National Carillon wins APRA AMCOS award for commitment to Australian composers
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National Carillon wins APRA AMCOS award for commitment to Australian composers

A gong has been added to the 55 bells at the National Carillon on Lake Burley Griffin.

The Carillon, one of only two in Australia, was awarded a Good Music Citizen award from the nation's leading music industry body on Sunday for a commitment to developing new works by Australian composers.

Lyn Fuller and Josh Pyke at the National Carillon, which has won an award.

Lyn Fuller and Josh Pyke at the National Carillon, which has won an award.Credit:Ricky Lloyd

APRA AMCOS ambassador and award-winning songwriter Josh Pyke handed the award to lead carillonist Lyn Fuller, who accepted it on behalf of the venue.

Director of general licensing at APRA AMCOS, Catherine Giuliano, said in addition to investing in the future of Australian music, the Carillon has been consistently fully licensed to use music, respecting the rights of music creators.

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"This Good Music Citizen award was the first we have granted, so it had to be a special recipient," she said.

Ms Fuller said government bodies and attractions such as the Carillon should be setting an example.

"It's an ongoing issue and it's pleasing to think the Carillon plays a leadership role in respecting artists and composers' rights," she said.

Ms Fuller said it was satisfying to see the Carillon recognised for supporting new works by Australian composers.

"It's exciting because it brings the Carillon to the attention of composers," she said.

Ms Fuller has driven the commissioning of new Australian carillon music for more than 20 years.

She said recent awards have helped raise the profile of the Carillon.

"It means that I can take Australian music overseas and play that for international audiences and that's fantastic- and how it should be."

The Good Music Citizen award comes after a number of initiatives to create a body of Australian carillon music.

They include recent competitions open to up-and-coming tertiary composition students, and commissions for innovative works such as Australian Miniatures for Carillon, a collection of 10 short works.

Australian Minatures premiered at the 2017 Canberra International Music Festival and performed at the World Carillon Federation Congress in Barcelona in July.

"It is so fantastic for Australian music and it's great to see what we've done has received some accolades," Ms Fuller said.

"We are very grateful for the support of the NCA [National Capital Authority]."

The authority manages the Carillon and a recent update of the instrument's sound system allowed composer Jessica Wells to commission new music which incorporated electronic backing.

Ms Fuller said the work was "absolutely new" in terms of carillon music and was a finalist in the APRA Art Music Awards this year.

"Nothing like that has happened for the Carillon before," she said.

"For it to be a finalist in the APRA awards, it's just the icing on the cake."

The piece, Moonfire, was performed at the opening concert of the World Carillon Federation Congress in Barcelona.

"It really puts Australia on the map in terms of international carillon playing," Ms Fuller said.

So what's next for the National Carillon?

"I think all this is leading to the 50th anniversary (of the Carillon's opening) in 2020," Ms Fuller said.

The new sound system will allow the commissioning of new works that will have carillonists playing with other artists, including groups.

"It's very exciting," Ms Fuller said. "The Carillon has never been in this position before, and for the NCA to have funded these things, it's just wonderful."

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