2016 Art Music Awards

Leah Barclay’s WIRA River Listening from Floating Land 2015 Nominated for the 2016 APRA Art Music Awards 

(Article published in the Noosa News on 26/07/2016)


The finalists for the 2016 Art Music Awards have been announced. The yearly Art Music Awards are presented by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and the Australian Music Centre to recognise achievement in the composition, performance, education and presentation of Australian music. From jazz compositions and large-scale symphonic pieces to vocal, chamber and instrumental works and experimental projects, the list of finalists in 11 Award categories reflects the diversity and the high quality of contemporary art music written, composed and performed in 2015.

Leah Barclay’s WIRA River Listening project created on the Noosa River for Floating Land 2015 has been nominated for the Award for Excellence in Experimental Music. This project explored rivers as the lifeblood of communities and reimagined the world beneath the surface of the Noosa River. This project draws on ten years of experimental music collaborations with river systems across the world that all began in Noosa and was the first major creative outcome from Leah Barclay’s Synapse Residency supported by the Australian Network for Art and Technology

WIRA was experienced by walking along the river with a smart phone and listening to content that was geotagged from Noosa Regional Gallery to the river mouth. As you walk along the riverbank, the sounds of the Noosa River system are layered with Leah Barclay’s compositions inspired by Noosa over the last decade.

The soundscapes of WIRA explored the value of sound and technology in contributing towards environmental awareness and engagement. The process of creating this installation explored a new model for the dissemination of experimental music through accessible mobile applications and community engagement. Since launching in Noosa, the River Listening installation has toured to New York for Climate Week 2015, Federation Square in Melbourne, the inaugural World Science Festival in Australia and Paris for COP21, considered the most important climate meeting of our time. The installation continues to expand across the world yet remains connected to Noosa. 

‘In late 2004, I composed my first piece inspired by the Noosa River. This was the beginning of a decade of creative work that explores the value of sound, digital technology and community engagement in environmental awareness. I have been fortunate to work with rivers across the globe and my artist practice has been very influenced by my involvement in Floating Land and working in Noosa. While many consider the mobile technologies I am using in WIRA key factors in our disconnection to the environment, my current work explores the possibilities for repurposing these technologies to reconnect us to the environment and facilitate collaborations that showcase ecological systems through accessible creative technology. WIRA allows you to hear sounds you wouldn’t usually think about and the project is part of a large initiative exploring the art and science of listening to rivers’ said Leah. 

‘The people included in these lists, and indeed across all the nominations lodged, represent our champions, and those who champion our champions. The names of those established and emerging, in cities and in regional areas, show that we have much to celebrate in the Australian art music sector’, said the AMC’s CEO John Davis.

The 2016 Art Music Awards will be presented at the Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne on Tuesday 16 August, hosted by Jonathan Biggins and with a live performance program curated by Gabriella Smart.

APRA AMCOS and the AMC would like to extend congratulations to all of the finalists for the 2016 Art Music Awards – the only event of its kind in Australia to recognise the works that are brought to life by dedicated musicians, individuals, educators and arts organisations all over the country.

2016 Art Meets Science Exhibition, Brisbane


The Science Division, Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI) is one of multiple science agencies co-located in the Ecosciences Precinct in Brisbane, Queensland. This world class facility houses research and associated staff from the Queensland Government, CSIRO and University of Queensland.

The DSITI 2016 Art meets Science exhibition opens on August 8th and features works by artists working at the intersection of art and science. The show features works by Alinta Krauth, Kay Lawrence, Jeanette Stok and Donna Davis, who have participated in the 2016 Artist in Residence Science Program. These artist have worked for the past three months with scientists from the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation at the Ecosciences Precinct and the Queensland Herbarium. These artists will be joined by 12 other Queensland artists with recent artworks that demonstrate an art-science connection.

The exhibition features a preview of the River Listening augmented reality installation with hydrophone recordings and soundscapes planted through the Ecosciences Precinct.

River Listening is an augmented reality sound installation reimagining the world beneath the Brisbane River in sound. The installation can be experienced by walking throughout the Ecosciences Precinct  with a mobile device and listening to geo-located sounds. These geo-located soundscapes are layered with hydrophone (underwater) recordings and creative responses to the Brisbane River. This installation is part of our interdisciplinary project exploring the art and science of listening to rivers across the world. River Listening explores rivers as the lifeblood of communities and underscores the value of listening in our current state of ecological uncertainty.

To experience River Listening download the free app Recho and your phone will act as a compass guiding you on a sonic exploration. Follow the hashtag #RiverListening on twitter for live updates on site and tweet @LeahBarclay if you have any questions.

Further information available here


Environmental Sound Artists, Oxford University Press

Leah Barclay’s chapter on River Listening has just been published in ‘Environmental Sound Artists: In Their Own Words’ a new book published by Oxford University Press.


Environmental Sound Artists: In Their Own Words is an incisive and imaginative look at the international environmental sound art movement, which emerged in the late 1960s. The term environmental sound art is generally applied to the work of sound artists who incorporate processes in which the artist actively engages with the environment. While the field of environmental sound art is diverse and includes a variety of approaches, the art form diverges from traditional contemporary music by the conscious and strategic integration of environmental impulses and natural processes.

This book presents a current perspective on the environmental sound art movement through a collection of personal writings by important environmental sound artists. Dismayed by the limitations and gradual breakdown of contemporary compositional strategies, environmental sound artists have sought alternate venues, genres, technologies, and delivery methods for their creative expression. Environmental sound art is especially relevant because it addresses political, social, economic, scientific, and aesthetic issues. As a result, it has attracted the participation of artists internationally. Awareness and concern for the environment has connected and unified artists across the globe and has achieved a solidarity and clarity of purpose that is singularly unique and optimistic. The environmental sound art movement is borderless and thriving.

“Environmental Sound Artists: In Their Own Words is an extraordinary collection of self-descriptions of wonderfully alive and often iconoclastic work being done by ESAs today. Extremely well organized, edited, and exampled by Frederick Bianchi and VJ Manzo, it will amaze, confound, entertain, and, most importantly inform those with open minds on the present and future of art made in the free world. Unencumbered by strict labels of their work, these artists breathe air into oftentimes stagnant and commercial versions and views of art as described and prescribed by constraints arbitrarily defined centuries ago. I can’t recommend it more enthusiastically.” – David Cope

Edited by Frederick Bianchi, Professor of Humanities and Arts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Edited by V. J. Manzo, Assistant Professor of Music Technology and Perception, Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Frederick Bianchi is a composer and music technologist. Recognized internationally for his musical compositions, installations, and innovative music technology development, Bianchi has been associated with interactive music applications since the mid-1980s.

V.J. Manzo is Assistant Professor of Music Technology and Cognition at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is the author of the books MAX/MSP/Jitter for Music, Foundations of Music Technology, and co-author of Interactive Composition, all published by Oxford University Press.

Andrea Polli
Philip Blackburn
Bernie Krause
David Dunn
John Bullitt
John Luther Adams
Cheryl E. Leonard
Jeff Talman
Leah Barclay
Craig Colorusso
Joseph Bertolozzi
Marty Quinn
Bruce Odland
Ximena Alarcón
China Blue
David Rothenberg
Gordon Hempton
Dawn Scarfe
David Monacchi
Christopher DeLaurenti
Aki Pasoulas
Matthew Burtner