The Canberra Critics' Circle Artist of the Year for 2013, announced on Tuesday, is the director of the Canberra International Music Festival, Christopher Latham.
Convenor of the circle, Helen Musa, said the judges wrote Latham received the award, "For his visionary directing of the Canberra International Music Festival, particularly for his extraordinary ability to identify the archetypal features of Canberra's design and lifestyle, then to construct a festival program that complements those qualities and broadens the audience appeal. For fully engaging young and emerging music performers in the Festival program, enabling them to progress their careers by working in collaboration with respected composers and performers."
Musa said the the choice of the Critics' Circle's 23rd Artist of the Year had not been an easy one: "It was the biggest field in recent years."
Latham – whose musical accomplishments in Canberra also include the annual Voices in the Forest event – received a cheque for $1000 and a ceramic work by artist Hiroe Swen.
He said it was very gratifying to be acknowledged and paid tribute to his staff and to arts patron Barbara Blackman for their support. He also said it was not just an award for him personally but recognition that Canberra was becoming established as a cultural centre in its own right.
And he had no intention of resting on his laurels: next year's CIMF, 10 years in the planning, will focus on the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I and the 75th anniversary of World War II and in 2015 he will be musical director of the Gallipoli Symphony, involving 10 composers from Australia, New Zealand and Turkey.
The 2013 Canberra Critics' Circle awards went to: filmmaker Clare Young; writers Lesley Lebkowicz, Irma Gold and Robert Macklin; the Scissors Paper Pen collective; dance artists Elizabeth Cameron Dalman and Liz Lea; Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds by SUPA Productions; musical theatre artists Dave Smith and Anne Somes; musicians Adam Cook, Leisa Keen, Michael Sollis, Christopher Latham, Bradley Kunda and Matt Withers; The Musical Offering initiative; composer Sandra France and librettist Helen Nourse; visual artists Valerie Kirk Anita McIntyre, GW Bot and Wendy Teakel, Jenni Kemarre Martiniello, Eleanor Gates-Stuart, Jo Hollier, Luna Ryan and Jock Puautjimi; Canberra Contemporary Art Space; theatre artists Chrissie Shaw, Jenna Roberts and Duncan Ley; the productions The Book of Every-thing by REP and Pea! by serious theatre.
The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance Green Room Award was presented by ACT Branch Secretary Michael White to performer Chrissie Shaw and the 2013 MEAA Peer Recognition Award went to dramaturg Peter Matheson.