A spotlight on the composition of new Australian music

From 19992009, the Ian Potter Music Commission represented Australia’s premier music composition awards.

Presented biennially, the commissions were judged by some of Australia’s most respected music artists, conductors and composers. 

The commissioning series was established to help put the spotlight on the composition of new Australian music, an area that lacked profile and investment yet deserves to hold a central role in our cultural and artistic landscape. 

Initially, the commissions provided smaller grants to multiple recipients, but following a review by the judging panel in 2003, the Trustees agreed to focus on two categories of composers to encourage real ambition and scope. 

A man speaking at a podium and standing next to a woman.

Lady Potter with Iain Grandage, Emerging Composer Fellow at Music Commissions awards in 2009.

Investing in Australia's talented composers

From 2005, the commissions were granted as two fellowships: one for an Emerging Composer ($20,000 over two years) and one for an Established Composer ($80,000 over two years). The commissions aimed to reward creative excellence, vision and ideas with the opportunity and scope to realise these in the development, creation and performance of new works.  

Moreover, the Trust's intent was to recognise and invest in Australia's most talented composers and provide them with the liberty to explore new possibilities in their work.

The Trust is proud of the contribution these commissions have made to the cultural life of Australia through the professional development of some of the country's most talented composers and the production of several highly successful works over 10 years. 

The Music Commissions invested $500,000 to support the creation of new work by well-regarded composers and musicians such as Martin Friedel, Kate Neale, Tim Dargaville, Matthew Hindson, Barry Conynham, Ross Edwards, Elena Kats-Chernin, Damian Barbeler, Liza Lim and Richard Mills, to name a few. 

Music Commission Recipients

See the full list of Ian Potter Music Commission recipients in our Grants Database.