    MP3 downloads 550 728 849 718
    External Scores (published) 18,157 15,521 13,834 13,188
    Internal Scores (AMC facsimiles hard copies) 92,204 84,976 110,185 74,414
    External Books (from other suppliers) 2,163 3,910 3,473 2,281
    Internal Education Kits (AMC produced) 9,261 10,388 11,046 11,670
    Digital Score downloads (sales) 13,539 8,878 10,222 2,802

    Total sales for 2019 were $149,412 ($135,053 in 2018; $160,315 in 2017; $114,796 in 2016). The 2017 figure was boosted by large on-off orders from libraries in that year.

    In 2019 internally produced products performed exceptionally well, particularly facsimile scores, which reflects the usefulness of the “Repertoire Navigator” functionality on the AMC website to performers, teachers and students seeking repertoire to study and perform. During 2019 AMC made a significant number of newly lodged scores available for sale as downloadable scores, and this is reflected in the sales figures. AMC will be expanding sales of digital facsimile scores over time, which will add further revenue opportunities in our most lucrative product segment.
    2.2.3 Membership
    In 2019 there were 1,208 financial members across individual, institution, and secondary school student members (1,210 in 2018; 1,189 in 2017; 1,156 in 2016). Of these, around 73% live in metropolitan areas, 22% in regional areas, and 5% are overseas.

    A larger community of some 8,134 non-financial members (8,105 in 2018; 8,335 in 2017; 6,294 in 2016) continues to interact with the AMC at various levels. Non-financial members are defined as those having held membership at some stage over the past 5 years, and who are still engaged with the AMC in other ways.
    Membership income in 2019 realised $110,696 ($108,319 in 2018; $100,644 in 2017; $101,601 in 2016) representing an increase on 2018 figures.

    These income figures do fluctuate from year to year according to the mix of institution / individual members. Membership renewal rates remain consistently around 73% - with the majority of lapsed members being students no longer requiring AMC services.

    Membership Services
    In 2019 the AMC’s membership services offering was greatly expanded by the sharing of APRA member benefits with AMC members, which includes discounts across a wide range of products and services, including insurances specific to artists and their activities.

    During 2019 the AMC continued to publish through the online Resonate Magazine, news and blog items, feature articles, and interviews, recognising the important contribution that this publication makes in the documentation and discourse of the Australian music scene.

    This content is highlighted through the monthly AMC eNews , which for AMC members also includes the Composer and Performer Opportunities Listing, compiled from a range of sources including our IAMIC colleagues around the world. AMC eNews reaches a larger audience beyond AMC members, a population that is steadily growing – it was sent to 5,916 recipients in December 2019 (5,367 in Dec 2018; 4,988 in Dec 2017; 4,652 in Dec 2016), a 10% increase on the previous year.

    The Australian Music Calendar provides a vital promotional tool for composers, performers, and presenters, and a useful reference tool for audiences. Statistics from the Australian Music Calendar listings are provided in the table below.

    2019 2018 2017 2016
    No. of event listings 1,049 1,090 1,210 1,062
    No. of works performed 2,694 2,716 2,754 2,551
    World premieres 461 473 387 545
    Australian premieres 21 16 14 7

    Events are lodged in the AMC database via an online form, submitted by composers, performers or presenters. AMC staff also log significant performance events not submitted, particularly international performances. Direct links from performance data to “work” pages (including audio/score samples) and “artist” pages are a feature of the website, enabling audiences to preview works being performed. (This also applies in reverse – “work” pages and “artist” pages feature links to performances).

    2.3.1 Overview
    AMC approaches its communications activities in a strategic way, co-ordinating general website content, Resonate magazine content, email campaigns to members and subscribers, newsletters to Represented and Associate artists, and social media postings, to ensure maximum reach and impact.

    2.3.2 Communications
    In 2019 particular highlights of AMC communications activities covering promotion, advocacy, and news included:

    Content statistics for AMC publications show 116 articles published in 2019, including 69 news stories, 32 blogs, and 15 features/interviews. Features included profiles of Jennifer Fowler and Ron Nagorka (by Karlin Greenstreet Love); Malcolm Gilles’ articles on Moya Henderson and Chris Sainsbury, Cathy Milliken’s Insight article on her Romeo’s Passion opera project; Josten Myburgh’s overview of the exploratory scene in WA; and 2 articles by Michael Hooper on his book and research on Australian music in the 1960s and ‘70s.

    AMC Editor Anni Heino also contributed an in-depth report on her attendance as the Australian delegate at the ISCM World New Music Days Festival in Estonia, which was widely shared locally and abroad, and which will also feature in the ISCM’s World New Music Magazine.

    Blogs included pieces by participants in the Ngarra Burria: First Nations Composers initiative, Tos Mahoney on the Kimberley Echoes tour in WA, and articles by artists based on their current projects, residencies, and new works.

    Artist connect bulletins are periodically issued to AMC Represented artists on matters relating to opportunities and online content. In 2019, these bulletins focused on the potential and increased exposure for individual artists of the online music education platform ECHO.
    2.3.3 Marketing and Promotions
    The AMC’s marketing activities play a vital role in maintaining our relationships with our diverse constituency, and beyond. Many clients are recognising the richness and specialist nature of our constituency base, and approach us for advertising or cross-promotional opportunities, and we have ongoing relationships with various networks that provide a diverse range of avenues for promotional activity.

    Examples of some of these in 2019 include:

    • Exchange relationships, including with AMEB, and ASME;
    • Advertising relationships;
    • Content sharing arrangements, with a range of partners;
    • Promotional materials tailored to meet specific interests at conferences and in-service training courses, in the education sector and beyond.
    • Attendance, presentations, or representation on panels at conferences and other events, and presentations also made to students at tertiary institutions around the country.

    Access through various networks, and mailouts to their members, including those such as state Music Teachers Associations; AMEB and ASME; IAML; the major symphony orchestras’ education programs; and the Regional Conservatoria in NSW.

    Through its relationship with APRA AMCOS, AMC enjoys access to their various communication channels, which in addition to the APRA AMCOS website, include APRAP, and Chalkboard, a newsletter specifically aimed at the primary and secondary education sectors.
    2.3.4 AMC Web Page
    Webpage statistics can be summarised as follows:

    AMC public website
    2016 %Change 2017 %Change 2018 %Change 2019 Per day
    Visits (Sessions) 315,678 -4.7% 300,807 15.9% 348,808 8.8% 379,507 1,040
    Unique users 209,444 -1.1% 207,181 17.5% 243,540 12.6% 274,339 752
    Pageviews 1,079,055 -3.1% 1,045,753 13% 1,182,436 5% 1,241,922 3,402
    Local / international
    Countries 73%/27%

    218 64%/36%

    207 59%/41%

    213 55%/45%

    Search engines
    Referring sites






    AMC’s website continues to rank very highly in search results in Google and other search engines – composer name searches generally result in AMC listings appearing in the top 3, whilst unique work title or product title searches generally place AMC as number 1 in search results. Such “visibility” is a direct result of the emphasis that AMC places on creating high-quality metadata relating to people, works, and products.

    Content in the AMC database contributed by AMC Represented Artists continued to expand in 2019. The ongoing addition of new works by Represented Artists, submitted through the online artist interface ‘Contribute’ provides users with continually updated data, and enables composers to manage their catalogue in AMC’s database.
    2.3.5 Social Media
    During 2019 the AMC continued to develop its engagement with audiences on social media, reinforcing its presence with regular postings on facebook and twitter, strategically managed in regards to content and regularity. The tables below summarise our activity.

    2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
    Followers 2,002 2,508 2,806 3,658 3,676
    No. visits/impressions 328,765 352,186 499,474 698,416 614,871

    AMC Twitter followers represent a small but well-targeted, engaged audience, including new music practitioners, educators, and key arts organisations including from other artforms.

    2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
    Followers 2,347* 2,817 3,042 3,131 3,116
    Impressions 193,489 203,755 227,500 204,100 196,669

    2.4.1 Governance Overview
    In 2014 the Board developed and adopted a new Board Charter, and Corporate Governance Statement, taking into account the organisation’s new structure, new Board structure, and refined the relationship with APRA AMCOS in providing accounting services. Various governance matters are addressed as part of Board meeting agendas, and there is an ongoing review of policy development.
    Policy development in 2018 saw the Board develop and adopt a Conflict of Interest Policy, which includes a register of any conflicts, real or perceived, identified at every Board meeting. The Board structure adopted in 2015 continued to develop in 2018, with one new Board member appointed in the second half of the year (3 new members in 2017), and 2 Directors retiring. Board Meetings and Membership in 2019
    In 2019 there were 6 Board meetings (7 in 2018; 5 in 2017; 4 in 2016; 5 in 2015).

    Membership of the Board during 2019 was:

    CHAIR: Genevieve Lacey
    Freelance musician/artistic director
    Director since December 2013 Company Secretary: Chris Gardoll

    Prof. Margaret Barrett
    Head of School, University of Queensland School of Music.
    Director since December 2013
    Brad Cohen
    Conductor; Artistic Director, West Australian Opera; Founder and Creative Director TIDO Music
    Director since December 2017

    Deborah Cheetham AO
    Soprano; actor, composer, playright
    Director since December 2017
    David Francis
    Executive Director, Four Winds Festival
    Director since December 2015

    Jana Gibson
    Head Membership Services, APRA AMCOS
    Director since December 2018
    Benjamin Northey
    Associate Conductor, MSO
    Director since December 2013
    Retired December 2019

    Martel Ollerenshaw
    Arts Administrator, Creative Producer
    Director since August 2017

    2.4.2 Organisation Change Management and Staffing
    The AMC’s core structure in 2019 included 3 staff members full-time, and a range of part-time and casual staff, some working remotely, totalling 5.2 f/t equivalent.

    The AMC’s Strategic Plan includes a goal of “Investing in organisational capacity”, and ongoing reinforcement of the AMC’s staffing as resources allow is a priority. As the AMC’s financial sustainability becomes more secure a more proactive approach becomes more possible.

    AMC staff do outstanding work, hold substantial corporate knowledge, and show outstanding loyalty to each other, to the organisation and its ideals, and to AMC constituents.
    2.4.3 Finance
    The 2019 financial results are available in other documentation provided. The Company generated a surplus of $36,872 (surplus of $16,223 in 2018; $25,232 in 2017; surplus of $64,681 in 2016).

    With this 2019 result the AMC has built further on its reserves, which at the close of the reporting period total $248,430. This represents 29.6% of 2019 expenses, far exceeding the 20% accumulated reserves benchmark mandated by the Australia Council.
    2.5 PROJECTS
    2.5.1 ARC Research Projects
    The AMC is an industry partner with APRA, Western Sydney University, and Waikato University in NZ, in an ARC Linkage Grant (2015-2019) project, of $645,000, which will develop MARS – the Music Affect Recommender System. Led by Prof Roger Dean at the MARCS Institute, this project will support users in discovering music based on their own individual preferences. Importantly, this aspect of AMC’s IT infrastructure development is designed to foster ‘cultural omnivores’ – providing recommendations to users which encourage the discovery of new works, artists and genres. This research will be integrated into AMC’s IT infrastructure, and provide a significant leap forward in engaging audiences with Australian Art Music.
    Music can speak for you: making music with a deep net partner
    Commencing in 2019 the AMC is an industry partner in another ARC grant, in partnership with Western Sydney University, Macquarie University, DATA61, and the University of Guelph, Canada.
    This project aims to develop and evaluate a novel computational partner to aid composers and non-musicians to make personal music. The expected outcomes will be a tool for musicians, but also for untrained people, young and older, allowing such untrained people to make personalised music. The tool can thus provide benefits to the creative arts, and to the educational and wellbeing support sectors.
    2.5.2 AMPlify: Art Music Plus - Artist and Repertoire Development
    The AMC has historically been involved not only in initiating and presenting composer development projects, but also in providing advice and encouragement to other organisations and institutions who express an interest in investing in this area.

    In 2019 the second edition of Ngarrra Burria: First Peoples Composers was undertaken, with a new group of composers – Eric Avery, Marcus Corowa, James Henry, Sonya Hollowell, and Nardi Simpson – preparing works for musicians from the Royal Australian Navy Band.
    The collaborations that enable this project to work so effectively and with such success set a model for how the AMC will develop further projects into the future. In 2019 Chris Sainsbury as the initiator of the project, Moogahlin Performing Arts as the lead organisation in the project, the ANU with its substantial in-kind contribution, Eora College, Ensemble Offspring, and the RAN Band, all share plaudits for their contributions.

    In addition to this, in 2019 the composers from the first edition of the project were commissioned by Sydney Living Museums to write works in response to an exhibition that they mounted during the second half of 2019 exploring music in colonial Sydney.

    Chris Sainsbury was invited to write a Platform Paper for the Currency House series, and used the Ngarra Burria project to highlight particular aspects of engagement between Australian composers and First Nations peoples, including the issues of appropriation, and cultural referencing. The document is an important reference point for practioners of all kinds.
    2.5.4 AMC Publishing
    AMC publishes from time to time CDs, books and education resources. In 2019 emphasis was placed on the development of new content and examining the resource needs of classroom teachers. During the year AMC staff worked closely with composer and author Ciaran Frame who developed On the Verge – Mind over Matter, a new education resource that provides a Years 7-12 approach for the detailed studying of recently composed Australian music. It uses a case-study centric structure combined with a wide range of tasks that enables teachers to develop activities that showcase the variety, interest and unique facets of new Australian music culture.

    On the Verge was developed in response to requests and discussions with classroom teachers around Australia. In particular, teachers noted a desire for more practical tasks, and a resource that could cater to various year groups from Year 7 to 12. It was decided, through consultation, that On the Verge would work best as an activity-based education resource, to be used as an always on-hand, photocopiable resource.

    Other publication projects are underway for release in 2020.
    2.5.5 The Art Music Awards, and Paul Lowin Prizes Art Music Awards
    The 2019 Art Music Awards returned to Sydney after the Melbourne event in 2018.

    The awards attracted 251 nominations across the categories (230 in 2018; 234 in 2017; 205 in 2016; 191 in 2015; 197 in 2014), and national and state panels were convened to assess them, selecting a shortlist of finalists and identifying the winners. The event, held in August, was again highly successful, and stimulated much positive feedback.
    The category of Distinguished Services to Australian Music was renamed in honour of Richard Gill.

    The winners of the National and State/Territory awards represent a diverse range of music creation, presentation, and promotion, of the highest quality:

    2019 Art Music Awards – winners

    Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music: The Necks
    Vocal / Choral Work of the Year: The Howling Girls by Damien Ricketson; with Adena Jacobs (director)
    Jazz Work of the Year: Trombone Song Cycle by Joshua Kyle and Andrew Murray
    Instrumental Work of the Year: Ignis by Mary Finsterer
    Orchestral Work of the Year: Implacable Gifts (Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra) by Carl Vine
    Performance of the Year: Speak Percussion with Jessica Aszodi performing Atlas of the Sky by Liza Lim
    Award for Excellence by an Organisation: Zephyr Quartet for sustained contribution
    Award for Excellence by an Individual: Lyn Williams for significant contribution
    Award for Excellence in Music Education: West Australian Symphony Orchestra for Crescendo program
    Award for Excellence in a Regional Area: Steel City Strings for activities in 2018
    Award for Excellence in Experimental Music: Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music
    Award for Excellence in Jazz: Ross McHenry for recording, international touring, residencies and commissions

    2019 State and Territory Awards
    Winners of State Awards are determined through a review process assessing all applications received for each state across all Award categories.
    ACT Award in the category of Excellence by an Organisation: Canberra International Music Festival
    NSW Award in the category of Excellence in Jazz: Ellen Kirkwood for [A]part and other projects and activities
    NT Award in the category of Excellence in a Regional Area: Warren H. Williams, Michael Sollis and Barkly Arts for One Sky Many Stories
    QLD Award in the category of Excellence in Experimental Music: Leah Barclay for Listening Underwater, a large-scale experimental music and acoustic ecology project
    SA Award in the category of Excellence by an Individual: Gabriella Smart for activity in 2018
    TAS Award in the category of Excellence by an Individual: Brian Ritchie for sustained contribution to the Australian music sector as a performer, curator and mentor
    VIC Award in the category of Excellence by an Individual: Cat Hope for leadership in the composition, performance and education of new music in Australia
    WA Award in the category of Jazz Work of the Year: Daniel Susnjar for Onward and Upward Paul Lowin Prizes
    The AMC manages the Paul Lowin Prizes on behalf of Perpetual, and they are awarded every 2 or 3 years, depending on interest earnings on the trust’s capital investment. The prizes include $25,000 for an orchestral composition, and $15,000 for a “song cycle”. A song cycle as defined in the prize rules includes works for single or multiple voices, and also works that may be considered music theatre works.

    The 2019 Orchestral Prize was awarded to Nigel Westlake for Spirit of the Wild, Concerto for Oboe, written for oboist Diana Doherty and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, commissioned with funds provided by Jane Matthews AO (1940-2019) and Symphony Services International; and the Song Cycle Prize to Katy Abbott for Hidden Thoughts 1, written for The Song Company and Syzergy, and commissioned with funds from the Australia Council for the Arts.

    The prizes will be offered again in 2021 or 2022.
    2.5.6 International Promotions and Market Development Classical: Next and jazzahead! – Australian Jazz in Europe Project
    Since 2015 AMC has been involved in a partnership with SOUNDS AUSTRALIA, developing the Australian presence at two important industry showcases: jazzahead! in Bremen, held each April; and Classical:NEXT in Rotterdam, held each May.

    In 2019 SOUDS AUSTRALIA again took out a display stand at jazzahead! and at Classical:NEXT, providing support to the Australian delegates. A delegation of some 22 Australian delegates attended Classical:NEXT (14 in 2018; 20 in 2017; 30 in 2016). The SOUNDS AUSTRALIA stand again hosted a reception for other delegates, and again made an impact. Australians were involved in Project Pitch sessions, Networking sessions, and Conference panels, and our presence continues to develop in a very positive way.

    Other successes achieved at Classical:NEXT in 2019:

    • Curator and Producer Lyle Chan was appointed to the 2020 Classical:NEXT jury, maintaining an Australian presence there following Matthew Hoy in 2019, Marshall McGuire in 2018, and Genevieve Lacey in 2017.
    • Australians selected for the showcase performances in 2019 included Sonya Lifschitz performing Robert Davidson’s Stalin’s Piano; and Ensemble Offspring presenting a program of works inspired by Australian landscape. Adelaide’s Zephyr Quartet were also showcased, working with Hong Kong media artist GayBird Leung. (In 2018, London-based Australian pianist Belle Chen was the first Australian to be selected for the Classical:NEXT Showcase program).
    • Simonette Turner and Belle Chen were selected as the Australians participating in the Classical:NEXT Fellows Program, which sees emerging artists and arts workers attending the event, and being mentored by a C:N veteran. Fellows are supported by funding from APRA AMCOS and the AMC. (Previous Fellows were Aura Go and Matthias Shack-Arnott in 2018; Kaylee Melville and Leah Blankendaal in 2017)

    Australian Jazz in Europe Project
    In 2019 the AMC was successful in securing project funding from the Australia Council to undertake a market development project to profile Australian jazz in the European marketplace. At the core of the project is the aim to achieve greater success at jazzahead!, emulating the success achieved at Classical:NEXT. The project also aims to establish bilateral partnerships between Australian and European presenters effecting exchanges over time.

    This initiative exploits the AMC’s membership of the European Jazz Network (since 2017), and AMC Director Martel Ollerenshaw’s position on the EJN Board. Exploiting (in the best possible way) the relationships across this network on behalf of Australian artists will provide excellent opportunities abnd outcomes.

    Australia’s involvement at jazzahead! in Bremen in 2019 greatly benefited from this project, and Australia hosted a reception and presentation for key European presenters, involving Monash Universty’s Paul Grabowsky, and the Australia Council’s Paul Mason. Outcomes from such initiatives will unfold over time.

    AMC’s international promotions and advocacy more broadly will continue to be a priority, and the ongoing relationships with SOUNDS AUSTRALIA, APRA AMCOS, the Australia Council, and other key stakeholders, are vital in achieving appropriate international outcomes for art music repertoire and practitioners. International Association of Music Information Centres (IAMIC) and the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM)
    In 2019 the AMC continued to enhance its relationships through IAMIC and ISCM, and actively participate in the further development of these networks. Through these relationships, opportunities are created for Australian artists, through collaborations and exchanges, and by the sharing of information relating to the international music landscape.

    As a prominent member of IAMIC, AMC is invited to attend the annual conference each year, and the IAMIC Spring meeting held alongside Classical: NEXT.

    This network is an important one for the AMC, setting benchmarks for AMC to measure itself against, and benefiting from the sharing of information and experiences on the functioning of a music centre. AMC leads this network in regards to digitisation and online activity, and achieves the highest level of earned income of any Music Information Centre (MIC), at above 49%, well ahead of Canada (22%) and Slovakia (20%). Most MICs (including New Zealand) only manage to achieve 5% or less of earned income against their subsidies from government or performing right society sources.

    As the Australian National Section for ISCM, AMC submits 6 works each year to be considered for inclusion in the annual ISCM World Music Days Festival, the largest international festival of contemporary music.

    At the 2019 ISCM Festival in Beijing the Australian submission included works by Paul Clift, Tristan Coelho, Annie Hseih, Cathy Milliken, Rosalind Page, and Luke Styles. The works by Paul Clift and Rosalind Page were included in the program, along with works by Olev Muska, Anthony Dunstan, Liza Lim and Douglas Kneehans, bringing the total Australian works performed to 7 (1 work performed in 2018 in Beijing; 1 Australian work performed in 2017 in Vancouver; 2 Australian works performed in 2016 in Korea).
    2.5.7 Advocacy – Gender Equity and Diversity in Opera
    In May 2019, a call to action for cultural leadership and systemic change in opera was published by Sally Blackwood, Liza Lim, Peggy Polias and Bree van Reyk. They invited the opera sector to join the conversation and actively support gender equity, diversity and the championing of a multiplicity of voices. They identified key areas for opera in Australia to evolve and lead the way with diversity on the stage, in creative teams, and in discourse.
    On 2 December 2019 the Gender Equity and Diversity in Opera Summit was convened by the Australia Council, Australian Music Centre and APRA AMCOS. This Summit was an opportunity for deeper discussion of the issues and challenges, and included participants from other sectors where positive shifts had taken place more recently.
    Moderated by Professor Julianne Schultz AM FAHA, there were 29 participants including composers, singers, producers, and administrators representing a wide range of expertise and organisations from across the country. It was acknowledged throughout the day that many other people, including those active in the discourse, were keen to participate in the Summit, but a focused day of discussion was required to establish structures for moving forward.
    A high-level summary of the discussion areas included:
    • Exploring the primary issues to address (including systemic lack of diversity in the sector, the need to support female, nonbinary and diverse creatives, and creation of new work including by female composers).
    • Exploring sectors where positive change had taken place (including theatre and literature, and international initiatives such as KeyChange). This was an opportunity to establish case studies for success as well as identify barriers to realising change.
    • Investigating different pathways, models of change and what this could mean for resourcing.

    Conclusions reached included a recognition that opera was one of the many areas of arts practice that need to change to reflect the diversity of Australian society, if the arts are to meaningfully connect with current and future audiences. Achieving this requires shifts at many levels to support equity and inclusion in participation, and what change means for every artist and organisation will vary greatly according to context and capacity. However a framework for measuring change, and celebrating progress in this change process were both recognised as essential to progress the issue.

    The Australia Council will coordinate activity to further progress the issues raised in the call to action and summit. The AMC will continue to participate as an active partner in this.

    3. 3 SUMMARY

    In 2019 the AMC provided a large and diverse audience with access to the music created by Australian composers, improvisers and sound artists, through a diverse range of activities. The outcomes from our activities are many and varied as shown by selected highlights in this list:

    · second edition of Ngarra Burria: First Peoples Composers Program with our partners, offering skills development, mentoring, commissions, recordings, performances
    · convened the Gender Equity and Diversity in Opera Summit; partnered with Monash University/TURA (Summers Night Female Composers Program), Sydney University (Composing Women Program) creating opportunities and advocacy for female creators
    · 63% of AMC board female, with female Chair (Genevieve Lacey); 66% of staff female

    Created international pathways
    · implemented our Australian Jazz in Europe market development project, and continued our membership of the Europe Jazz Network
    · lead delegations with SOUNDS AUSTRALIA/APRA to Classical:NEXT: 3 Australian showcases (out of 9 total) in 2019; and jazzahead! in Bremen
    · hosted 72 delegates, 6 early career fellowships, 1 ongoing international jury position (Classical:NEXT), 1 mentor position, over 3 years

    Created work - 9 new works created in 2019 out of Ngarra Burria: First Peoples Composers

    Increased public recognition - Art Music Awards: 10% increase in nominations, building community, profiling the sector

    Piloting new digital infrastructure - the development of ECHO beta, a platform for content curation/harvesting, focussed on education and audience development

    Increased information for public use, sales, loans and revenue for artists. In 2019 we:
    · generated $150k sales, 3,000 loans, and royalties creating $30,000 revenue for artists
    · responded to 2,500 enquiries
    · published 120 articles
    · registered 380,000 unique web visitors and 1.25 million pageviews

    Strengthened financial position:
    · achieved 29% of annual expenses as reserves, exceeding the benchmark of 20%
    · 10% sales and 24% earned income increases

    The continuing survival of the AMC is indeed a testament to the many who contribute to the organisation. First and foremost, the committed staff, who have such passion and care for the work that they do, and whose contribution to Australian music continues to be truly significant, and inevitably under-acknowledged. I thank them for their outstanding work in 2019, and the loyalty to the organisation and its cause that they continually demonstrate, and more broadly, loyalty to the sector.

    The often unseen work of the AMC’s Board of Directors must also be acknowledged. We are grateful for what they bring to the organisation, the skills and expertise that they offer, and the significant support that they provide to AMC’s management and staff, both directly and by example.

    Similarly, the role that APRA AMCOS plays in assisting the AMC and its work, which shows a great respect for the value of the AMC’s work, and what it brings to the sector. The ongoing daily support of the APRA AMCOS staff, in various ways, is gratefully acknowledged.

    The support of the AMC’s key funding partners is vital. The Australia Council and APRA AMCOS’s essential support of AMC to continue its important work on behalf of Australian music is critical to our survival, and this support is gratefully acknowledged.

    There are many in the Australian music community who contribute to the scene in so many ways, through the work that they do. The composers, performers and presenters, the educators, and the many others who assist in the work of the AMC as a national service organisation for Australian music, is gratefully acknowledged. They are at the core of what the AMC represents and we celebrate them all.

    John Davis, CEO
    May 2020

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