Clarinet soloist from The University of Western Australia Ashley Smith has won ‘Performance of the Year’ at the prestigious 2015 Art Music Awards in Sydney.
Ashley won for his performance of a Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra composed by UWA alumni Lachlan Skipworth which he presented with UWA partner the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra.
The 31-year-old West Perth musician said the thrill of being nominated against “such stand-out contenders” outweighed taking out first prize.
“The people nominated in the same category as I was are absolute idols of mine and to be even considered alongside them was humbling,” he said.
The annual Arts Music Awards celebrate the achievements and creative successes of composers, performers and practitioners in the genres of contemporary art music, jazz and experimental music.
It’s UWA’s second successive success at the awards, with Composition Lecturer James Ledger taking out a coveted gong for Best New Work in 2014 for his Violin Concerto.
Ashley, who is a UWA graduate, was UWA Artist in Residence in 2014 and is a School of Music Lecturer, has been hailed a ‘rising star’ by the world’s leading clarinet manufacturer, Buffet-Crampon.
Internationally he has performed throughout the UWA and Asia including performances with Bang on a Can, the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Centre, the Kennedy Centre and the Beijing Modern Music Festival.
In Australia he has appeared as a soloist with several of Australia’s top orchestras. His Melbourne premier of the Magnus Lindberg Concerto was ranked amongst The Age Newspaper’s Top 5 Classical Performances of 2010. He is a fellow of the Australian National Academy of Music and in 2013 graduated from Master of Music at Yale University under the tutelage of renowned classical clarinetist David Shifrin.
Head of the UWA School of Music Dr Alan Lourens described his award as an amazing achievement.
“He is an outstanding artist and it is wonderful to see Ashley getting the national recognition that he so deserves, with the fact that he was playing a concerto from alumni Lachlan Skipworth the icing on the cake,” said Dr Lourens.
From here Ashley said it’s straight back to teaching and he has just taken up a new role with national ensemble Southern Cross Soloists who will perform around Australia during the remainder of the year.